Victims of Plateau killings given mass burial •We had no hand in their death —Miyetti Allah » Tribune Online

THE 13 people killed on Wednesday by gunmen in Kombun district in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State have been given mass burial.

The burial, which took place on Thursday at about 6.46 p.m., was attended by a huge crowd of long-faced members of the community.

The victims were murdered by gunmen suspected to be Fulani herdsmen but the state chapter of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN) has absolved its members of the killings.

The traditional ruler of Mangu, Chief Nelson Bakfur, the Mishkaham Mwaghavul of the Mwaghavul tribe, described the killings as barbaric and called on the security agencies to track down the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“I was taken aback by the dastardly act of the gunmen and I condemn such in very strong terms as the paramount ruler of the Mwaghavul nation. The killing of my kinsmen is not acceptable.

“It is indeed shocking to us as Mwaghavul nation as we are not known for cattle rustling or stealing in general to warrant such an attack on us. I am appealing to my people to remain calm in the face of the provocation and not to react in any unlawful manner,” Chief Bakfur said.

The state caretaker chairman of MACBAN, Malam Isa Bapbba, noted that members of his association had lost so many cattle to rustlers in the local government and the neighbouring council areas, but he said the association had no hand in the incident that happened in Kombun district of Mangu on Wednesday.

“Though prior to the in incident, some of our members were harassed and beaten by some people in the area and their cattle killed, the matter was resolved. But I can tell you that we have no hand in the killings.”

He implored security agencies to fish out those behind the murders.

How the killings happened –Gov Lalong

Meanwhile, the state governor, Simon Lalong, was at the State House, Abuja, on Friday, to brief President Muhammadu Buhari on the killings.

Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the governor said the attack was caused by cattle rustlers, leading to reprisals with innocent citizens falling victim.

He said: “As a matter of fact, we woke up yesterday (Thursday) early in the morning to get information that people were killing themselves in a village. I didn’t waste time; I took off to that village. My timely intervention and presence helped a lot. Because, after the first set of killings, the second set was reprisal killings.”

Lalong said his intervention had restored normalcy to the area, saying: “We buried the people. I spoke to the people and they understood me and the place has remained calm. Peace has been restored to that place.”

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He explained the cause of the crisis further: “Our little investigations confirm that it was a group of cattle rustlers in a huge number that rustled over 100 cows. They were moving with them.

“We have also made appeal through the youths that whenever there is this kind of challenge, they should move in and seek to arrest some of the criminals. “Unfortunately, the youths came out, they did their best. In fact, I will call them patriotic. They went in and stopped the rustlers from moving with the cows and were able to rescue about 100 cows at the end of the day.

“So, after the rescue, they were only able to arrest about three or four of those people and took them to the police station and returned to their various villages.

“That early morning, some of those rustlers who escaped came back and started attacking and killing people in the villages. So, it was quite unfortunate.”

Lalong said a committee was working on new security architecture for northern states, which would be based on community policing as a way to provide sustainable solution to the insecurity in the region.

When asked whether the North Central would consider a local security outfit in the mould of the South-West, Amotekun, he said: “When you talk about North Central, I am the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum. We took a decision sometime last year.

“You will recall that at one time, we met the president and we told him what we were doing. We set up committees and the committees have worked very hard.

“You will recall that we started our meeting from the North-West, in Katsina. We are going back to have another meeting in the North-Central.

“The situation in the South might not be the same with the North but in the North, we are also looking at some ways that will also address these issues.

“So, we have gone ahead to set up committees. Those committees have done their work and we are going to meet to address these issues once and for all.

“We have also agreed to key into community policing and at the level of the committee, we have already gone far. Each state is already neck deep in community policing.

“But I have not read the (Amotekun) document. I cannot claim to have read the details of that document, to understand what they mean by Amotekun.

“I saw various vehicles that were bought but, you know, if it is about vehicles, many vehicles have been bought in the North. I bought almost 100 vehicles and gave to the police but that is not what will address the insecurity in my state.

“So, it may vary from the South to the North, but in the North, we are trying to look for a comprehensive way that will help augment what the Federal Government is doing in respect to insecurity.”

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Son of late Oba of Lagos, Adewale Oyekan, sentenced to death

A 50-year-old Lagos Prince, Adewale Oyekan, and a former domestic servant, Lateef Balogun, (27)  were on Monday sentenced to death by an Ikeja High Court for the murder of Alhaja Sikirat Ekun, a 62-year-old businesswoman and politician.

Adewale is the son of Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, Oba of Lagos, who died on March 1, 2003.

The prince hired Balogun for N6,000 to murder Ekun, according to the prosecution.

The convicts, who have been in custody for seven years, murdered Ekun by strangling her and throwing her corpse in a 1,000-feet well in her home.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports Justice Raliatu Adebiyi, in a two-hour judgment, held that the prosecution proved the charges of conspiracy to commit murder and murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

She said: “The circumstantial evidence was strong and cogent; the act of the defendants in killing the deceased was intentional and premeditated.

“The court finds that the prosecution has proved beyond reasonable doubt the offences of conspiracy and murder, and the defendants are accordingly found guilty of the two-count charge.

“Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011, stipulates the punishment for the offence of murder as follows.

“Subject to the provisions of any other law, a person who commits the offence of murder shall be sentenced to death.

“Same is the punishment for conspiracy to commit murder as contained in Section 231 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.

“The above-cited provisions of the law does not give the court any discretion whatsoever in sentencing the defendants.

“For this reason, the first and second defendants are hereby sentenced on each of counts one and two, to death by hanging. May God, the giver of life, have mercy on your souls.”

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NAN reports that according to the prosecution led by Mr Akin George, the convicts committed the offences at 1.00 a.m. on Oct. 17, 2012, at the home of the deceased located at No. 5, Babatunde Lalega St., Omole Phase One, Lagos State.

The prosecution said that the deceased was a restauranteur who knew Oyekan due to her friendship with his late mother.

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“To render assistance to the prince, Ekun employed him as the manager of her restaurant.

“Balogun, the second defendant, was a former domestic staff of Ekun, who was employed by her to take care of her elderly father,” George said.

He submitted that Balogun’s employment was, however, terminated following a dispute with Ekun.

“The convicts conspired, killed the deceased and threw her corpse in a well within the premises of her home, and took over her businesses and property including a bus which was sold for N170,000.

“When an inquiry was made by family and friends about her whereabouts, Oyekan informed them that she travelled to Abuja for the Ileya (Eid-el Kabir) festival. He passed this information by sending a text message from Ekun’s mobile phone.

“Following worry from members of Ekun’s family, and after an extensive search, her corpse was found two months later, in December 2012, by well diggers and firefighters.

“The convicts had placed a generator, a gas cylinder and other household items on the corpse to conceal it in the 1,000 feet well,” he said.

The trial at the High Court began on April 14, 2015.

Five witnesses including two police officers, a nephew of the deceased, Mr Iyiola Olaniyi; and the only child of the deceased, Mrs Folashade Amurun, testified for the prosecution.

Oyekan and Balogun testified for the defence.

While testifying, the convicts both denied knowing each other, saying that they met for the first time at a police station. They also denied committing the offences.

Oyekan said that he met Ekun who was a friend of his mother at a PDP rally in 2011 after he returned from the U.S. where he obtained a degree in architecture.

He said he met the deceased thereafter at her home where she offered to assist him by employing him to manage her restaurant.

Earlier, before the sentence was passed,  defence counsel, Mr O. C. Onwumerie,  did not plead for mercy on behalf of his clients.

“I will be leaving sentencing to the hands of the court,” he said.

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‘The works represent a new era’: behind the Met’s bold new sculptures

Kenyan American Wangechi Mutu has become the first artist to fill Metropolitan Museum of Arts alcoves with four eye-catching female sculptures

If youre standing outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, theres one small detail thats often overlooked in the buildings grand architecture: the four alcoves that crown its entranceway.

These alcoves have been left empty since the museum was built over a century ago, but thats about to change.

Kenyan American Wangechi Mutu has become the first artist to fill them with four bronze sculptures for a project called The NewOnes, will free Us, which is on view until 12 January.

The sculptures of women here look like confident African queens, staring ahead. One is bald, while another has a lip plate. Theyre all draped in spaghettilike garments, while some have pointed fingers, like celestial beings.

They draw from the artists research in women and power, especially African traditions with adornments that if a woman is wealthy or high ranking, she wears heavier and larger objects.

What do high ranking women in leadership, and leadership women who have wisdom, wear? asks Mutu. I took from these traditions and have elongated, accentuated or heightened them in certain ways so they look and feel like the women who are leaders of that society.

Installation
Photograph: Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery

The symbolism here is more than just decorative. They wear adornments and incredible objects and jewelry with pride because they mean so much, she says. You can pull and push the body to read in specific ways that describe the role youre playing in that society.

Lip plates are a custom tradition with tribes in Africa, South America and North America, where clay or wooden plates are worn in a pierced hole in the upper or lower lip.

When these women wear lip plates, theyre wearing facial instruments that heighten them, that make them standout like a crown or a helmet, says Mutu. These women are walking museums; theyre living archives of entire communities and cultures. This isnt tattooing or trendy ear piercing or ear stretching business. This is the business of history carrying.

Portrait
Wangechi Mutu. Photograph: Photo by Eileen Travell

Theyre that much more beautiful, strong and powerful, resilient and capable of stretching their lips, arms and necks, so it has much different resonance to wear this adornment in this culture, she adds.

This new work also fights against the tradition of caryatids, where the female form is used as part of columns in Greek architecture, holding the weight of rooftops on their heads and hands. This age-old symbolism is apt for the contemporary woman, too.

It ties into the idea of the caryatids, and how the female figure is often carrying other people or some big weight, explains Mutu, citing motherhood, family and day jobs contribute to a womans work. That has always been a representative of how women move through the world they work more than theyre recognized and compensated for.

Mutus sculptures show four women sitting in a relaxed position. Remove this obscene weight off these women, have them seated with their arms and hands empty, without the weight and the load-bearing responsibility of their arms, she says.

She shows the women independent from the weight of men, too. Release these women from their strenuous responsibilities and give them the respect that they are owed, says Mutu.

The Mets commission is also part of a larger shift in the US. The Natural History Museum is re-examining their Theodore Roosevelt statue, which some think should be torn down, as Roosevelt was racist towards Native Americans and African Americans. The museum has added a video and website called Addressing the Statue, which hopes to welcome dialogue, rather than cover up the past.

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Photograph: Courtesy of the Artist and Gladstone Gallery

Another initiative is a public arts campaign called She Built NYC, which is working on getting more female monuments up in a city which has 150 statues of men, but only a handful of women (a statue honoring Shirley Chisholm will soon be raised).

I believe that there are moments where the writers of history cannot see their own mistakes and misconceptions, their biases, says Mutu. Youre living within your time. They must have seemed like heroes and must have ignored the things they did that were unjust.

Mutus artwork at the Met looks to the future. The works represent a new era, she says. Im always looking to tell the truth and persuade humanity to look forward and see our way through all the complicated political ineptitude and human misery we have put ourselves in.

I have an enormous amount of hope, she adds, but I know it needs to address the injustice of misinformation.

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Ground Zero Memorial and Rebuilding Fast Facts

Architecture

(CNN)Here’s a look at the rebuilding of Ground Zero in lower Manhattan and the memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks.

April 28, 2003 – The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition launches.
June 2003 – The Memorial Competition submission period closes. 5,201 submissions are received from 63 nations.
    November 19, 2003 – Eight prospective plans chosen from the submissions are displayed for the public in the World Financial Center in New York.
    January 6, 2004 – The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announces its choice of “Reflecting Absence” by Israeli-born architect Michael Arad.
    September 10, 2005 – Supporters of the Take Back the Memorial campaign protest the inclusion of an International Freedom Center in plans for the memorial.
    September 28, 2005 – In a written statement, Governor George Pataki announces that plans for the International Freedom Center adjacent to the planned memorial at the World Trade Center site have been abandoned.
    July 12, 2011 – More than 42,000 passes to the memorial are reserved in the first 24 hours they are made available.
    September 11, 2011 – The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the dedication of the memorial.
    September 12, 2011 – The memorial opens to the public.
    2012 – A dispute between the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey delays construction of the 9/11 museum planned for the memorial site. The museum was originally supposed to open on the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
    September 10, 2012 – The budgetary dispute delaying the opening of the museum is resolved when all parties enter into a “memorandum of understanding,” an agreement that allows them to restart construction.
    May 15, 2014 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum opens its doors for the 9/11 community — survivors, families and rescuers. Within it are 12,500 objects, 1,995 oral histories and 580 hours of film and video.
    May 21, 2014 – The museum opens to the public.
    Redevelopment of Lower Manhattan:
    Fall 2001 – New York Governor George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani create the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC). The mission of the LMDC is to “help plan and coordinate the rebuilding and revitalization of Lower Manhattan.”
    The LMDC also administers the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, a separate process from that of rebuilding the World Trade Center area.
    A 15-member board of directors governs the LMDC. The governor of New York and the mayor of New York City each appoint half of the members. The LMDC is also assisted by nine advisory councils.
    According to an audit conducted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the rebuilding cost grew from approximately $11 billion in 2008 to $14.8 billion in 2012.
    August 12, 2002 FEMA and the Federal Transit Administration announce $4.55 billion in federal aid for transportation improvements in Lower Manhattan.
    September 26, 2002 Six design teams are hired, out of 407 submissions, to create land use plans for the 16-acre site.
    December 18, 2002 An exhibit of nine possible designs opens at the World Financial Center.
    February 27, 2003 Daniel Libeskind’s “Memory Foundations” is selected as the new design for the site.
    September 17, 2003 The LMDC releases a revised Master Plan for the site.
    November 23 2003 – PATH train service is restored, linking Lower Manhattan and New Jersey. Trains operate out of a temporary station in the area.
    December 19, 2003 Plans for the Freedom Tower to be built at Ground Zero are revealed.
    January 22, 2004 – Architect Santiago Calatrava unveils his plans for the area transportation hub.
    July 4, 2004 Construction at Freedom Tower begins. A 20-ton slab of granite, inscribed “the enduring spirit of freedom,” is laid as the cornerstone of one of the new skyscrapers that will stand on the site.
    May 4, 2005 Governor Pataki calls for a redesign of the new tower for safety reasons.
    June 29, 2005 – New York officials release the latest design for the signature building at the site after revising it to make the tower more secure.
    September 6, 2005 Architect Santiago Calatrava and public officials dedicate the first steel rail for the future transportation station.
    December 15, 2005 Architect Lord Norman Foster agrees to design the next major building planned for the site. Foster will design a 65-story tower for the northeast corner of the 16-acre site.
    April 26, 2006 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and developer Larry Silverstein reach an agreement about the financing of Freedom Tower, resolving problems that had delayed construction.
    April 27, 2006 The formal groundbreaking of Freedom Tower takes place.
    March 26, 2009 The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announces dropping the name “Freedom Tower,” and that the first commercial lease in the building has been signed. Upon completion, the building will be named One World Trade Center.
    May 10, 2013 Construction workers bolt the last pieces of a 408-foot spire into place atop One World Trade Center, bringing the building to a height of 1,776 feet. This height references the year the United States declared its independence. It also makes the building the tallest in the Western Hemisphere and the third tallest in the world.
    November 3, 2014 – One World Trade Center opens for business, when the first tenant, Conde Nast, moves in.
    May 29, 2015 – The observatory opens in the top three floors of One World Trade Center.
      March 3, 2016 – The first phase of the World Trade Center transportation hub opens.
      June 29, 2016 – Liberty Park opens to the public.

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      Downton Abbey, like plantation houses, delivers fantasy over brute reality | Michael Henry Adams

      The American south may seem a long way from the estates of England, but in both places a veil of caprice covers harsh truths

      culture

      The son of a Scottish immigrant who worked as a servant, Donald Trump could hardly wait for his banquet at Buckingham Palace. A seat next to Elizabeth II conferred a sense of accomplishment little else could.

      To many, such behavior from an American president appeared downright unseemly. But how could we scoff? How else have so many of us been eagerly awaiting the return of Downton Abbey?

      TV and film can be transporting, giving us glimpses of lives we can only imagine imperfectly. Decades before Julian Fellowes creation came forth to conquer America, PBS offered a steady diet of British clotted cream. Royals, aristocrats, castles, servants, sex. Such is the stuff of which Downton daydreams are made.

      We make our own fantasies too. As a boy, watching Gone With the Wind, I saw plantation houses for which I thought I could sell my soul. It seemed such an alluring way of life.

      No wonder people complain of being lectured about slavery when they visit Savannah or Charleston. They, like me, have imagined themselves in the masters place. No work to be done, fanned on white-pillared porches, sipping cooling drinks, pondering pleasures to come. Is it surprising so many, confronted by the nightmare behind the reverie, recoil in unacknowledged shame?

      I came to this crossroads early, no longer able to overlook the anguish of my ancestors. I saw exquisite architecture and ideas of gracious hospitality but knew both to be built on the worst criminality.

      Fortunately, thanks to green England, I was able to transfer my affections. The Forsyte Saga, Upstairs Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited, The Admirable Crichton. The Shooting Party, The Remains of the Day, Gosford Park. They became my refuge and taught me much. Entranced by an elegant aesthetic, reading countless books, even attending the Attingham Summer School to study famous country houses, I sought an elusive loveliness, untroubled by oppression.

      I know I never escaped. I had only embraced a new quagmire of contradictory caprice.

      At the very lightest level, all this means I know that Downton the whole phenomenon, the TV series, the film, the traveling exhibition, the merchandising is a ludicrous and ahistorical fancy.

      I know, for example, that contrary to what we see on Fellowes screen, non-royal butlers did not wear white waistcoats and that waiters did not wear dinner jackets at all. I know ladies were never gloved while drinking or eating, candles were never used on a luncheon table and candle shades, now found only in royal residences, were in fact universal. For enthusiasts like me, its such esoterica which makes Downton so enjoyable.

      But as in my love affair with the plantations of the American south, there was a wriggling worm in the bud.

      How alike our ruling classes are. How nefarious the sources of their vast wealth, on which such beautiful homes were built.

      In the UK, to take just one example, a house as sublime as Harewood, near Leeds, altered by Robert Adam, was funded by the infamous triangular trade. Even English currency came to be defined by slavery. With abolition by Britain in 1833 came compensation to 46,000 slave owners for 800,000 liberated Africans, until the banks were rescued in 2009 the largest government bailout in history.

      There were other sources of income. Indian opium, imposed on China. Farms in Ireland. The wealth behind many of the estates of England was no less tainted than that which built plantations in Virginia, Alabama and Georgia.

      Fellowes was careful to give his great house a more benign foundation. The Earl of Grantham, we are told, derives his affluence straight from his Yorkshire estates.

      Hit hard by agricultural depressions, he takes an option not available to his tenants: he marries the daughter of an American millionaire. That said millionaire is an untitled Jew, a dry goods merchant from Cincinnati, is among storylines meant to show us what a good egg the earl really is, an unlikely egalitarian in tweeds. But hes an imprudent one too: by investing his wifes millions in a Canadian railway that goes bankrupt, Grantham places all his loved ones in peril.

      Worse occurred in real life, of course. Much worse. Take the brutal, polluting mills and mines, like so many plantation fields, that often lay just outside the gates.

      Of course, Downton isnt real. So, to stay in the realm of art, consider Shipley, the neo-Palladian masterpiece DH Lawrence invented for Lady Chatterleys Lover. There, Squire Leslie Winter talks of the miners who work his pits with all the condescension a planter might have for his slaves.

      Chatting with the Prince of Wales, Winter quips: The miners are perhaps not so ornamental as deer, but they are far more profitable.

      HRH replies: If there were coal under Sandringham, I would open a mine on the lawns and think it first-rate landscape gardening. Oh, I am quite willing to exchange roe-deer for colliers, at the price.

      In the real world, many fine homes have been lost. Their deaths, like their lives, are all about the money.

      In Lawrences book, the squire dies and his heirs tear down his hall to build semi-detached villas for workers. Lady Chatterley is shocked to learn such people are as capable of love as she is. One suspects Fellowes, the author of a novel called Snobs, no less, might feel a similar shock if told us ordinary people who love Downton, his facile but beautiful and seductive creation, are capable of sincere feeling too.

      We are. And while we are equipped to daydream of such luxury for ourselves, or to pick nits with Fellowes staging while we swoon at his stars in their gorgeous firmament, we are also the heirs to those who did all the work, those who built the Downtons and the plantations.

      We know a profound truth behind all their costly beauty and misery. Every stately home, in every land, belongs to us too.

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      The Democratic Presidential Debates

      Reality TV is meant to trick the eyes. The high drama of housewives bickering about who said what over a bottle of wine. Cast members secretly scheming to avoid elimination off the island. Contestants blatantly lying to rig the game in their favor. What unfolds before us, to quote Susan Murray and Laura Ouelette in 2008’s Reality TV: Remaking Television Culture, “is an unstable text that encourages viewers to test out their own notions of the real, the ordinary, and the intimate against the representation before them.”

      This week, inside Detroit’s Fox Theatre, Democratic presidential hopefuls participated in the second round of debates. Last night found two of the top candidates—Senator Kamala Harris and Vice President Joe Biden, along with Senator Cory Booker—center stage. The whole ordeal played out like an episode of The Real Legislators of America.

      Remember: Absorbing, can’t-look-away TV is not about stability, however much we yearn for—and need, really—politics to be. The value of the unstable text is in its consistent guarantee of popcorn-worthy entertainment. Those who watch, myself included, find a perverse comfort in it because it’s entirely reliable; it gives us something to bicker about with family, friends, colleagues. It challenges us in ways for which we are unprepared, and sometimes for the better.

      The primary architecture of debates, like reality TV with its twisting plots and snaking subplots, obeys a simple formula: an adoption of disorder. Biden, who remains the frontrunner despite his moderate establishment policies and a thrashing from Harris in June during the first round of debates, was again assigned the role of villain. A textbook archetype of the genre, the former VP doesn’t quite find a kindred spirit in the diabolical savvy of Spencer Pratt (The Hills) or Jax Taylor (Vanderpump Rules), but all great TV hinges on the roles characters submit to. That’s one of the more fascinating parts about Murray and Ouelette’s theory: Although the text itself is prone to unpredictability, the characters must conform to stationary roles.

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      “You invoke President Obama more than anybody in this campaign,” Booker said to Biden, railing into him. “You can’t do it when it’s convenient and then dodge it when it’s not.” Later, Booker again pounced on him over the matter of criminal justice reform, and Biden found himself caught in the heat of Harris’ agitation on the topic of health care and paralyzed by former Housing Secretary Julian Castro’s criticism of his shaky immigration record.

      But before drama turned rapid-fire, there was the sly splendor of the 10 candidates on stage, standing side by side, captured with a trippy canniess by Brendan Smialowski. There’s a static, almost robotic feel to the vertical poses they take; their top halves have been severed by the camera’s frame. The linear symmetry of their lower limbs, the uniformity of their display, suggests an analogy: Not unlike reality TV, we all have a role to adhere to.

      But then, almost instantly, the photo challenges its very hypothesis by displaying the full-body reflection of the politicians on the stage floor (Jordan Peele’s tethered beings from Us sprang to mind). And so, here in the democratic upside down, a counter suggestion is proposed: that even the roles candidates were assigned—The Hero, The Antagonist, The Everyman—are not, in fact, as stable as we anticipate.


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      Belgium: Dismantling of gothic bridge

      After years of argument workers have begun taking apart Tournais Bridge of Holes

      Architecture

      The dismantling of Tournais gothic Bridge of Holes to make room for larger boats down the Scheldt river has been met with solemn protest and a withering attack on local politicians by a minister in Belgiums federal government.

      After years of argument over the project, a crane attached to a barge was deployed from 6:00am on Friday morning to take apart the three arches of the Pont des Trous as a local cellist played mournfully on the river bank.

      The bridges bricks will be retained for its later reconstruction on similar lines to the original, albeit with a wider and higher central arch.

      The council had initially supported a contemporary replacement described by opponents as a Bridge of McDonalds due to its similarity to the burger chains logo, and officials have been criticised for their willingness to dismantle the landmark.

      A crowd on the rivers banks audibly reacted when some of the brickwork was seen falling into the water on Friday. Many watching a live stream on the website of the regional television station, Notele, wrote of their sadness at saying goodbye.

      Among those on the river bank was Belgiums minster for energy, Marie-Christine Marghem, who in a Facebook post deplored the lack of empathy for local people by the council.

      She wrote: Because a Tournaisien lives his city in joys and sorrows, I am at the foot of our Bridge of Holes since the sunrise to see how institutional killjoys attack a monument without prior heritage procedure, under the gloomy eye of the little local potentates.

      Prima facie, I obviously don’t see any numbered stone. Are we surprised? Throughout, in addition, no word of empathy has been addressed to the population which long expressed in a popular consultation her love for its roots, its identity, its history.

      Built between 1281 and 1304, the Pont des Trous is one of only three remaining 13th-century military bridges in the world.

      Bombed and partially destroyed during the second world war, the central arches were rebuilt and widened in 1947. Only its medieval towers the Bourdiel, built in 1281 on the left bank and the Thieulerie, built on the rivers right bank between 1302-04 are original.

      The bridges name comes from a nearby lock that was called Les Trous, or the holes, by Tournaisiens.

      The reconstruction was said to be necessary as part of a (4.2bn) (3.8bn) project to create a 65-mile (105km) canal, connecting the Seine and Scheldt rivers. The council wants to allow passage for boats of up to 2,000 tonnes rather than continue with the current 1,500-tonne limit.

      The dismantling of the bridge has been met with resistance throughout the process, with the Belgian prime minister, Charles Michel, asked to intervene.

      The criticism was at its most vociferous in 2016 when the council approved plans by the architect Olivier Bastin for a minimalist and contemporary style.

      A petition calling for the plan to be ditched attracted more than 20,000 signatures and the backing of the French radio and TV host Stphane Bern.

      It was only in March this year that the minister of public works in the francophone Walloon region, Carlo Di Antonio, announced that the modern design was being ditched and that the bridge would be rebuilt almost identically.

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