WANT TO KNOW:
Every year, in the Chinese city of Yulin, there is a festival to celebrate the summer solstice. It sounds like the kind of thing that could be really nice. But it’s not. That’s because the festival’s main attraction is the selling, butchering and eating of dogs.
It’s not unusual to eat dog in many parts of the world, especially in parts of Asia. Dog in some places is considered a delicacy. But eating dog has become increasingly taboo, especially as news of how prevalent dog meat is in Asia reaches western audiences, which these days treat their pet dogs more or less as they would a human child. An online protest movement has now emerged urging Yulin to find a new way to celebrate the year’s longest day.
Dog meat has long been a delicacy in Vietnam, especially among older generations who see dogs not as friends, but as food. It’s still popular enough that the black market dog trade can bring in profits that rival drug dealing. Dog thieves now haunt the streets of cities, brutally snatching up pets to sell. They also stalk rural villages, where family dogs run free.
But dog lovers in Vietnam are now fighting back, sometimes in shockingly violent ways. Some Vietnamese have formed vigilante groups that beat captured thieves mercilessly, filming it as a warning to others. Since 2012, at least 20 would-be thieves in Vietnam have been killed by angry mobs.
This is the subject of a powerful GlobalPost documentary series called, “Dog Thief Down.” GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Patrick Winn traveled to Vietnam where he met the people who eat dogs, the people who love them, the people who steal them for cash, and the people who are fighting back. Watch it here.
STRANGE BUT TRUE:
Today is the first ever International Yoga Day. While the accompanying celebrations will likely be more serene than Yulin’s dog killing summer solstice party, the day is by no means as peaceful as one might expect.
The truth is, debates over the right way to do yoga can get downright nasty. For instance, to some chanting “Om” is part of a healthy, normal workout. To others it is an explosive symbol of religious tension.
The problem is also political. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a right-wing Hindu nationalist, according to most. His election made a lot of religious minorities in India nervous. It was Modi who came up with International Yoga Day as a means to extend India’s soft power.
But Yoga is very much all wrapped up in Hinduism. Things like the “Om” chant and the “Sun salutation” are Hindu traditions. And so Muslims and other religious minorities in India are taking exception to including such practices during a government-sponsored day celebrating Yoga.
Indian politicians have reacted strongly. One lawmaker told GlobalPost: “Those who see sectarianism in the sun, I would request them to go drown in the sea.” Whoa. Everyone take a deep breath.
2015 © GlobalPost – International News
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