New Internationalist

Curiosities

Issue 262

new internationalist
issue 262 - December 1994

Questions
...that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this,
your section, and be answered by other readers. Please address
your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.

Six million is the figure commonly given for the number of people killed in the Nazi Holocaust.
Has anyone got a more precise figure?

I do not know about a precise figure, but six million is nowhere near the mark. Six million usually refers to the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis. An estimated six million more people who were not Jews but who also did not fit into Nazi society were killed. They included communists, socialists, liberals, homosexuals, Romanies and disabled people.

For some reason this other six million have been forgotten by the world – and it is important that they should not be. With the spectre of Nazism haunting Europe again it would be wise to remember the words of Pastor Niemoller, a victim of the Nazis:

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the communists
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a communist.
Next they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out –
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me
.

John Watson
Leeds, UK

Which country has been under colonial rule for the longest time?

I would like to think it is the state of Goa on the West coast of India, which saw Portuguese colonial rule from November 1510 right up until 1961. The people here have had to pay the price of artificially-created religious animosity, cultural alienation and loss of their mother tongues – partly a legacy of one of the worst Catholic Inquisitions in the world outside Spain.

Frederick Noronha
Goa, India

As the English first became involved in 1169 – with the arrival of the Norman knight Strongbow – and British soldiers are still on the streets of Belfast, Ireland must be a leading contender.

Eamonn O’Tierney
London, UK

This question cannot be answered as many countries are still under colonial rule. Some, like Ulster, are under direct rule. Others, like Malawi, were given nominal independence 30 or more years ago. But rule is maintained by bribery, intimidation and blackmail. The methods of rule have changed, but the rule remains the same.

Mtumiki Njira
Limbe, Malawi

Awaiting your answers...

What is the origin of the expression ‘ a different kettle of fish’.
Does it, as it would appear, have psychedelic origins?

Hugh Jamieson
Port Glasgow, UK

How come gases which are normally considered heavier than air – such as chlorine, carbon monoxide and dioxide – are reaching the upper layers of our atmosphere? I understand that if they are heated before emission they may rise until the temperature is equalized. But surely then they would fall back down again?

PJ Crawley
Basingstoke, UK

The massive amounts of waste oil released into the sea from tankers cleaning their holds is said to be mainly due to port restrictions and lack of amenities. Is this true?

C Davison
Billingham, UK

If ‘crack’ cocaine is more potent than cocaine powder why is it cheaper?

Duncan Wood
Weeting, UK

If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities,
New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK,
or to your local NI office (click here for addresses).

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Big Bad World Cartoon by POLYP [image, unknown]
Cartoon by POLYP Cartoon by POLYP Cartoon by POLYP [image, unknown]
Cartoon by POLYP [image, unknown]

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