RSS

Tag Archives: egypt

Egyptian Court Convicted 1 Year Old for Murder!

That’s right. The search for courts more dysfunctional than those in some parts of America is over!

Seems the little tyke was convicted of killing three people, carrying guns and firebombs, blocking a road with burning tires, and trying to damage government buildings.

One bad a** baby!

Egyptian Military Calls Toddler’s Life Sentence for Murder a Mistake

As alibis go, this one would seem to be airtight: Your honor, my client was only a year old at the time of the crime.

But it did not stop an Egyptian military court from convicting the accused, a boy now 3 ½, of killing three people, carrying guns and firebombs, blocking a road with burning tires, and trying to damage government buildings — and sentencing him to life in prison.

The verdict came last week in a mass trial of 107 people suspected of being members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, and the charges stemmed from the protests, street clashes and police crackdowns in Egypt after the military overthrow of the elected Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013. Hundreds of people were killed and thousands were jailed.

After an uproar over the conviction of the boy — Ahmed Mansour Qorani Sharara, who was never arrested — the military said that it was a case of mistaken identity, and that the authorities had actually meant to try a 16-year-old student with the same name. The teenager is on the run, the military added in a post on its official Facebook page.

But that, too, may be a mistake: Before the military statement, a police spokesman, Abu Bakr Abdel-Karim, said in a television interview that the wanted culprit was the toddler’s uncle, a 51-year-old man who has a similar name.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Abdel-Karim said the reason for the mix-up remained unknown. “I don’t know why there is a contradiction between the statements,” he said. “I’m not the one responsible for communication with the army.”

A military spokesman, Mohammed Samir, refused to comment.

The case shed a stark light on the often dysfunctional Egyptian judiciary, which since 2013 has sentenced hundreds of people to death or to life in prison in mass trials on what human rights advocacy groups have called trumped-up charges. Ahmed’s conviction was for crimes allegedly committed by supporters of Mr. Morsi in January 2014.

The army’s announcements about the case of mistaken identity have not included any apology for the distress caused to the child’s family, which was evident in an appearance the boy and his father made on one ofEgypt’s most-watched talk shows.

“I swear I don’t want to upset anyone,” the father, Mansour Qorani Sharara, said through sobs as he held the boy and pleaded for help. “They told me they will take my child. No one will take my child.”

The show’s host, Wael el-Ibrashy, favored the ouster of Mr. Morsi and is a prominent supporter of the current government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. But he said despondently, “I don’t know how people are meant to believe in justice after they see this.”

Mr. Sharara’s wife, Hemat, called in to the show to say that the police came to the family home looking for her husband and child while Mr. Sharara was on the air. Mr. Sharara had already spent four months in prison because the authorities mistook him for his son.

Egypt maintains that its judiciary is independent, and the government routinely rejects all criticism of its judges or their verdicts. Even so, human rights groups say Egyptian judges comply with the government’s wishes.

Insulting the judiciary is a crime in Egypt, and many people have been convicted of the charge in recent years.

The judiciary came under fire this week after a Cairo court sentenced an author, Ahmed Nagy, to two years in prison for publishing an excerpt from his novel, which contained sexually explicit details and drug scenes, in a magazine.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 24, 2016 in General, News

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Uncle Ben’s Tin Foil Hat

Tinfoil Hat time, with Uncle Ben…

Ben Carson: I’m not saying it’s aliens — but scientists are totally wrong about the pyramids

Egypt’s pyramids were built by the biblical Joseph to store grain and were not, as archaeologists believe, tombs for pharaohs, Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson has said.

The retired neurosurgeon, who is seeking his party’s nomination for the White House, made these remarks in a 1998 address at Andrews University, a school associated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which he belongs, in a video posted on Buzzfeedon Wednesday.

The church is a conservative evangelical Christian one.

“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson – who last week overtook Republican rival Donald Trump for the first time in a national poll – told graduates in his address.

“Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it.

“And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”

Asked on Wednesday if he still held these views, Carson told CBS News : “It’s still my belief, yes.”

Speaking to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Thursday, rival Republican candidate Donald Trump said: “He’s informed me about the pyramids. I think I’ll have to put that in my repertoire about Ben. That was a strange deal.”

In his 1998 address, Carson said: “And when you look at the way that the pyramids are made, with many chambers that are hermetically sealed, they’d have to be that way for various reasons.

“And various of scientists have said, ‘Well, you know there were alien beings that came down and they have special knowledge and that’s how, you know, it doesn’t require an alien being when God is with you’.”

In the old testament book of Genesis, Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob, was said to have “stored up grain in great abundance like the sand of the sea, until he stopped measuring it, for it was beyond measure”.

After seven years of plenty, the story in Genesis says, Egypt suffered seven years of famine, during which Joseph was able to feed the people with the grain he had stored.

Carson has spoken often about his faith, saying recently of his critics: “They say, ‘Carson, you know, how can you be a surgeon, a neurosurgeon, and believe that God created the Earth, and not believe in evolution, which is the basis of all knowledge and all science?’ …

“But I do believe God created us, and I did just fine … And in fact, the more you know about God, and the deeper your relationship with God, I think the more intricate becomes your knowledge of the way things work, including the human body.”

 
4 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2015 in The Clown Bus

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Finding Queen Nefertiti

An Archaeologist believes he may have solved the mystery of the location of Queen Nefertiti’s Tomb. If true – this would be the greatest Archaeological discovery of the past 200 years.

A Computer Reconstruction of what was thought to be the Queen

Archaeologist believes he may have found remains of ancient Egyptian queen Nefertiti — hidden in King Tut’s tomb

The bust of Nefertiti from the Ägyptisches Museum Berlin collection, presently in the Neues Museum.

Nefertiti — she’s an ancient Egyptian queen and the source of a fantastic mystery regarding the iconic remnants of long-lost royalty.

For decades, archaeologists have speculated on the location of the queen’s remains, the last royal mummy missing from the dynasty of the famous King Tutankhamun, better known as King Tut. But now, an archaeologist claims that he has found her secret tomb in the Valley of the Kings, hidden just beyond a wall near the resting place of the boy-pharaoh.

The dramatic theory, published in a paper by Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona, is based on an analysis of detailed scans of Tutankhamun’s tomb. The scans reveal the texture of walls beneath their layers of paint, and Reeves believes he found a number of cracks indicating two previously concealed doors.

One of these doors would possibly lead to a storeroom, Reeves said. But the larger door on the north side of the burial chamber, he suggests, could lead to another room holding the remains of Nefertiti, believed by some to be the mother of Tutankhamun.

“I have been testing the evidence ever since, looking for indications that what I thought I was seeing was, in fact, not there,” Reeves told the BBC. “But the more I looked, the more information I found that I seemed to be looking at something pretty real.”

Archaeologists have expressed cautious excitement over Reeves’s conclusion, although they have yet to embrace it fully, as expected. The theory would take many more tests to confirm, although a radar scan could quickly reveal any hollows, an archaeologist told the Economist.

“If I’m wrong, I’m wrong,” Reeves said to the Economist. “But if I’m right this is potentially the biggest archaeological discovery ever made.”

The tomb of Tutankhamun has been a puzzle for archaeologists ever since archaeologist Howard Carter famously discovered it in 1922. It is comprised of four rooms, but it’s much smaller than those of other pharaohs. Scientists have also found that it was constructed and decorated in stages…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2015 in Black History

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Egyptians March in Support of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement has truly gone worldwide. Yesterday, pro-Democracy Egyptians in Cairo marched in solidarity with Americans in the Occupy Wall Street Movement. The brutal assault on the Occupy Oakland protest has gone worldwide.

As they vowed earlier this week to do, Egyptian pro-democracy protesters marched from Tahrir square to the U.S. Embassy today to march in support of Occupy Oakland—and against police brutality witnessed in Oakland on Tuesday night, and commonly experienced in Egypt.

Yet another battle is brewing in Louisville, where Police were ordered by Tennessee’s Republican Governor to arrest protesters for the second time this week. Once again, a Judge has thrown out the arrests as illegal.

The arrests and harassment of Occupy protesters is beginning to resemble that endured by Civil Rights protesters in the 60’s. It’s not nearly as violent (yet)… But if some of the local authorities don’t get a grip – it may be. As evidenced by the protests in Egypt, people worldwide are disgusted with the assault upon the First Amendment rights of the protesters in the supposed bastion of Democracy.

Occupy Nashville protesters arrested again

State troopers for the second straight night arrested anti-Wall Street protesters for defying a new nighttime curfew imposed by the Republican governor, in an effort to disband an encampment near the state Capitol in Nashville.

And also, for a second time, a Nashville night judge dismissed the arrest warrants.

The Tennessean newspaper reported early Saturday morning that Magistrate Tom Nelson told troopers delivering the protesters to jail that he could “find no authority anywhere for anyone to authorize a curfew anywhere on Legislative Plaza.”

Occupy Nashville protesters – including many of the 29 arrested in a pre-dawn raid on Friday – returned to the Legislative Plaza that evening and remained through the 10 p.m. curfew…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 29, 2011 in Occupy America, Occupy Wall Street

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wisconsin – The World

You probably won’t hear about this on Faux News… But the folks in Egypt, as well as a number of other countries are paying a close eye on the events in Wisconsin.

From Cairo to Madison, some pizza

Someone in Egypt has been paying attention to what’s happening in Madison and wanted to send a message of solidarity from across the globe — so they ordered a pizza.

It might seem like a small gesture, but it’s overwhelming to the staff at Ian’s on State Street — a campus staple mere blocks from the Capitol — where in the last few days, they’ve fielded calls from concerned citizens of 12 countries, and 38 out of 50 states looking to donate money to provide free pizza to the Wisconsinites who have congregated here.

On Saturday alone, Ian’s gave away 1,057 free slices in their store and delivered more than 300 pizzas to the Capitol itself.

By 2 p.m. local time Sunday, they’d given away 351 slices and sent countless other full pies to the rotunda, where protesters have been gathering since well before noon. As a few locals stood waiting for their slices, an Ian’s staffer went to the chalkboard hanging behind the register and wrote, “Turkey” in big block letters and co-workers expressed a sense of disbelief.

“I don’t think we started it,” said Ryan O’Connor, a sophomore at a local technical school who works the register at Ian’s. “We made a post to our Facebook page because of the volume of calls we already had been getting unprompted.”

O’Connor said Ian’s got its first call Thursday when a mother of a University of Wisconsin student called and offered to donate $200 to help feed the people her daughter told her had flooded the Capitol. Since then, the outpouring of money from all over the world has put the pizza-makers into overdrive.

The blackboard behind the counter lists the “countries donating” as “Korea, Finland, Egypt, Denmark, Australia, US, Canada, Germany, China, London, Netherlands, Turkey” and has the abbreviations for all 50 states listed below, with donating states circled. As of Sunday afternoon, 38 states had been marked as contributors.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Lot of Egg On Conservative Faces

Conservatives have been hammering President Obama the last two weeks over Egypt. They have called President Obama just about every name in the book, and repeatedly predicted failure, and the “fall of America and American influence”…

A few examples of the hundreds –

NY Post, Barry Rubin – Mubarak to President Obama: Drop dead! Egyptian leader shows no signs of backing down in speech

WSJ – Crisis Flummoxes White House – President Mubarak’s Refusal to Step Down Signals a Loss of Western Influence; Sense of ‘Disbelief’ After Speech

Ed Morrissey, Hot Air – Speak Loudly, and Carry No Stick at All

James Kitfield, National Journal – Obama’s Risky Idealism on Egypt

Rove On Obama’s “Mistakes” During Egypt Crisis

John Bolton –  Obama Is Over His Head When Dealing With Egypt

Gingrich says Obama lost on Egypt

Newt Gingrich on Egyptian Crisis: This Administration’s Policy Is Very Dangerous

Think this should be the new conservative logo for 2012…

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Stupid Republican Tricks

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Report – Mubarak Resigns, Hands Power to Military

Not sure that Mubarak is “out-out”, but there are numerous reports that he has left Cairo, and recent reports that he has resigned… The Military Council made the following statement –

Mubarak resigns, hands power to military

Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak resigned as president and handed control to the military on Friday, bowing down after a historic 18-day wave of pro-democracy demonstrations by hundreds of thousands. “The people ousted the president,” chanted a crowd of tens of thousands outside his presidential palace in Cairo.

Several hundred thousand protesters massed in Cairo’s central TahrirSquare exploded into joy, waving Egyptian flags, and car horns and celebratory shots in the air were heard around the city of 18 million in joy after Vice President Omar Suleiman made the announcement on national TV just after nightfall.

Mubarak had sought to cling to power, handing some of his authorities to Suleiman while keeping his title. But an explosion of protests Friday rejecting the move appeared to have pushed the military into forcing him out completely. Hundreds of thousands marched throughout the day in cities across the country as soliders stood by, besieging his palace in Cairo and Alexandria and the state TV building.

“In these grave circumstances that the country is passing through, President Hosni Mubarak has decided to leave his position as president of the republic,” a grim-looking Suleiman said. “He has mandated the Armed Forces Supreme Council to run the state. God is our protector and succor.”

Nobel Peace laureate Mohammed ElBaradei, whose young suporters were among the organizers of the protest movement, told The Associated Press, “This is the greatest day of my life.”

“The country has been liberated after decades of repression,” he said adding that he expects a “beautiful” transition of power.

If there is hope for Egypt… There may indeed be hope for Americans to get out into the streets and peacefully get our country back on track.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 11, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Karl Rove on Egyptians Are White Folks!

That racial identity thing rears it’s ugly head again… They pass the paper bag test, huh, Karl?

 
4 Comments

Posted by on February 4, 2011 in Stupid Republican Tricks

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Courage…

This took a bucketfull of courage. This is Asmaa Mahfouz, one of the many Egyptian folks who took a stand in Egypt on her vlog back on January 18th…

From Tracy Chapman –

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The Comic Book Which Rocked the World

Apparently the hottest reading in Egypt and other parts of the Middle East right now is a comic book

Only instead of phantasmal “super-heroes” with otherworldly super-powers, this book is about normal folks, a real “super-hero” who inspired with words and faith, and a key event in American Civil Rights – The Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (Visit this site to read the books in English, Arabic, or Farsi)

HAMSA, in conjunction with our parent organization AIC, is proud to announce the release of a groundbreaking Arabic edition of a 50-year-old comic book on Martin Luther King and the power of nonviolence. Several thousand copies were printed in Cairo, as part of an effort spearheaded by AIC-Egypt Director Dalia Ziada (right). They are being distributed across the Middle East.

Called “The Montgomery Story,” the comic book was published in 1958 and helped inspire the American civil-rights movement in the 1960s. In 2008, it was translated and designed by young reformers in the Mideast. It features full-color panels depicting the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a campaign to end segregation on buses in the capitol of Alabama. The comic book ends with a section on “how the Montgomery Method works,” outlining essential techniques of nonviolence.

After an initial run of just 2,500 books – the Montgomery Story and King’s message has caught on like wildfire throughout the Middle East. Copies are available online, and are being actively distributed electronically by bloggers across the Internet.

The Arabic comic book has now been distributed in print and on-line to a network of young activists and bloggers throughout the Middle East, including Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen. Feedback has been enthusiastic. At a book fair in the Egyptian industrial city of Mahalla, one woman grabbed the comic book with passion and scanned the cover, asking, “Is this Gamal Abdel Nasser?”

Farsi version of the comic was rushed into production in June of 2009 as post-election protests were erupting. Translators in Iran helped put it together in a week, and the comic was soon being distributed digitally. The Montgomery Bus Boycott had resonance in Iran with the 2005 Tehran bus protests, which made headlines when one trade unionist, Mansour Osanloo, had his tongue cut by members of the Islamic Republic for seeking improved working conditions for his fellow bus drivers.

As with the violence in Iran, “Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story” cautioned that brutality often accompanies steps towards peace. Scenes of a Ku Klux Klan parade, a cross burning, and the bombings of Negro churches and homes were vividly depicted within its pages. An impassioned King is seen imploring an angry crowd:

“Please be peaceful. We believe in law and order. We are not advocating violence. I want you to love our enemies, for what we are doing is right, what we are doing is just – and God is with us.”

The Revolution may not be televised… But it will cover the world.

BTW kiddies, this has also been translated into Vietnamese and Spanish…

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 3, 2011 in Black History, News, The Post-Racial Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Street Battles Between Pro and Anti Mubarek Supporters. Anderson Cooper News Crew Attacked

Egypt appears to be descending into Civil War. Pro and anti Government groups have been battling in the streets, with reports of over 400 injured in Cairo and 1 dead in the violence. This report from Anderson Cooper whose News Crew was caught and attacked by pro-Mubarek forces…

So far, the Army does not appear to be taking sides.

At one point riders on horeseback and camel charged the crowd swinging whips –

This situation is increasingly touch and go.

President Obama apparently has directly told President Mubarek that he needs to leave now.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 2, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Egypt Demonstrations… Saudi Arabia Next?

First Tunisia…Now Egypt…

Is Saudi next?

Saudi King Abdullah expressed support for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

King Abdullah

The wave sweeping the Islamic world may or may not result in less repressive regimes in the Middle East. One hopes the demonstrators would have learned from Iran’s mistake. Indeed, Iran’s religious dictatorship is every bit as nasty as the worst of the Middle Eastern dictatorships.

Egypt protests draw mixed reaction in region

Saudi Arabia slammed protesters in Egypt as “infiltrators” who seek to destabilize their country Saturday while an Iranian official called on Egypt to “abide by the rightful demands of the nation” and avoid violent reactions.

Saudi King Abdullah called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and “was reassured” about the situation in Egypt, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

“During the call, the king said, ‘Egypt is a country of Arabism and Islam. No Arab and Muslim human being can bear that some infiltrators, in the name of freedom of expression, have infiltrated into the brotherly people of Egypt, to destabilize its security and stability and they have been exploited to spew out their hatred in destruction, intimidation, burning, looting and inciting a malicious sedition,'” the news agency said.

Saudi Arabia “strongly condemns” the protest, it said.

Mubarak assured the Saudi king “that the situation is stable” and that the protests “are merely attempts of groups who do not want stability and security for the people of Egypt, but rather they seek to achieve strange and suspicious objectives.”

Mubarak added that Egypt will “deter anyone who tries to exploit the freedom of (the) Egyptian people and will not allow anyone to lure those groups or use them to achieve suspicious and strange agendas,” the news agency said.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Mubarak and “affirmed his solidarity with Egypt and and his commitment to is its security and stability,” according to the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.

In the wake of protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and Yemen, analysts say other Arab governments in the region are wary of demonstrations spreading to their countries.

In Iran, meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Egyptian authorities should respect the demonstrators.

“Iran expects Egyptian officials to listen to the voice of their Muslim people, respond to their rightful demands and refrain from exerting violence by security forces and police against an Islamic wave of awareness that has spread through the country in form of a popular movement,”the state-run Press TV quoted Mehmanparast as saying.

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on January 29, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Egypt Shuts Down It’s Internet

There have been several bills before the US Congress to allow this to be done in the US.

This is the first time a country has shut down their entire public access Internet communications system, although other repressive governments such as Iran and China have sought to limit Internet access. There are 5 major Internet carriers in Egypt, which has about 58 million cell phones riding the 4 Cell Carriers – the primary connectivity methodology in third world countries. Apparently, Noor – the carrier on which most government traffic, and the Egyptian Stock Exchange is carried is still active.

Internet blocked Egypt

Egypt Shuts Down Internet As Protests Intensify

As civil unrest continues to spread and intensify across Egypt, authorities within the country have taken a drastic and apparently unprecedented step: they’ve shut down the entire Internet.

The blackout began at about 12:30 a.m. local time, when four of the Egypt’s major service providers abruptly shut down. Calling the nationwide outage “an action unprecedented in Internet history,” the U.S.-based Internet analysis firm Renesys found that the simultaneous shutdown rendered virtually every Egyptian site inaccessible, from anywhere in the world. The country’s four major ISPs (Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, and Etisalat Misr) have all suspended network services, with Noor Group standing as the lone exception. (The country’s stock exchange, perhaps not coincidentally, is still active at a Noor address.) According to statistics from BGPmon, a full 88-percent of the “Egyptian Internet” has been completely wiped out.

Looks like the Egyptian Government is getting ready to get “down and dirty”, and wants to cut the ability of the outside world to know about it. Today’s protests may well be running into something a bit more lethal than tear gas, and protest leaders could be looking at being “disappeared”.

The shutdown also is heavily impacting mobile phones, knocking out text messaging, email, and the ability to send images. IP based carriers would be down entirely, and (especially outbound)  communication with the outside world would be largely shut down, although inbound calls might still be possible.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 28, 2011 in News

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ancient Nubians Knew Value of Antibiotics

Turns out Nubians discovered the benefit of antibiotics over 2000 years ago.

ANCIENT NUBIANS DRANK ANTIBIOTIC-LACED BEER

People have been using antibiotics for nearly 2,000 years, suggests a new study, which found large doses of tetracycline embedded in the bones of ancient African mummies.

What’s more, they probably got it through beer, and just about everyone appears to have drank it consistently throughout their lifetimes, beginning early in childhood.

While the modern age of antibiotics began in 1928 with the discovery of penicillin, the new findings suggest that people knew how to fight infections much earlier than that — even if they didn’t actually know what bacteria were.

Some of the first people to use antibiotics, according to the research, may have lived along the shores of the Nile in Sudanese Nubia, which spans the border of modern Egypt and Sudan.

“Given the amount of tetracycline there, they had to know what they were doing,” said lead author George Armelagos, a biological anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta. “They may not have known what tetracycline was, but they certainly knew something was making them feel better.”

Armelagos was part of a group of anthropologists that excavated the mummies in 1963. His original goal was to study osteoporosis in the Nubians, who lived between about 350 and 550 A.D. But while looking through a microscope at samples of the ancient bone under ultraviolet light, he saw what looked like tetracycline — an antibiotic that was not officially patented in modern times until 1950.

At first, he assumed that some kind of contamination had occurred.

“Imagine if you’re unwrapping a mummy, and all of a sudden, you see a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses on it,” Armelagos said. “Initially, we thought it was a product of modern technology.”

His team’s first report about the finding, bolstered by even more evidence and published in Science in 1980, was met with lots of skepticism. For the new study, he got help dissolving bone samples and extracting tetracycline from them, clearly showing that the antibiotic was deposited into and embedded within the bone, not a result of contamination from the environment.

The analyses also showed that ancient Nubians were consuming large doses of tetracycline — more than is commonly prescribed today as a daily dose for controlling infections from bad acne. The team reported their results in theAmerican Journal of Physical Anthropology.

They were also able to trace the antibiotic to its source: Grain that was contaminated with a type of mold-like bacteria called Streptomyces. Common in soil, Strep bacteria produce tetracycline antibiotics to kill off other, competing bacteria.

Grains that are stored underground can easily become moldy with Streptomycescontamination, though these bacteria would only produce small amounts of tetracycline on their own when left to sit or baked into bread. Only when people fermented the grain would tetracycline production explode. Nubians both ate the fermented grains as gruel and used it to make beer.

The scientists are working now to figure out exactly how much tetracycline Nubians were getting, but it appears that doses were high that consumption was consistent, and that drinking started early. Analyses of the bones showed that babies got some tetracycline through their mother’s milk.

Then, between ages two and six, there was a big spike in antibiotics deposited in the bone, Armelagos said, suggesting that fermented grains were used as a weaning food.

Today, most beer is pasteurized to kill Strep and other bacteria, so there should be no antibiotics in the ale you order at a bar, said Dennis Vangerven, an anthropologist at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

But Armelagos has challenged his students to home-brew beer like the Nubians did, including the addition of Strep bacteria. The resulting brew contains tetracycline, tastes sour but drinkable, and gives off a greenish hue.

There’s still a possibility that ancient antibiotic use was an accident that the Nubians never knew about, though Armelagos has also found tetracycline in the bones of another population that lived in Jordan. And VanGerven has found the antibiotic in a group that lived further south in Egypt during the same period.

Finding tetracycline in these mummies, said VanGerven, was “surprising and unexpected. And at the very least, it gives us a very different time frame in which to understand the dynamic interaction between the bacterial world and the world of antibiotics.”

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 3, 2010 in Black History

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: