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‘Elephant Day’ was proclaimed before Francis was voted Pope

TODAY, Wednesday, is the thirteenth day of the third month of the year: March 13, 2019. But, perhaps fortunately, it is NOT a Friday the 13th– if only because “the latter is considered an unlucky day in Western superstition.” ‘Superstition’ is a pejorative term for any belief or practice considered irrational or supernatural.

This is, for example, if the belief or practice arises from ignorance; a misunderstanding of science or causality; a positive belief in fate or magic, or fear of the unknown.

The term is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and certain spiritual beings – particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific but apparently unrelated prior events.

Oftentimes, the word is used to refer to a religion that isn’t practiced by the majority in a given society regardless of whether or not the prevailing religion contains alleged superstitions (‘folkloristic’). But, that’s a tale fit to be told another day...The story here today is ‘manifold,’ so to speak.

It ranges from ‘World Elephant Day’ to the elevation of Pope Francis to the apogee of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

The Argentinian Jesuit Cardinal-cum-Priest Jorge Mario Bergoglio of San Roberto Bellarmino (2001–2013) was born in Buenos Aires on December 17, 1936.

He was elected by a Papal Conclave as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church on March 13, 2013–thus becoming ‘Pope Francis,’ Bishop of Rome and Sovereign Head of the Vatican State.

In the event, he succeeded Pope Benedict-X VI who had resigned on February 28 the same year, on account of old age: 85 years–and still counting– on Planet Earth this side of heaven.

He was Pope since April 19, 2005. Francis is the first Jesuit Pope; the first Pope from the Americas and from the Southern Hemisphere; the first Pope to visit and hold papal mass in the Arabian Peninsula, and the first Pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Pope Gregory-III (born in 690CE), who reigned from February 11, 731 Christian Era (CE) to his death on November 28, 741CE.

Yesterday, March 12th, was ‘World Elephant Day,’ co-founded on August 12, 2012 by the Canadian filmmaker- director-producer Patricia Sims and the Thaibased Elephant Reintroduction Foundation (ERF),–the latter an initiative of Her Majesty Q ueen Sirikit of Thailand.

The two elephantine innovators- cum-protectors of the endangered pachyderm originally focused on the Asian elephant, seeking to have captive Asian elephants returned to the wild.

They hoped that doing this would save the beasts “from abuse, exploitation– and extinction!” Hence their documentary titled ‘Return to the Forest!’ on The Green Channel TV... [See < www. when e le p han t s were youn g. com>/ ] .

What a lofty ideal...Tanzania has a great, inborn interest in the (African) elephant in particular–and, arguably, the world’s elephants in general.

This is largely why the President John Magufuli government put behind prison bars the ‘Ivory Q ueen,’ namely Ms Yang Fenglan (69), a ki-Swahili-fluent Chinese businesswoman living in Tanzania since 1975 when she came to work as a translator/ interpreter for the Tanzania- Z ambia Railway construction project.

Yang–together with two Tanzanians: Salivius Francis Matembo and Manase Julius Philemon–were convicted of operating one of Africa’s biggest ivory-smuggling rings, responsible for smuggling about 868 ivory pieces worth $ 5.6m from some 400 elephants, from year-2000 to 2014.

The trio was jailed for 15 years. She was also fined a hefty sum, and had all her property in Tanzania confiscated. In March 2016, Tanzania sentenced two Chinese men to 35 years each in jail for ivory smuggling, while in December 2015, another court sentenced four Chinese men to 20 years in jail each after they were convicted of smuggling rhino horns. [ < www.reute rs .com/ art icle / us -tan z an ia-p oachin g/ chin e s e -> ] .

The International U nion for Conservation of Nature (IU CN), a global environmental body, says the population of African elephants has fallen to 415,000 as a result of poaching: a drop of 110,000 over the last 10 years. In the last decade alone, Africa has lost about 110,000 elephants, with an estimated 415,000 elephants still living on the continent, according to the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

In Tanzania, the elephant population shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to little more than 43,000 in 2014, according to a 2015 census, with conservation groups blaming “industrial-scale” poaching... [ < www.aljaze e ra.com/ n e ws/ 2 019 / 02 / t an z an ia-courts e n t e n ce s -chin e s e -iv ory-q ...> ] .

Oh, I don’t know...What I know from the Wikipedia is that today, March 13, is also ‘Africa Scouts Day;’ and that India’s Missionaries of Charity chose Sister Nirmala to succeed Mother Teresa as its leader on March 13, 1997...

There really is no magic or ‘superstition’ to all that; you only have to browse the ubiquitous Internet to gorge yourself on such goody-goodies...

Cheers!

[ is rae llyimo@gmail.com]

TODAY Tanzania play Uganda for ...

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Author: Karl Lyimo

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