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Illuminating the Holiday Season in Japan
In Japan, Christmas lights, called “illuminations” (イルミネーション) in Japanese, go up as early as mid-November and can remain on display as late as March. Businesses, main streets and big parks go all-out with spectacular LED reveries and exquisitely decorated Christmas trees for passersby to experience. The illuminations play an important role in creating the festive and romantic mood of winter in Japan and they are more astounding with each passing year.
The Kobe Luminarie (神戸ルミナリエ) in Kobe, Japan, is one of the most striking displays every year. Kobe hosted its first illumination festival in December of 1995 in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck the region in January of the same year. The Italian-designed illuminations were donated by the government of Italy, and the soft, solemn glow of the hand-painted lights became a symbol of remembrance and hope. The Kobe Luminarie was originally meant to be a one-time event but, with the strong request from local citizens, it has become an annual event now its 19th year.
Want to see more illuminations? Visit the location pages below to view photos and videos from the best Christmas lights in Japan this year:
December 8, 2013 via Mondoweiss
An Israeli sniper killed a child yesterday. Wajih Wajdi Al-Ramahi, 14 was shot in the back by while walking in front of a school in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah. Thousands of mourners turned out for his funeral is today.
Ma’an News reports the family said “their son was “executed” and “assassinated in cold blood,” ” Reportedly, according to locals, there were “no clashes or any kind of rock-throwing incidents that might have provoked the killing.”
The teenager father’s said Israeli soldiers target youths and kill them, in order to amuse themselves.
He added that his son was shot by an Israeli soldier from a watchtower in Bet El with one bullet while he was walking near a school in the camp. He was hit directly in the back…
His mother, sisters and other relatives wept as his body passed by the door to his home as his body was moved to the refugee camp’s mosque for funeral prayers.
His body was finally laid to rest in the camp’s cemetery, with a gunfire salute into the air as his body was lowered into the ground.
Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti said that negotiations by the Palestinians with the State of Israel are being used as “a cover for settlement expansion and in order to carry out crimes and murder against the Palestinian people.”
He called for an “end to negotiations and for the International Criminal Court to try Israel and its leaders for war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, including the murder of the al-Ramahi child.”
It’s urgent the global community snap out of it and step up by take responsibility for seeking justice. The time is long past for the occupying army to be investigating the crimes of either its soldiers or citizens, against Palestinian people whose land they covet.