European Civilization – Iain Abrach http://iainabrach.org/ Fri, 30 Apr 2021 04:24:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.7.1 https://iainabrach.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/default1-150x150.png European Civilization – Iain Abrach http://iainabrach.org/ 32 32 Never neglected again: Inji Efflatoun, Egyptian People’s Artist https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/never-neglected-again-inji-efflatoun-egyptian-peoples-artist/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/never-neglected-again-inji-efflatoun-egyptian-peoples-artist/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 20:49:55 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/never-neglected-again-inji-efflatoun-egyptian-peoples-artist/ This article is part of Overlooked, an obituary series about notable people whose deaths, from 1851, were not reported in The Times. It was while in prison that Egyptian artist, feminist and political dissident Inji Efflatoun painted her best work. Her portraits of imprisoned women – prostitutes, thieves, murderers, even activists like her, incarcerated as […]]]>


This article is part of Overlooked, an obituary series about notable people whose deaths, from 1851, were not reported in The Times.

It was while in prison that Egyptian artist, feminist and political dissident Inji Efflatoun painted her best work.

Her portraits of imprisoned women – prostitutes, thieves, murderers, even activists like her, incarcerated as communists by the autocratic regime of President Gamal Abdul Nasser – are rendered in vivid colors and thick outlines that capture her subjects’ sense of isolation. .

Her empathy was particularly pronounced in her painting of a woman whose death sentence had been postponed for a year so that she could breastfeed her newborn baby.

“I felt the enormous tragedy of her story,” wrote Efflatoun in her memoir, “From Childhood to Prison” (2014), “as she had killed and robbed under the pressure of extremely harsh conditions and ‘overwhelming misery. “

Efflatoun’s paintings during his imprisonment from 1959 to 1963 are among his most powerful works – “a window to a world that had been hidden from sight”, Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi, guest instructor in the civilization program and Islamic companies at Boston College, said in an e-mail.

But Efflatoun had painted for many years before. In fact, his art, deemed subversive by the authorities, had been instrumental in his incarceration – paintings of orphaned children lying next to their murdered parents and of enraged women with arms raised, calling for the abolition of the Egyptian autocracy.

One painting, “We Cannot Forget” (1951), most directly took her to prison. It showed a sea of ​​faces in the middle of a row of coffins, a commentary on Nasser’s handling of Egypt’s bloody nationalist struggle against British control of the Suez Canal. Nasser had cracked down on criticism of his regime, forcing Efflatoun into hiding. She veiled herself, dressed as a peasant and lived alone in close quarters, where she continued to paint. Yet she was arrested by police in 1959 and jailed for her communist activities.

The roots of her activism and feminism run deep.

Inji Efflatoun was born on April 16, 1924, the younger of two daughters from an aristocratic family. His father, Hassan Efflatoun, was a scientist who established a department of entomology at the University of Cairo. Inji had been inclined towards the arts from a young age and was encouraged by her parents.

“The girls accompanied their father on field visits,” said Hassan Mahmoud, a distant relative, in a telephone interview. “Inji was good at drawing, so much so that he asked her to draw insects for him.

Inji’s mother, Salha, was exceptionally independent for the women of her time. She divorced her husband at 19, went to Paris to study fashion, and opened her own boutique, Maison Salha.

Inji was enrolled in the prestigious College of the Sacred Heart, a French Catholic institution in Cairo known for disciplining its students. She called it “my first prison”. The school’s strict rules and overt discrimination – Egyptian nuns were delegated more work than their foreign-born counterparts – fueled her rebellion, leading her to defiantly read books the school had banned. . She then attended the more liberal Lycée Français in Cairo, where she learned from Rousseau, Voltaire, the French Revolution and Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt.

Marxist theories inspired her to reject her elitist background and stand with working class Egyptians. And she began to see art as a form of liberation.

Efflatoun studied with Kamel El Telmissany, an artist and filmmaker who founded the leftist group Surrealist Art and Liberty.

“The group spoke out against colonialism, denounced nationalism and worked for the emancipation of women and the elimination of classes,” said Sam Bardaouil, who organized (with Till Fellrath) the traveling exhibition ” Art and Freedom: Rupture, War and Surrealism in Egypt (1938-1948) ”, which debuted at the Center George Pompidou in Paris in 2016 and included the work of Efflatoun. “These would become causes that Efflatoun would champion for the rest of his life.”

El Telmissany also introduced her to surrealism and cubism.

“She had an anger and a compelling need to be released because of her protected and privileged upbringing, wrapped in cellophane,” Fatenn Mostafa, art researcher and founder of the Cairo Art Talks gallery, said via email. “El Telmissany helped her translate this anger into powerful surreal and imaginary worlds that defy time and space.”

In 1942, Efflatoun joined Iskra, a group of young Marxists, and participated in the annual Art and Liberty exhibition at the Continental Hotel in Cairo. Images of frightened women, strange landscapes and twisted trees filled his canvases. For her, the tree has become the symbol of the human condition.

“Trees are like people – in pain – and represent our dream spirits,” she told artist and writer Betty LaDuke in a 1989 article in the National Women’s Studies Association journal. She added: “People wondered why a girl from a wealthy family was so tormented, so unhappy and refused a lot of things.”

She began to feel a growing gulf between herself and her aristocratic upbringing and yearned to explore her roots. She traveled to Nubia and the Nile Delta to paint farm workers and scenes from everyday life. In vivid paintings like “Fourth Wife” (1952) and “Ezba” (1953), men and women work hard – plowing, harvesting, weaving and selling their wares.

Her political beliefs were also reflected in her art as she painted the plight of Egyptians suffering from despotism. She was appointed a delegate to the First International Democratic Women’s Federation in Paris in 1945 and wrote political brochures dealing with issues of class, gender and imperialist oppression.

In 1948, she married lawyer Mohammed Abdul Elija, who shared her beliefs; he died in 1956. His art was then exhibited in Egypt and abroad, notably at the Venice Biennale in 1952 and at the São Paolo Biennale in 1953. In 1952, Nasser led the overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy and, in 1959, his crackdown on the Communists led to Efflatoun’s imprisonment.

Behind bars, painting in cramped conditions, she created a side business, tipping prison officials to pack her canvases and smuggle them to her sister, who then sells them.

“Prison has been a very enriching experience for my development as a human being and an artist,” she told LaDuke in the newspaper article. “When a crisis or a tragedy arises, one can become stronger or be destroyed. I became more open to people, to life. Before, I didn’t compromise. Now if I see someone’s weakness, I accept it.

Under Nasser’s orders, Efflatoun was released in 1963 along with other political prisoners before a visit to the country by Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev.

A year later, Efflatoun organized a solo exhibition at the Akhenaton Gallery in Cairo and received a grant from the Ministry of Culture. Exhibitions in Rome, Paris, Dresden, Warsaw, Moscow and several other European cities followed.

She died in Cairo on April 17, 1989. She was 65 years old.

Boston College researcher Al Qassemi called Efflatoun “a great artist who gave us a glimpse into worlds we might otherwise have overlooked.”



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Exclusive excerpt: A frozen death at the bottom of the world https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/exclusive-excerpt-a-frozen-death-at-the-bottom-of-the-world/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/exclusive-excerpt-a-frozen-death-at-the-bottom-of-the-world/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 17:30:55 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/exclusive-excerpt-a-frozen-death-at-the-bottom-of-the-world/ In August 1897, the first scientific expedition to Antarctica left Antwerp, Belgium, aboard a small whaler called the Belgica. Its untested leader, Adrien de Gerlache, 31, had assembled an international crew that included Belgian and Scandinavian sailors, scientists from Eastern Europe and two future legends of polar exploration: the American ship doctor Barnumesque. , Frederick […]]]>


In August 1897, the first scientific expedition to Antarctica left Antwerp, Belgium, aboard a small whaler called the Belgica. Its untested leader, Adrien de Gerlache, 31, had assembled an international crew that included Belgian and Scandinavian sailors, scientists from Eastern Europe and two future legends of polar exploration: the American ship doctor Barnumesque. , Frederick Cook, and the Viking- like the first Norwegian companion, Roald Amundsen. The men of the Belgica were largely unprepared for one of the most hostile environments on the planet. After a tumultuous five-month voyage to southern Europe – during which de Gerlache had faced biblical storms, watched mutinous sailors, and stranded in Tierra del Fuego – it was like a miracle that the ship even approached the coasts of Antarctica.

The story here is based on the diaries and memories of the Belgica ‘s survivors.

Antarctica was imagined before it was seen. The ancient Greeks, who already believed that the earth was spherical, believed that there must be a large landmass at the end of the globe to counterbalance the known continents of the northern hemisphere. This hypothetical land has received different names over the centuries, one of which is Terra Australis Incognita. The one that stuck – Antarctica – is an antonym for “Arctic”, itself derived from the Greek wordρκτος, or “bear”, because the northernmost regions of the planet were squarely under the constellations Ursa Major (Big Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear).

According to Polynesian tradition, the great seventh-century navigator Ui-te-Rangiora ventured so far south in a canoe, partly made of human bones, that he saw “bare rocks growing out of the sea. frost ”- icebergs, probably. If this story is true, it would be almost a thousand years before another man felt the freezing breath of Antarctica. It was the English privateer Francis Drake, who circled the earth at a time when cartographers populated the bottom of maps with chimerical monsters. Tasked with finding Terra Australis Incognita and claiming it for Queen Elizabeth (and guarding any Spanish treasure he might loot along the way), Drake sailed the Golden doe, one of three galleons under his command, crossed Tierra del Fuego in 1578. As he sailed out into the Pacific, a terrible storm blew up his ship in the unknown waters south of Cape Horn.

“The winds were such as if the bowels of the earth had set everything at liberty,” wrote Francis Fletcher, priest on board the Golden doe, “Or as if the clouds under the sky were called together, to put their strength on this one place.” The 500 miles from Cape Horn to the South Shetland Islands became known as Drake Passage. Another 65 miles – the Bransfield Strait – lies between these islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, or Graham Land, the mainland’s taut gimlet.

Roald Amundsen.From Everett / Shutterstock.

the Belgica left South America on January 14, 1899. It took him seven days to complete the Stygian passage between civilization and the icy hells of the planet. At first the ship enjoyed relatively calm seas, hardly feeling the fury described by Fletcher and many mariners since. De Gerlache knew how to keep the Belgica sufficiently stable for Polish flint oceanographer Henryk Arctowski to carry out a series of deep soundings, among the first ever recorded south of Cape Horn.

While he was working, some sailors had fun snatching albatrosses from the sky. Their method was curious: they baited a hook and threw a line in the air. A bird would come down to catch the bait before it reached the water, only to be pulled aboard and killed. The long, hollow wing bones of albatrosses, the men found, made beautiful pipes.

The crew had obviously forgotten their Coleridge. the BelgicaLuck over time turned almost immediately. The next day, bags of oil were needed to settle the angry sea. (In the 19th century, it was common to release oil to the surface of the water, where it spread in a broad layer but only one molecule thick which would reduce the ability of the wind to buy over the sea and whip whitecaps.)

On January 19, a glow was shining on the horizon, projected onto a blackened sky. It was ‘landblink’, a reflection of the snow-capped South Shetland Islands stretching beyond the curvature of the earth. Later that day, all of the men on board rushed onto the deck to see the first iceberg, a white spot several miles away. Curiosity quickly turned to terror. The fog thickened on the night of the 20th, and the Belgica walked slowly through the darkness, from which monstrous white masses, some higher than its masts, emerged without warning, one after the other.

When chief engineer Henri Somers lowered engine pressure to repair the faulty condenser one morning, men suddenly could hear the thunderous collision of ice in the distance, the roar of the Antarctic beast. A large iceberg materialized out of the mist. The 28-year-old captain, a brilliant but angry Belgian navigator named Georges Lecointe, tried to dodge it, but it was too late: the ship’s keel struck the shepherd with a sickening crunch. Fragments of wood floated to the surface.

Adrien de Gerlache.From KEYSTONE-FRANCE / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images.

Despite this warning, de Gerlache took the helm and propelled forward through unusually thick fog, eager to reach his long imagined destination. The cold and danger seemed to invigorate him. Creditors, critics, mutinous sailors and saboteurs were far behind – he was close enough to his destination to breathe the life-giving air, and nothing prevented him from reaching it.

His daring impressed Amundsen and even scared him a little. “The commander is not afraid. The engine is still running at 75 rpm, “Amundsen wrote in his diary on the night of January 21.” I can’t help but admire his boldness. Always ahead. I will follow him happily and try to do my duty.

Carl August Wiencke, 20, was at the helm shortly before noon on January 22 when high winds blew the sea into a frenzy. The penguins came in and out of the chop. By constantly adjusting the wheel for yaw, pitch and roll, Wiencke did his best to keep the ship stable and on board, and to avoid oncoming icebergs. He was new to work. Hired as a cabin attendant, the Norwegian had been promoted to sailor in Punta Arenas in recognition of his zeal and good humor after the dismissal of four rebel Belgians.

Wiencke had grown used to the music of storms, the way the winds “seemed to want to tear everything apart and howl from the rig with the highest highs to the deepest bass,” he told his diary. He came to life in such storms, which reminded him of Beethoven’s sonatas. Loved by the crew and officers, Wiencke had shown himself worthy of the faith of his leaders. He volunteered for the most dangerous jobs, eager to show his agility and too often ignoring Amundsen’s calls for caution.

Now he was facing his toughest challenge yet. Icebergs threatened to assault the ship from all sides. It started to snow, further limiting visibility. Sheets of spray slammed into Wiencke’s yellow sou’wester and waxed coat.

the Belgicathe captain, Georges Lecointe.From the Limburgensia collection of the Bibliotheek Hasselt Limburg.

Huge waves hit the Belgica amidships and flooded in the hold through the open main hatch. Wiencke heard Amundsen’s voice cut through the sound of the wind, calling him from the bridge to help him. After handing the wheel over to Belgian sailor Gustave-Gaston Dufour, Wiencke climbed down the ladder and splashed knee-deep in the water that was now flooding the deck. Normally, small openings in the rampart called scuppers allowed seawater to drain off the bridge, but they were now blocked by loose lumps of coal. As the ship swayed, the water swung from one side of the deck to the other. The pool got deeper with each wave that crashed into the railings. Wiencke ran alongside Amundsen, struggling to keep his balance. The first journeyman ordered Wiencke to help his comrade Ludwig-Hjalmar Johansen to lead out one of the scuppers. Various members of the crew had pricked it with a wooden dowel and only succeeded in wrapping the charcoal more tightly. Both should get creative.



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This is his ultimate power projection challenge https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/this-is-his-ultimate-power-projection-challenge/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/this-is-his-ultimate-power-projection-challenge/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 15:19:33 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/this-is-his-ultimate-power-projection-challenge/ There was a lot of bad news for the European Union during the five-week Nagorno-Karabakh war in autumn 2020 between Azerbaijan and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh backed by Armenia. There was even more bad news for the EU in the aftermath of this unfrozen “frozen” post-Soviet space conflict. There is, however, a silver lining […]]]>


There was a lot of bad news for the European Union during the five-week Nagorno-Karabakh war in autumn 2020 between Azerbaijan and the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh backed by Armenia.

There was even more bad news for the EU in the aftermath of this unfrozen “frozen” post-Soviet space conflict.

There is, however, a silver lining for the EU on the resumption of the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. At present, this is largely fictional fiction and is set at some point in the future.

And it is that the South Caucasus is the ultimate test of the geopolitical power of the Union (probably more than the Western Balkans, Syria, Libya or the Russia-Ukraine conflict).

Specifically, if there is ever another similar outbreak of war in the South Caucasus (and there will likely be one in the medium to long term), and the European Union has been successful in preventing, mitigating or ending to that, then the whole world would know that the EU would have become a world-class geopolitical superpower.

Indeed, the South Caucasus with its long frozen conflict in the post-Soviet space fertilized by tons of old-fashioned ethnic hatred between Azerbaijanis and Armenians is the ultimate challenge of the power projection of the European Union.

If the European Union were ever able to stop an Azerbaijan-Armenia war, then the right people in the EU would know that their Union would probably have consolidated to tackle external forces, would have a real foreign, security commune. and defense. political, and probably a capable European army that it can use effectively to defend its borders, its integrity, its citizens and its member states as well as to guarantee peace in its “near abroad”, to borrow a term that sounds good to traditional Russian geopolitical school.

All manner of critics, both EU nationals and foreigners (many of the latter cheering for) have lambasted the Union for its inability to do anything remarkable and meaningful during the High War. -Karabakh of 2020.

Besides the banal diplomatic calls for a ceasefire and peace, the EU has had no impact – either in favor of peace or in defending its supposed interests in the South Caucasus region, says the EU. global choir of foreign policy experts. and international security analysts sang.

Obviously, they weren’t wrong.

They are also absolutely right about the fact that Russia and Turkey (sort of) became the big geopolitical winners in the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020.

(Although a situation in which Russia and Turkey win must be taken with a great deal of salt, and can hardly be considered sustainable. Particularly considering a pattern of rivalry embodied by a total of 14 bilateral interstate wars over a period of period of 423 years, between 1568 and 1991, WWI and Cold War included.)

It is also true that an Armenia which embarked on a course towards European integration, timid but still, was now obliged to immediately go to Russia to save itself from a greater defeat. Certainly, because the hard power of the EU which is practically non-existent cannot be compared to that of Russia.

Yet the European Union must absolutely not take revenge for its inability to influence the course and outcome of the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war between Azerbaijanis and Armenians.

Because the obvious fact of the matter is that the EU was not built for these kinds of goals, for this alleged scale of projection of power and geopolitical weight.

He simply does not have the tools at his disposal to do more than the little he has actually done with regard to a complex and stubborn ethnic and interstate conflict so generously bequeathed to the world by subsequent rulers of the world. former Soviet Union.

Particularly in a relatively small region, relatively isolated and difficult to access, sandwiched between Russia, Turkey and Iran.

Would it have been great if the European Union had indeed had the tools, capacity, status and power projection capabilities, including military power projection capabilities, to intervene and prevent or stop the fighting between Azerbaijanis? and the Armenians? Yes it would have been.

And many people, myself included, have pleaded relentlessly for a European Union that could have done it – to defend itself – and to do good in many martyred neighboring regions. around the world, or further afield. (Because if someone ever imagined the EU as an evil and ‘expansionist’ power if it had a full-fledged diplomatic unit and military projection capabilities, that person would probably be very ill-minded towards Europe. .)

Many of us have pleaded for a European Union capable of defending itself and serving as an extremely positive stabilizing force at regional and global levels. And a European Union capable of responding to any assault to come. Without such capabilities, the EU is a ‘sitting duck’ which only pushes its geopolitical luck.

Yet at the moment the EU has virtually none of this, none of the necessary powers. Of course, it is relatively good for a wide range of “soft measures”. But soft measures would only get you so far. Maybe only at a few “weak points”.

Regardless of the current wishful thinking of public opinion in the western part of the Union and the public weakness of its eastern part, Europe itself has seen far too much evidence that things do eventually come to hard power. The Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020 is just another case in hand.

Is it really necessary to remind Europeans that “war is like love – it always finds a way,” quote from Brecht’s “Mother Courage”?

Again, at present, the European Union has virtually no hard power, and expect it to have intervened successfully in the South Caucasus, in the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020 between Azerbaijanis and Armenians is either illusory or foolish or bad. intentioned. Or all of the above. There is and will be a lot of EU haters out there.

And since the frozen (and now unfrozen) conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is the case at hand, this line of criticism from the EU on the South Caucasus War in 2020 is reminiscent of the 2015 book by American geopolitical thinker George Friedman “Flashpoints “.

This book contains a chapter curiously entitled “The wars of Maastricht”. In it, the author esteemed, in a way, by a bit of geopolitical imagination, connects the 1992 EU Treaty of Maastricht (which in fact gave the European Union its current name) with the wars in the European periphery at the time, in the early 1990s – the wars in the former Yugoslavia and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Of course, the wars in question took place because of the collapse of what were highly man-made and often evil constructions, namely, respectively, the former Communist Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Oddly enough, the author links them to the (re) formation of the European Union at the time, almost as if to blame it, simply because these developments occurred in roughly the same space-time continuum.

It is never easy to understand unfounded expectations and / or a desire to accumulate the guilt of the EU, perhaps out of aversion to it, as was often the case in the aftermath of the Nagorno-Karabakh war from 2020.

The EU must play an important role in the South Caucasus to contribute to peace, stability and prosperity there, and to defend its own interests.

For more than a decade now, I have been writing in support of the EU securing its own corridor to the Caspian Sea and the energy-rich countries on its shores – including both Azerbaijan and the D republics. ‘Central Asia. Georgia and Armenia, and potentially Azerbaijan, deserve the potential to become full members of the EU.

Of a Union which has hard power and which is not afraid to use it for the greater common good.

At this point, however, there is obviously no time for the European Union to fight for its inability to do more during the Nagorno-Karabakh war of 2020. At the moment, it just isn’t ” wired ‘this way.

What the EU needs to do is draw the right lessons for the development of hard power and power projection capabilities (and from an innovative warfare that has very forcefully demonstrated the power of swarms of drones), and in favor of the integration of Georgia and Armenia, and potentially Azerbaijan – all ancient peoples with a great history behind them rather linked to European civilization.

The public opinion of Western Europe in particular has behaved in a regrettable way towards European integration of “the East”, certainly wrongly. They continue to behave as if it is all about materialism and consumption, and there is nothing beyond that, no common values, no sense of belonging. This can hardly be the recipe for success. Just remember how Dutch voters rejected the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement in a referendum, the one Ukrainians grappled with to Moscow’s wrath, and which marked the first time Europeans were dead with the EU flag in hand.

So there is absolutely no need for the EU to fight the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. It just needs to learn the right lessons from them fast enough for it to be able to project peace and stability. before the next Nagorno-Karabakh war (God forbid!) kicks in.

Ivan Dikov

(Card of IEP-Berlin, EUCASE)





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Modern Dane offers durable bedding for peace of mind while you sleep https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/modern-dane-offers-durable-bedding-for-peace-of-mind-while-you-sleep/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/modern-dane-offers-durable-bedding-for-peace-of-mind-while-you-sleep/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:58:11 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/modern-dane-offers-durable-bedding-for-peace-of-mind-while-you-sleep/ No one wants to sleep swaddled with chemicals and other toxins. Plus, who can get a full night’s sleep knowing that their textile selections contribute to low labor wages and environmental pollution? With The Modern Dane, a new brand of sustainable bedding, you don’t have to put up with any of these issues. Read on […]]]>


No one wants to sleep swaddled with chemicals and other toxins. Plus, who can get a full night’s sleep knowing that their textile selections contribute to low labor wages and environmental pollution? With The Modern Dane, a new brand of sustainable bedding, you don’t have to put up with any of these issues.

Read on below

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The brand was developed with the belief that your bed is your sanctuary and your home should be filled with items that bring joy and comfort. The company sets the bar very high for achieving sustainability in all of its products, including environmentally friendly duvet covers, pillow cases and fitted sheets.

Related: The Archivist Brings Out Shirts Made From Recycled Hotel Sheets

Scandinavian bedding designs are heavily influenced by the Danish roots of The Modern founder Dane Jacob Andsager. Although beauty is the ultimate result, the process to achieve it focuses on sustainably harvested natural materials, limited waste, fair working practices and quality that guarantees a long life cycle.

The Modern Dane is also proud of its commitment to sustainable production and ensures traceability so that you know where the materials were supplied and the product was manufactured (Portugal, in accordance with the International Labor Organization ILO)

person holding a cup and sitting in bed

Durable materials

Starting with the materials, The Modern Dane only uses OEKO-TEX linen and certified European linen. Along the way, every part of every product is tested and guaranteed to meet the highest environmental and toxicological standards.

The European flax industry is respectful of the environment in several ways. First, flax, which is cultivated in Belgium, France and the Netherlands, blends naturally with the terroir. It does not require any irrigation and is grown using only rainwater. This is in stark contrast to cotton consuming water. The company said, “The annual water savings from growing cotton is estimated at 650 billion cubic meters of water, roughly the water consumption of a city the size of Atlanta. “.

Plus, flax is naturally pest resistant, eliminating the need for toxic pesticides that would otherwise pollute the land and end products. Some fertilizers are used in the production of flax, but this is five times less than the amount spilled on cotton.

copper green bedding

The flax industry has found ways to use every part of the mill for a cycle of growth and zero waste consumption. While long fibers are made into fabric, short fibers are used for paper or felt. Even the seeds and oils of the plant are made into feed, varnish and linoleum. Flax shives are used in gardening, made into animal bedding or composted. In addition, flax is completely biodegradable. Like any living plant, flax naturally improves air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

The Modern Dane explained: “Every year, flax growing in Europe captures 330,000 tonnes of CO2 – emissions equivalent to driving a Renault Clio 62,000 times around the earth.”

On the left, bedding in cardboard packaging.  Right, close-up of floral-print bedding.

Inhabitat tests The Modern Dane bedding

The Modern Dane offered to send a sample of the product, which I enthusiastically accepted. For me, there is nothing more luxurious than a soft, warm bed, so I was excited when a duvet cover popped up a few days later.

For starters, the packaging was beautiful and environmentally friendly. As the box says, it’s “recycled, fully biodegradable, and made in the USA.” The comforter itself came in a linen bag, which is reusable. This earns high marks unlike standard plastic bags that many linens come in.

The print on the comforter is inviting and versatile and makes a statement without being too bold (although I agree with bold too). A variety of colors in the print means it can work with many types of interior designs and sheet selections. It can easily be paired with shades of green, blue, black and brown. I love the color selection for the back of this print, which is a sweet sage.

Floral print duvet with wooden buttons

The quality is evident from the first contact. It is a thick fabric which may be too hot for some. Personally, I love the weight. It offers cozy and cocooning comfort. The seams are tight, ensuring that there won’t be any rips or holes anytime soon. It took me one night to get used to the feel of linen. It doesn’t immediately radiate the softness of cotton or poly blends, but I’m sure it will soften over time.

My quilted comforter slipped easily into the comforter, and the size fits well with no space around the edges or corners. Best of all, the comforter stayed in place over time, unlike the constant fuss I had to give my old comforter to get it back on.

Not all product reviews are this easy to support. There is often a little something wrong. But with this The Modern Dane comforter, I simply have no downsides to mention with the product, company, or packaging. The comforter is really delicious, and now every day I can’t wait for bedtime.

+ Modern Danish

Images via The Modern Dane and Dawn Hammon / Inhabitat

Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by The Modern Dane. All opinions on the products and the company are the property of the author.



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What is Critical Race Theory and why does it make white conservatives uncomfortable? https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-does-it-make-white-conservatives-uncomfortable/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-does-it-make-white-conservatives-uncomfortable/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 14:55:00 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/what-is-critical-race-theory-and-why-does-it-make-white-conservatives-uncomfortable/ In the conservative American media these days, besides the usual partisan opposition to what liberals and progressives embody within the Democratic Party, there is also an encouraging skepticism towards critical race theory ( CRT) as the next vicious liberal who defeats America. The theory has been mentioned numerous times on Fox News over the past […]]]>


In the conservative American media these days, besides the usual partisan opposition to what liberals and progressives embody within the Democratic Party, there is also an encouraging skepticism towards critical race theory ( CRT) as the next vicious liberal who defeats America.

The theory has been mentioned numerous times on Fox News over the past few months, and particularly on the network’s top-rated show, the eponymous name Tucker Carlson Tonight, CRT has come under fire in connection with an alleged program. replacement of whites – the reactionary conclusion that liberals and progressives want to make whites either become the minority ethnic group or be encompassed by overwhelming minorities.

In the final months of his bumpy presidency, Donald Trump singled out CRT as a liberal agenda to divide the United States. He sometimes called it racist. The obsession with the subject is not only in the United States as in the United Kingdom too, the Conservative government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken steps to mitigate what he considers to be the negative repercussions of the studies.

While Connecticut and California have passed bills encompassing aspects of CRT to be taught in schools, other states like Idaho are seeking to ban CRT in schools. The division over where you can and can’t learn CRT over the next few years is bound to be very political. But what is critical race theory?

CRT is best understood as a lens with which to look at the world rather than as a field of study or a defined field. CRT assumes that American social and political life, or the social and political life of Western society in general, is rooted in assumptions that have also given rise to racial consciousness. By this, supporters of the CRT such as Kimberle Crenshaw and Derrick Bell believe that Western society is necessarily white supremacist, in the sense that Western society has been structured from the humanity of those who shared whiteness. The structures that these white people built were meant to perpetuate their species and defend their ways.

The introduction of other peoples, especially blacks into white society, even for over half a millennium has been marred by the fact that the defense of Western civilization would not allow its way of life to be upset by non-whites. The CRT theorists imagine that overthrowing Western civilization does not constitute the destruction of Euro-American life. Rather, what they mean by overthrowing Western civilization is to critically address how this civilization was built on the maxim of the goodness of whiteness and the wickedness of others.

As such, post-classical European history, from the Renaissance to the consensus that has shaped the world since 1945, is under critical scrutiny. It is a period of over 500 years that CRT advocates believe whiteness was designed, constructed and militarized. While conservatives generally blame liberals for critical race theory, it helps to understand that classical liberalism and even neoliberalism are not spared by the CRT.

There are some CRT professors who may be Marxists, but thought itself is not Marxist. If anything, other critical social and economic theories such as Marxism, post-structuralism, and post-modernism are seen as ineffective on the agenda. CRT concerns power relations and questions Western civilization and / or whiteness and everything that has arisen from it.

CRT has been brewed by predominantly black American academics for over 40 years, although some supporters are Asian and Hispanic.

From there, it is quite clear that the CRT is embarrassing white conservatives and even some liberals and progressives. Usually Americans debate taxation, gay and civilian rights, crime, military spending, budget deficits, etc. There is neither will nor imagination to question Western civilization itself and put whiteness on the stand.

The necessary conditions demanded by race theorists, including intersectionality, the suspension of Western-origin rationalization, and the mandatory centering of minority racial narratives, also threaten the individual rights-based society founded on European Enlightenment principles. .



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Demand an end to Uyghur oppression https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/demand-an-end-to-uyghur-oppression/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/demand-an-end-to-uyghur-oppression/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 13:52:30 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/demand-an-end-to-uyghur-oppression/ China first conquered the Uyghur homeland in the mid-18th century and ruled it as a dependency for a century, before being pushed back by local uprisings in the 1860s. We only see the type of colonialism generally associated with European states at the end of the 19th century. The Qing Dynasty conquered the region again […]]]>


China first conquered the Uyghur homeland in the mid-18th century and ruled it as a dependency for a century, before being pushed back by local uprisings in the 1860s.

We only see the type of colonialism generally associated with European states at the end of the 19th century. The Qing Dynasty conquered the region again in the 1880s and began a “civilizing mission” which included the colonization of the Han. According to most accounts, this was a failure and the Qing Dynasty fell in 1911, followed by a fragile Republican government that inherited Qing territory. Throughout this period, the region was loosely controlled by Han governors who had tenuous relations with the central authorities and ruled it like their own small feudal empire.

After the Chinese Revolution of 1949, it was not known what would happen to the region. It could have ended up as the Mongolian People’s Republic, an independent Soviet satellite state. But eventually it was withdrawn into the People’s Republic of China [PRC].

Since 1949, the PRC has always sought to integrate this region, but there has not always been the capacity to do so. Initially, he tried the Soviet model of co-opting local elites and governing through them. It ended in failure in the late 1950s and then you had a series of chaotic mass social campaigns under Mao that did not allow the state to focus on that particular region.

It wasn’t until the early 1980s that the state really started to think, “How do we make this region part of China?” and “How do we define our nation? Is it a multicultural nation? A nation state?

There were a lot of very progressive ideas within the Chinese Communist Party in general and much of it positively affected the Uyghur region, including discussions on whether the region should have more substantial autonomy, a greater role for local people in government, etc. But it started to end with the Tiananmen Square massacre and, in particular, the fall of the Soviet Union.

From that moment on, the CCP began to look at what had happened to the Soviet Union and determine how to prevent it from happening in China. They mistakenly identified “ethnic self-determination” as one of the causes of the fall of the Soviet Union and began to target any sign of a desire for self-determination – what they have called throughout the years. 1990s “separatism”.

So the colonial process of the settlers didn’t really start until the 90s, which makes it a lot shorter than it seems if you are talking for the first time about this region becoming part of modern China in the mid-18th century. .



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STAWAR COLUMN: Lawn care better left to the pros | Notice https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/stawar-column-lawn-care-better-left-to-the-pros-notice/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/stawar-column-lawn-care-better-left-to-the-pros-notice/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/stawar-column-lawn-care-better-left-to-the-pros-notice/ In a Scientific American article titled “The American Obsession with Lawns,” Krystal D’Costa says, “This is the time of year when the buzz of landscaping equipment starts to take over the air, and people. begin to scrutinize their appeal. ” Since moving back from the countryside to a suburban neighborhood about three years ago, my […]]]>


In a Scientific American article titled “The American Obsession with Lawns,” Krystal D’Costa says, “This is the time of year when the buzz of landscaping equipment starts to take over the air, and people. begin to scrutinize their appeal. ” Since moving back from the countryside to a suburban neighborhood about three years ago, my wife Diane and I have become increasingly concerned about our lawn. I’m starting to stay awake at night worrying about those bare spots along the hill in the back yard and I’m only a step or two away from transforming into Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, screaming, “Hey. , punks, get off my lawn. “

We didn’t think much of the lawn when we lived outside of town. The last time we lived in a housing estate, we still had boys at home to make us mow the lawns. Things are different now and we are trying to keep the yard from becoming an embarrassment and making us the outcast of the neighborhood, but it’s a constant struggle.

When I was in college, I remember reading the story of American sociologist Thorstein Veblen, who wrote a classic 1899 treatise, “The Theory of the Leisure Class”. The central notion of this work is that the truly wealthy (the leisure class) feel compelled to display their wealth while squandering it, preferably in public view. Veblen called this phenomenon “conspicuous consumption”. The TV Tropes website says, “Common variations on this theme involve using a hundred dollar bill to light a cigar or a cigarette, or throwing entire stacks of bills into a roaring fireplace to keep the fire going.” The character of Krusty the Clown from The Simpsons TV series says, “Ahh, there is nothing better than a cigarette … unless it’s a lit cigarette with a $ 100 bill!”

The modern lawn is a recent cultural phenomenon. This is, however, another example of conspicuous consumption. It evolved from the park areas surrounding the great European mansions and estates. These areas meant that the landowners were wealthy enough to dedicate land exclusively for decorative purposes, rather than agriculture. At the time, it was an extremely expensive act, comparable to burning money. Maintaining a beautiful lawn can also symbolize dominance over nature and create an illusion of order and stability.

Although the middle class has now embraced lawns as a status symbol, they remain an expensive proposition. Americans spend well over $ 60 billion a year just to maintain their lawns, not to mention all the work and effort.

Climate Conscious writer Jackie Badilla says: “Lawns today are a source of socio-economic status, unity, civilization, pride, success, order, security, civic responsibility , an ideal aesthetic and a barometer of the value of the neighbor.

Lawns are hard not to pass judgment on as you walk through most subdivisions. Lawns covered in dandelions, having sparse or overgrown areas really stand out. Our neighborhood seems to have a great diversity ranging from finely manicured lawns to quite frightening landscapes. Lawns can bring neighborhoods together or cause them to explode.

After a disastrous first year, when I tried to cut our lawn myself with a riding mower, we hired a lawn service. As I mentioned before our back yard has a very steep section and I actually fell off the riding mower – twice. Last year our lawn ended up having a number of bare areas. In the fall and earlier this spring, we purchased and applied Turf Builder which is supposed to thicken your lawn. I think our neighbors were delighted to see us working there. Although expensive, the Turf Builder seems to work, but it takes a lot of effort to spread the grass seed and keep it watered. Diane thinks we should get the prize for the most improved lawn, if there was such a prize.

I’ve never had a good lawn care model. My father never took lawns very seriously. When my mother complained about the need to cut the lawn, he would wait until Sunday morning. Then he would turn on our gas mower, much to the dismay of the Presbyterian congregation trying to organize services across the street. I suspect it was more than a little passive-aggressive.

Psychology Today blogger Dr Austin Perlmutter says: “… a well-groomed lawn is linked to ideas like success and stability. The relative health and attractiveness of the grass in our backyard becomes a barometer for our life as a whole. In this way, cultivating a healthy, well-mowed lawn helps us convince others that we are doing well. In a survey, people said they believe having an attractive lawn has a positive effect on them and their families. You may have noticed that Dr Perlmutter used the metaphor ‘barometer’ when referring to lawns, I think that’s because of the constant pressure they create. With the exception of the reprieve of the winter months, they pose a permanent threat to your status.

Lawns also have an expensive ecological cost. Most well-maintained lawns require more water than rain can provide. About a third of the residential water supply ends up being used for lawns. In addition, every year, lawn mowers and other machinery emit millions of tonnes of air pollutants. This does not include the even greater amount of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that cover the soil and seep into the water supply.

In response, there is a small anti-lawn movement, but militant. The American Society of Landscape Architects has suggested that homeowners replace their beloved grass with a drought-resistant groundcover that doesn’t require mowing. This is called “sustainable landscaping”. In the long run, it may be cheaper, easier to manage, and more environmentally friendly than our current lawn.

My father once bought a used concrete mixer, which quickly became his precious possession. I’m sure he wasn’t kidding, and maybe he was ahead of his time, when he suggested covering our yard with concrete and painting it green.



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When ‘America First’ is a ticket to last place https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/when-america-first-is-a-ticket-to-last-place/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/when-america-first-is-a-ticket-to-last-place/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 10:01:48 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/when-america-first-is-a-ticket-to-last-place/ Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Is shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone associates him with the “America First” caucus agenda, although he used that phrase in his keynote address at a political action conference America First in February. If you can judge a person by the company they run, the conference was hosted by someone who said, “Whites […]]]>


Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Is shocked, SHOCKED, that anyone associates him with the “America First” caucus agenda, although he used that phrase in his keynote address at a political action conference America First in February. If you can judge a person by the company they run, the conference was hosted by someone who said, “Whites are done being bullied” and spoke approvingly of the crowd that stormed the United States Capitol on January 6. one cameo was former Rep Steve King, R-Iowa, who once wondered what was so terrible about phrases like “white nationalist, white supremacist, and western civilization.” Tellingly, none of Gosar’s Arizona colleagues had much to say.

representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Tweeted that he was “proud to join” Greene in the “#AmericaFirst Caucus”. Things must be really bad for him when he sees an “Anglo-Saxon” caucus dripping with nativist rhetoric as a distraction and a step forward.

When Greene’s bravado was frightened by reprimands from other GOP members, she blamed the usual suspects, saying she had not seen the “draft proposal at the staff level of an outside group” and mumbling something about the media taking it out of context. Now she’s off on her latest adventure that has little to do with her constituents in Georgia, announcing a scheduled appearance at a “Back the Blue and Freedom Rally” in Columbus, Ohio, a community trying to sort out the details. and the fallout. police shot 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant.

It’s not exactly what an unstable situation needs, but then, you can’t keep a woman angry, and to borrow a reference from Marvel’s Hulk, that woman is “always angry.”

‘Begins with art’

But the abandoned draft of “America First”, published by Punchbowl News, is too rich and detailed to let disappear in the haze of an accelerated news cycle. It covered everything from technology to commerce and even architecture, promoting “an infrastructure that reflects the architectural, technical and aesthetic value befitting the descendants of European architecture”.





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The Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, addresses the academic community at the annual Keely Vatican // The Observer conference https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/the-director-of-the-vatican-museums-barbara-jatta-addresses-the-academic-community-at-the-annual-keely-vatican-the-observer-conference/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/29/the-director-of-the-vatican-museums-barbara-jatta-addresses-the-academic-community-at-the-annual-keely-vatican-the-observer-conference/#respond Thu, 29 Apr 2021 04:06:48 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/the-director-of-the-vatican-museums-barbara-jatta-addresses-the-academic-community-at-the-annual-keely-vatican-the-observer-conference/ The University’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies held its annual Keely Vatican conference on Wednesday. The Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, spoke at the event in a conference entitled “The Vatican Museums: Prospects for the Future”. Jatta’s lecture covered the newly restored works of art by Renaissance painter Raphael and the management of […]]]>


The University’s Nanovic Institute for European Studies held its annual Keely Vatican conference on Wednesday. The Director of the Vatican Museums, Barbara Jatta, spoke at the event in a conference entitled “The Vatican Museums: Prospects for the Future”.

Jatta’s lecture covered the newly restored works of art by Renaissance painter Raphael and the management of the Vatican Museums during the pandemic.

Notre Dame President Fr. John Jenkins gave an opening address to introduce Jatta, who was appointed director of the Vatican Museums by Pope Francis in 2016. Jatta oversees a team of hundreds of curators, conservators and others museum professionals, Jenkins said.

During this year Keely Vatican Conference sponsored by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, dVatican Museums director Barbara Jatta spoke about Raphael’s conservation efforts and how the Museums have handled the pandemic.

Jatta began his lecture by talking about the mission of the Vatican Museums.

“The mission of the Vatican Museums is to make known, preserve and share the extraordinary heritage of culture, history, beauty and faith that the Roman Pontiffs have collected and preserved for centuries,” said Jatta.

Jatta described the importance of Raphael to the Vatican.

“Raphael, a universal artist, provided the supreme model of beauty to Western purity and civilization,” Jatta said. “To fully understand Raphael, you have to come to the Vatican.”

The Vatican Museums are the bearers of Raphael’s most beautiful and important painting cycles, Jatta said. Raphael was involved in the conservation and restoration of antiquity, which museums continue to do today.

“We see Raphael as the person who started the design for the conservation, restoration and preservation of our heritage,” Jatta said.

Managing the museum has been difficult during the pandemic, according to Jatta.

“We were closed for about three months and when we reopened in June 2020 we decided to reopen on Raphael’s name and image,” Jatta said. “We wanted to positively celebrate the 500th anniversary of his death in 1520, or the year ‘Sanzio’.”

The year Sanzio involved new restorations from many works of art, including the altar “The Coronation of the Virgin Mary”, the painting “Leo X and Raphael in the Sistine Chapel”, the courtyard of the Bramante and the Constantine Hall, which has been under restoration since 2014. The Constantine Hall depicts the life of Constantine, who legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire, on its four walls. Raphael was involved in the initial sketchches paintings in the Constantine room, but died before the room was completed.

Jatta went on to speak of rethinking the future of the Vatican Museums in light of the current pandemic.

“We have to rethink and restart in a different way, but we’re sure we have to keep going,” she said.

The number of visitors has declined due to the pandemic by nearly 80%, Jatta said, but there has been a change in attendance at the Vatican Museums. Before the pandemic, most visitors to the Vatican were foreigners, now more than half are Italians.

Jatta is optimistic about the Vatican Museum’s ability to bounce back once the pandemic is over.

“It’s a complex issue, but we’re going to start over and get over it,” she said. “Same as things change and as the number of exhibitions is low, we are still working on our mission to present, preserve and share the heritage of culture, history, beauty and faith. ”

In the question-and-answer session, Jatta answered a question about how she sees the connection between beauty and the Catholic Church.

“Pope Francis explains how to use the heritage of beauty to bring people into the faith,” Jatta said. “At present, the use of virtual tours and images of the Vatican has increased from 200 to 300%, but I am convinced that a genuine tour of our collections and being alone with sincere works of art can do happen beauty. the soul of visitors.

Jatta concludes the event by referring to Pope Francis’ address to the Holy See’s ambassadors in 2020.

“He evokes the Raphael years and uses Raphael as a model of the time of harmony between art, history and faith united in perfect harmony,” she said. “I was very happy that he was aware of the importance of Raphael and of universal harmony.”

Tags: COVID-19, Father John Jenkins, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, Pope Francis, Notre Dame University, Vatican Museums



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Dying Light 2 developer explains why game won’t have modern weapons https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/28/dying-light-2-developer-explains-why-game-wont-have-modern-weapons/ https://iainabrach.org/2021/04/28/dying-light-2-developer-explains-why-game-wont-have-modern-weapons/#respond Wed, 28 Apr 2021 22:23:00 +0000 https://iainabrach.org/dying-light-2-developer-explains-why-game-wont-have-modern-weapons/ Dying Light 2’s lead gameplay designer explains in an “Ask Me Anything” video why modern firearms will not be available in the next game. Earlier this week, Dying Light 2 Developer Techland posted their first episode in an “Ask Me Anything” video series about the upcoming survival horror RPG. Chief game designer Tymon Smektala selected […]]]>


Dying Light 2’s lead gameplay designer explains in an “Ask Me Anything” video why modern firearms will not be available in the next game.

Earlier this week, Dying Light 2 Developer Techland posted their first episode in an “Ask Me Anything” video series about the upcoming survival horror RPG. Chief game designer Tymon Smektala selected a handful of fan questions from over 9,000 people and provided detailed answers, giving insight into game elements such as the huge open world map, story, vehicles, etc. In a particularly interesting response, Smektala revealed why modern firearms will not be available in Dying Light 2.

Dying Light 2the story picks up 15 years after the original Dying light, in a European city badly affected by a zombie apocalypse. The protagonist, Aiden Caldwell, explores the city with parkour skills like wall running and rock climbing as he meets other residents of The City. Players are free to roam a massive map, collect resources, and complete side quests. However, player choices will affect the game and have consequences on different levels, from a changing story to locked parts of the map. The sequel had a pretty tough road to completion over the course of six years, but Techland has confirmed that Dying Light 2 will be released in 2021.

Related: Dying Light 2 Collector’s Edition & Statue May Leak Online

A release date for Dying Light 2 is still unclear, but Techland has at least been generous in sharing other details about the game, as evidenced by the new AMA series. In the first episode, Smektala gave fans an idea of ​​what to expect in terms of combat, travel, and more. Asked about Dying Light 2guns, Smektala confirmed that there won’t be any real modern weapons in the game due to its post-apocalyptic nature. “It’s a world war, civilization is destroyed,” he said. “There are no more, so no one is able to create professional firearms.

There is an option to craft a shotgun by hand, but since it is handmade, it won’t be very sturdy. The shotgun will break after several uses. Instead of guns, there will be several other weapons, including crossbows, machetes, hammers and spears. These items can actually be used simultaneously with a homemade shotgun – one in each hand – to “a very powerful combination.

In his heart, Dying Light 2 sounds very similar to the original. The game will have a similar day-night cycle, with zombies becoming more aggressive at night. There is also a similar parkour system, similar exploration, and similar choice-based gameplay. However, the change in weaponry, along with the lack of vehicles to drive, adds another level of challenge. Smektala assured fans that Dying Light 2 will have a lot of weapons and alternative modes of travel like paragliding and parkour, but the lack of more modern technology is forcing players to get a little more creative. This unique challenge only makes Dying Light 2 even more intriguing.

Next: Rust Skins, Items & More Come To Dying Light At A Crossover Event

Source: Dying Light 2 (YouTube)

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