By Annalee Newitz
The Harappan civilization dominated the Indus River valley beginning about five thousand years ago, many of its massive cities sprawling at the edges of rivers that still flow through Pakistan and India today. But its culture remains a mystery. Why did it leave behind no representations of great leaders, nor of warfare?
Archaeologists have long wondered whether the Harappan civilization could actually have thrived for roughly 2,000 years without any major wars or leadership cults. Obviously people had conflicts, sometimes with deadly results — graves reveal ample skull injuries caused by blows to the head. But there is no evidence that any Harappan city was ever burned, besieged by an army, or taken over by force from within. Sifting through the archaeological layers of these cities, scientists find no layers of ash that would suggest the city had been burned down, and no signs of mass destruction. There are no enormous caches of weapons, and not even any art representing warfare.
That would make the Harappan civilization an historical outlier in any era. But it’s especially noteworthy at a time when neighboring civilizations in Mesopotamia were erecting massive war monuments, and using cuneiform writing on clay tablets to chronicle how their leaders slaughtered and enslaved thousands.
What exactly were the Harappans doing instead of focusing their energies on military conquest?
Read more » iO9
Sherman and Colleagues Express Deep Concern to Prime Minister Sharif over Human Rights Violations against Sindhis in Pakistan
Sherman, Bentivolio, Schiff, Gabbard, and Petri Urge Prime Minister Sharif to Take Action
Washington, DC – Congressman Brad Sherman, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade, was joined by four Members of Congress – Kerry Bentivolio, Adam Schiff, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tom Petri – in sending a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to express deep concern over human rights violations in the Sindh province of Pakistan.
Sindhi activists have been regularly persecuted and detained, and even violently targeted through enforced disappearances and brutal murders. Religious minorities in Pakistan, including Hindu Sindhis, have faced discrimination and attacks by extremists on their houses of worship.
The letter urges the Prime Minister to “address the situation accordingly by strongly countering these actions and policies throughout the Pakistani government.”
“We are urging Prime Minister Sharif to do everything in his power to protect the Sindh community, as well as religious minorities, from attacks,” said Congressman Sherman. “The Sindhi community includes tens of millions of people in Pakistan who are striving to preserve their language and culture, but Sindhi activists are subject to enforced disappearances and sometimes targeted killings.”
“Violence against minorities everywhere is an unacceptable violation of human rights,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “ In Pakistan, we’ve heard reports of torture, executions and disappearances of peaceful and politically active Sindhis and Balochs who are Hindu, Christian, Shi’a and other religious minorities. These religiously and politically motivated attacks are abhorrent, and I strongly urge Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take action to address these troubling offenses. The Government of Pakistan must stand up for human rights, and against violent radicals who seek to persecute and kill those with differing beliefs.”
Courtesy: » Congressman Brad Sherman