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New Social Compact

Vaccine Mandates in the Workplace

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It was only a matter of time before vaccine mandates and passports entered the mainstream dialogue. It started with floating out the narrative in gaining public support of the vaccinated and claiming the virus as a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The us and them divide has been created. National levels of government then took the lead in requiring vaccination among federal government employees that in turn spurred places of education and the private sector to follow suit.

This momentum has resulted in large corporations, Big Tech, the travel industry, and universities and colleges leading the way in requiring their employees and students to be vaccinated in order to return to the workplace or school. The extension of the mandate has resulted in pushing for vaccine passports to attend public events, restaurants, take public transportation, and perhaps buy and sell in the marketplace.

We have seen some private sector decisions where employees must be vaccinated to work in the office or continue to work from home. While the vaccination may be voluntary, it will create tremendous pressure on employees to decide on vaccination out of fear of reprisal and potential termination of employment. This measure is a trickle-down effect that accomplishes two things. First, the employer is not necessarily seen as autocratic in their initial demands while employees begin to cave in over the fear of losing their livelihood and secondly, the employer still requires many of the non-vaccinated employees to continue operations and this slow cooker buys some time. Eventually, difficult decisions on vaccination and continuing employment will likely come to a head in some workplaces.

To be clear, I am not against vaccines or an anti-vaxxer by any stretch. What is important here is to ask questions of whether this medicine being administered under emergency authorization is thoroughly vetted.

This doesn’t mean the vaccine is dangerous, but rather unresolved questions and concerns requiring answers. It is not a conspiracy theory; rather honest questions with not so clear answers about a drug yet to be approved by the FDA.

In good conscience, companies should not mandate their employees to inject an experimental vaccine into their bodies as a requirement to come to workplace and remain employed. This is inhumane to do so; and we may regret this action in years to come.

This medicine, we were told, was supposed to be effective and allow us and the world to remove our masks and return to normal. Some proudly claimed to have found freedom after taking the two vaccine dosages. I wondered how some may feel after they injected the failed AstraZeneca vaccine that is not recognized as viable in numerous countries. This is a drug that richer countries are now donating or perhaps a better definition of dumping on poor countries rather than inject the dismal vaccine into the bodies of their own citizens. How valiant and generous.

Fast forward just a couple of months from the declaration of mask independence; and nothing in the vaccines has demonstrated the pandemic is over except for what looks like less severe illness for the vaccinated if they become infected with the virus. We are now being told to mask up following many breakthrough cases where the vaccinated are now coming down with Covid.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are trying to determine what role the vaccinated carriers may have played in Provincetown, Massachusetts where three-quarters of 469 residents infected during a COVID-19 outbreak were fully vaccinated. This alarming story along with other widespread breakthrough cases prompted the CDC to reissue mask mandates.

A recent major study by the Mayo Clinic that reviewed thousands of PCR tests across six states found that the effectiveness of COVID infection dropped in July to 42% for the Pfizer vaccine and 76% for the Moderna vaccine. Immunity is waning following the vaccine shots; and it very surprising that breakthrough cases are rising this quickly. There is now a high likelihood of juicing up additional vaccine injections for third time and perhaps a fourth injection that may result in producing more variants as the virus mutates off numerous vaccines.

Additionally, there is real evidence that people who have previously contracted the coronavirus have antibodies, if not stronger than the vaccines; and they are being told to vaccinate. Should a ten-year-old child, a fifty-year-old marathoner, or an 80-year-old with underlining issues receive the same unapproved vaccine dosage? To be clear, no single medicine is best for everyone, and should be weighed carefully with family and your doctor.

There is real evidence that many people have died after taking the vaccine; whether from the vaccine itself or following a breakthrough case in getting COVID after receiving the vaccine. We only hear of the upside protection by taking the vaccine. Vaccines are not generally overtly dangerous, but they are not without any risk. While about 160 million Americans receiving the annual flu shot every season where up to 200 people die following this shot, it is a far different story with the COVID vaccine.

In just the first four months of 2021, there have been more deaths after taking the COVID vaccine than all the other vaccine deaths tracked in the 15-year period from 1997 to 2013. It’s stunning. According to the data from Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), they have registered over ten thousand known COVID vaccine related deaths. How many go unreported? VAERS has also reported thousands of heart attacks, chest pain, hospitalizations, tinnitus, and high rates of deep vein thrombosis.

Yes, we should expect side effects but at this rate do we know the long-term impact. In contrast, when the US vaccinated 45 million for the swine flu in 1976, 53 people reportedly died after the shot. The US government immediately halted the vaccination. The Menveo vaccine for preventing meningitis had one known death following the vaccine over a 5-year period from 2010-2015.

For childbearing women, there is evidence that the protein spikes are remaining in the woman’s ovaries and are not being flushed from their bodies. The former VP and chief scientist at Pfizer, Michael Yeadon, has strongly urged childbearing age women not to take the vaccine.

Why raise questions about the safety of the vaccine for childbearing age women and those breastfeeding? Well, there were thousands of birth malformations resulting in women taking thalidomide 60 years ago. Studies did not assess the toxicity for the unborn babies. So here we have an untested medicine in terms of the impact on fertilization where the vaccine concentrates in the ovaries and perhaps in background tissues like muscles at 20-fold. We have not heard any reporting on the impact of male reproduction.

Look, this vaccine has not prevented infection 100% with more and more breakthrough cases. You can still get it, you can still pass it on, and you are told to keep wearing the mask after being vaccinated.

There are more questions than answers; and if anyone can unequivocally state that this vaccine has zero risks, then please go on the record. Again, it is not to say the vaccine is not working for a vast number of people and reducing hospitalization.

Interesting to note that according to Luc Montagnier, a world top virologist and Nobel Prize winner for his work in discovering HIV as the cause of AIDs, he says the world is silent about Antibody-Dependant Enhancement (ADE) where this vaccine is creating the variants by forcing the virus to find a way to stay alive and mutate or die. Perhaps the vaccinated may find themselves much further compromised in years to come. We just don’t know; but we are willing to inject a third shot and more to follow.

Many yet to be vaccinated are not hesitant alone on the unproven medicine. It may be better described that people are hesitant to be coerced, shamed, and pressured into participating in the largest drug trial in history. If people are going to be forced into vaccination by mandates, the public has the absolute right to know the immediate and long-term effects of a drug that is not approved by the FDA and where nearly a third of the employees at the CDC and National Institute of Health have refused to take the vaccine – the very organizations pushing that everyone take the COVID vaccine.

There has to be a better way and an ethical way for the private sector and government to move forward in combatting the virus without creating an us and them divide where the unvaccinated are not mocked as a conspiracist, threatened to lose one’s job and means to survive, or worst labeled a murderer.

Rich Berdan is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Rich often provides perspectives that are unique and thought provoking.

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New Social Compact

Dance and games offer glimpses of life – and death – in ancient Italy

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image source: Wikipedia

Tomb and urn images shed light on the intricacies of Etruscan and Roman civilisation at least 2 000 years ago, reviving it for modern times.


A 2 500-year-old Etruscan tomb in the Italian city of Tarquinia has walls covered in paintings of brightly coloured dancers and musicians. A 1st-century funerary urn of a woman who died in nearby Rome depicts a couple playing a board game.

While tombs and urns might seem to be unlikely places to find scenes of people dancing or playing board games, in classical antiquity they conveyed important messages about personal relationships and society.

Game of seduction 

The Roman marble urn, for example, bears an inscription identifying the deceased woman as Margaris, a slave of Marcus Allius Herma. The couple is playing “Little Soldiers”, a game of strategy symbolising seduction, and Margaris is winning.

‘The image of the board game shows intimacy between the couple,’ said Véronique Dasen, professor of classical archaeology at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. ‘It is a very beautiful thing because she is a slave, but she’s also the beloved one and the leader. The game is also a message to say they will be together forever.’

Although games were an important part of ancient life – even the gods played them – for a long time they went unstudied. The only major work on the topic was published in 1869.

Dasen is leading an EU-funded research project called Locus Ludi to address this gap. It is carrying out the first comprehensive study of the written, archaeological and iconographic records of games, which have been largely forgotten in museums and libraries.

Beastly boys, good girls

Some Roman sarcophagi of children are carved with scenes of boys playing. These are no simple illustrations of childhood amusement – they have a twist.

The beautiful carvings show the boys fighting over their game and pulling each other’s hair. One boy is even biting his playmate.

This reflects the extent to which violence was allowed in games and was culturally part of the fun, according to Dasen. Romans valued this behaviour.

Roman girls, on the other hand, were never depicted fighting over games. Instead, they are always shown playing nicely and quietly.

Such pastimes were a way for children to experience winning and losing and to learn to master their emotions.

Play it again

In addition to studying the hidden messages in the images of games in ancient Roman as well as Greek art, the Locus Ludi team has recreated some and made them available to play online.

The “Little Soldiers” amusement played by the slave and her lover is the only Roman strategic board game described in detail in Roman literature.

The researchers used these descriptions and archaeological finds to recreate the rules of the game so that it can be played again today, along with several other ancient pastimes that have been made accessible to modern-day players.

The aim is to help integrate ancient games as cultural material in school and university programmes today, according to Dasen.

Knowing more about the educational and societal role of play in the past is important to understand the present and widen the debate about high-tech toys and new forms of sociability. Locus Ludi, whose funding is through the European Research Council, started in 2017 and runs through September this year.

Female authority

Unlike the ancient Romans and Greeks, women in Etruscan society had equal status to men. The Etruscans controlled central Italy before the region became part of the Roman empire. Many of their rituals were adopted by the Romans.

‘The Greeks were shocked by the status that Etruscan women had and described them as women of ill repute,’ said Dr Audrey Gouy, an archaeologist specialising in pre-Roman Italy at the University of Lille in France.

Scenes painted in underground tombs in Tarquinia not only show women and men dancing together as equals, they also depict the females as leaders in their community.

The dancers are performing an ancient funeral ritual. A woman playing castanets leads them. Bands of sacred cloth are draped over her arms – a symbol of her religious authority.

‘This woman controlled the ritual,’ said Gouy, who was the first person to study Etruscan dance.

The castanet player led people through the ritual’s different stages. She opened up a connection between the world of the living and the world of the dead, helping the deceased pass through.

Dance at a funeral also served people coping with grief, according to Gouy.

‘Dance has a psychological effect on the body that helps to heal after a death,’ she said.

Gouy studied textiles in Etruscan art as part of an EU-funded project called TEXDANCE, which ended in 2021, and published a book on the subject last year.

Costume signals

She said researching the dancers’ clothes in paintings and carvings reveals a lot about their movements and the sounds they made.

‘Through the clothes we can see the different phases of the dance,’ Gouy said.

The garments in the tombs show that the dancers move slowly at first, then spin and leap faster and faster. Gouy – herself a dancer – is planning to recreate these clothes and make a video of their movements to show how the ritual might have been performed.

In addition to clothes, male and female dancers wore bracelets and belts, which would have jangled as they moved.

The women’s accessories may have given light, high-pitched sounds. The men’s belts bore larger objects that may have sounded like a low-pitched rattle.

The possible differences of sound between young men and women in dance led Gouy to think that there may have been a sort of gender soundscape in Etruscan dance.

‘The Tarquinian tombs fascinate me because the Etruscans created an envelope of paintings around their dead to protect them for all eternity,’ she said. ‘They are full of representations of joy, of life, and they tell us so much about Etruscan society.’

Research in this article was funded via the EU’s European Research Council and the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA). The article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation Magazine. 

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New Social Compact

The Threat of Brain Drain: Causes, Implications, and Solutions

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The phenomenon of highly educated and skilled professionals moving from their home country to another country in search of better employment opportunities, living conditions, and other benefits is known as brain drain. This phenomenon presents several difficulties, including a sizable loss of human capital, a decline in the innovation and productivity of the source nation, and a potential imbalance in the distribution of talent globally.

Brain drain has become a major issue for many developing nations, as it results in the loss of talented people who could make significant contributions to the economic and social development of their home nations. Since a large number of highly skilled professionals have left Pakistan in search of better employment opportunities, the nation has struggled with a serious brain drain issue.

Causes of Brain Drain

The brain drain is caused by a number of factors. The absence of employment options in the country of origin is the main factor. It can be difficult for many highly qualified professionals to find employment that matches their education and experience, which causes them to look for opportunities elsewhere. Due to low pay and unfavorable working conditions in some countries, professionals may also struggle to support their families. Instability in politics, poor infrastructure, and limited access to technology can all be contributing factors.

The same is true for Pakistan, where one of the main reasons for the brain drain is a lack of economic opportunities. Many highly qualified professionals, such as doctors, engineers, and IT experts, are compelled to look for opportunities abroad because they cannot locate domestic jobs that match their skill sets. Similarly, long-standing political unrest in Pakistan has been characterized by frequent administration changes and a pattern of military takeovers.

Simultaneously, through their financial contributions, the diaspora communities—which include expatriates, overseas Pakistanis, and Pakistani Americans—have a significant impact on Pakistan’s economy. Whereas, doctors, engineers, scientists, and business owners are just a few of the highly qualified professionals living in the Pakistani diaspora. These professionals can help Pakistan develop by sharing their skills and knowledge because they have worked in developed nations where they have gained invaluable experience and knowledge.

Implications of Brain Drain

There are several detrimental effects of brain drain on developing nations. First, it leads to a shortage of highly skilled professionals, making it challenging to develop critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and technology. An additional effect is a decrease in investment in education and training. Secondly, governments invest a lot of money in professional development and education, and when these people leave the workforce, that investment is lost. Third, a reduction in innovation, research, and development may result from brain drain. It can also worsen economic inequality because most highly skilled and educated individuals can afford to emigrate.

Moreover, brain drain has serious repercussions for the country of origin. Highly skilled individuals frequently leave the country, resulting in a sizable loss of human capital that can harm the nation’s economic development. Sectors like healthcare, education, and research—which demand highly skilled personnel—feel the impact of this loss most acutely. Furthermore weakening the nation’s economy is the possibility of brain drain causing a general decline in productivity and innovation. Additionally, the exodus of talented people can make already-existing social and economic disparities worse by depriving the country’s marginalized communities of qualified professionals who can assist in meeting their needs.

Possible Solutions for Brain Drain

The issue of brain drain has been addressed with a number of solutions. In-country wage increases and better working conditions are two potential solutions. This may attract highly qualified professionals and persuade them to remain and support the growth of their nation. Making investments in vital industries like healthcare, education, and technology is an additional solution. Whereas, governments can foster an environment where professionals are more likely to stay and contribute to the growth of their nation by offering more employment opportunities and better infrastructure. A further way to entice professionals to stay in the country is by providing incentives like tax breaks and housing subsidies.

However, Pakistan must create a comprehensive strategy to address this issue that aims to retain its skilled workforce and draw in foreign investment. To provide training opportunities and help Pakistanis develop industry-specific skills, one potential solution is to form partnerships with foreign institutions. With this strategy, education, and training can be of higher quality, increasing the employability of Pakistan’s skilled labor force.

Pakistan should also concentrate on improving the environment in which companies can operate. The government should offer incentives to foreign investors to set up their businesses in Pakistan, which will create more job opportunities for the local workforce. To create a stable and conducive environment for businesses to operate, the government should prioritize investments in vital sectors like infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

Raising the standard of living in Pakistan is another way to draw and keep skilled workers. This can be done by funding social welfare programs, enhancing the standard of healthcare, and making sure that people live in a safe and secure environment. With this strategy, Pakistan’s citizens and the wider world may have a more favorable impression of the country.


The development of many developing nations is seriously threatened by brain drain. Some of the main reasons include a lack of job opportunities, low pay, unfavorable working conditions, poor infrastructure, limited access to technology, and political unrest. The detrimental effects of brain drain include a lack of highly skilled workers, a reduction in investments in education and training, a decline in innovation, research, and development, and a worsening of economic inequality.

However, there are potential solutions to these problems, such as enhancing working conditions and raising salaries, investing in important industries, and providing incentives like tax breaks and housing subsidies. Governments can improve the environment for professionals to stay and contribute to the growth of their nation by putting these solutions into practice, which will ultimately result in more economic and social advancement.

Last but not least, the loss of talent from Pakistan is a serious issue that hinders the development and growth of the economy in that nation. The main causes of this trend are the state of the global economy, unstable political conditions, and a weak educational system. By investing in education and training, fostering a more welcoming environment for businesses, and raising the general standard of living of its people, Pakistan can, however, position itself to attract and retain skilled workers in a fiercely competitive global marketplace.

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New Social Compact

Pakistan’s Support from Girls education and importance of women progress in Afghanistan

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Girls at school in Herat, Afghanistan. [file photo] © UNICEF/Sayed Bidel

Pakistan firmly believes that girls’ education is one of the cardinal rights of all human beings in Islam, and it is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Pakistan has a strong stance in support of Afghan women, particularly in ensuring their access to education, which is currently at risk due to the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021.

Islam places great importance on education, and the Holy Quran encourages both men and women to seek knowledge. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also emphasized the importance of education and made it obligatory for all Muslims, regardless of gender. Therefore, Pakistan strongly believes that denying girls’ education is a violation of the fundamental rights of human beings and goes against the teachings of Islam.

Pakistan’s support for girls’ education extends beyond its borders, particularly in Afghanistan. Following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021, Pakistan has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that Afghan girls have access to education. Pakistan has provided humanitarian aid to Afghan refugees, including education and health care services. Pakistan has also been a key player in the international community’s efforts to support Afghan women’s rights and education.

Pakistan has repeatedly called on the Taliban to respect women’s rights, particularly their right to education. Pakistan’s Prime Minister has stated that the Taliban must ensure that girls have access to education and that women can participate fully in Afghan society. Pakistan has also urged the international community to support Afghan women and girls, particularly in providing access to education and protecting their fundamental rights.

The participation of women in public and political life is critical for the future of Afghanistan. Afghan women have faced numerous challenges in accessing education, healthcare, and political participation, particularly under the Taliban’s previous regime. However, with the recent Taliban takeover of the country, the situation for Afghan women is even more precarious, and their participation in public and political life is in serious jeopardy.

The participation of women in public and political life is essential for a healthy and functioning democracy. It ensures that women’s voices are heard and their interests are represented in policymaking processes. Moreover, women’s participation in public life can lead to the development of policies that benefit both men and women, such as improving access to education and healthcare.

Despite the numerous challenges that Afghan women have faced in accessing education and participating in politics, they have made significant progress over the past two decades. Women have held important positions in government, including serving as ministers, members of parliament, and ambassadors. Women have also played a critical role in the peace process, advocating for the inclusion of women’s voices and interests in peace negotiations.

However, with the Taliban’s recent takeover of the country, the situation for Afghan women is uncertain. The Taliban have a history of denying women’s rights and imposing strict gender segregation and dress codes. The Taliban’s track record on women’s rights has raised concerns about the future of Afghan women’s participation in public and political life.

The international community must take concrete steps to support Afghan women’s participation in public and political life. This includes providing support for women’s education, healthcare, and economic empowerment, as well as advocating for women’s inclusion in peace negotiations and political decision-making processes. It is essential to ensure that Afghan women have access to safe and inclusive spaces to participate in public life and that their fundamental rights are protected.

Pakistan firmly believes that girls’ education is one of the cardinal rights of all human beings in Islam, and it is committed to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Pakistan’s stance in support of Afghan women and their right to education is a testament to its commitment to promoting human rights and dignity, particularly for women and girls.

The international community must work together with Pakistan to ensure that Afghan women have access to education and that their fundamental rights are protected. Only then can we build a more just and equitable society where all human beings can fulfill their potential and contribute to the betterment of the world. Afghan women have made significant progress over the past two decades, but their participation is now in serious jeopardy. The international community must take concrete steps to support Afghan women and ensure that their fundamental rights are protected, including their right to participate in public and political life. It is only through the full inclusion and participation of women that Afghanistan can build a just and equitable society and secure a peaceful and prosperous future.

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