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Japan

Japan Mourns Sudden Death Of Baby Panda Who'd Cheered Up Nation

NHK, ASAHI SHIMBUN (Japan)

Worldcrunch

TOKYO - Japan is in an unofficial, though undeniable, national state of mourning after the death of a newborn giant panda cub on Wednesday.

National television broadcaster NHK interrupted scheduled programming to announce the baby panda had been found dead by officials at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo.

The cub was placed in an incubator after being found lying on its back on its mother's stomach, but was later pronounced dead at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to the Asahi Shimbun daily.

Officials said the cub may have contracted pneumonia after the mother's milk got into its lungs.

Barely a week old, it was the first giant panda cub born in captivity in Japan for more than 24 years and had created enormous excitement in the country with regular news bulletins on the little bear's progress.

The head of Ueno zoo, on the verge of tears during a televised press conference, announced there will be a space for people to lay flowers and pray for the un-named panda cub.

The cub was also a symbol of diplomacy between Japan and China. The cub's parents, Shin Shin and Ri Ri (or Zhen Zhen and Li Li in Chinese) arrived from China last year at a cost of $1 million, and had provided some welcome good news after the devastating earthquake in 2011.

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Ideas

The Colonial Spirit And "Soft Racism" Of White Savior Syndrome

Tracing back to Christian colonialism, which was supposed to somehow "civilize" and save the souls of native people, White Savior Syndrome lives on in modern times: from Mother Teresa to Princess Diana and the current First Lady of Colombia, VerĂłnica Alcocer.

photo of a child patient holding hand of an adult

Good intentions are part of the formula

Ton Koene / Vwpics/ZUMA
Sher Herrera

-Analysis-

CARTAGENA — The White Savior Syndrome is a social practice that exploits or economically, politically, symbolically takes advantage of individuals or communities they've racialized, perceiving them as in need of being saved and thus forever indebted and grateful to the white savior.

Although this racist phenomenon has gained more visibility and sparked public debate with the rise of social media, it is actually as old as European colonization itself. It's important to remember that one of Europe's main justifications for subjugating, pillaging and enslaving African and American territories was to bring "civilization and save their souls" through "missions."

Even today, many white supremacists hold onto these ideas. In other words, they believe that we still owe them something.

This white savior phenomenon is a legacy of Christian colonialism, and among its notable figures, we can highlight Saint Peter Claver, known as "the slave of the slaves," Bartolomé de Las Casas, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Princess Diana herself, and even the First Lady of Colombia, Verónica Alcocer.

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