City officials said that remains from the 1985 bombing, which were believed to have been cremated without the family’s permission, had apparently been saved in a box in storage.
The revelation that unidentified remains from at least one of the victims of a 1985 police bombing had been discarded without regard to the family’s wishes touched off fresh waves of pain and anger.
Infections, deaths and breakdowns that began in big cities a few weeks ago are rapidly advancing into rural areas, unleashing deep fear in places with little medical safety net.
Mourners in protective gear, or watching from home. Long waits at the cremation grounds. The trauma of loss has become both lonely and public.
Graphic images of mass cremations cut through the Indian government’s wall of noise, misinformation and propaganda about its handling of the Covid-19 crisis.
Fatalities have been overlooked or downplayed, understating the human toll of the country’s outbreak, which accounts for nearly half of all new cases in a global surge.
I lived without the societal pressures that would have existed for me in India. But when my father died, my sense of duty was profound.
A cremation pit recently unearthed at Beisamoun, just north of the Sea of Galilee, contained the burned remains of a person who died sometime between 7013 and 6700 BCE (according to radiocarbon dating). The person’s name and story are lost to us, but their remains are evidence of a drastic change not only in how people lived but in what they believed about life and death.
A time of change
The cremation dates to a time of social and cultural change in the region around what is now northern Israel. Around 7000 BCE, people abandoned many of the larger settlements in the region; the archaeological record shows homes and villages falling into disuse and disrepair. Until that time, people in villages like Beisamoun had often buried their dead in the floors of their homes. People evidently wanted to keep their ancestors and relatives close to the center of family life. At Beisamoun, people stuck around, but they started building in a lighter construction style and stopped burying dead relatives under the floor. It marked the end of a period that archaeologists working in the Levant call the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, which is precise but not terribly catchy.
It’s no coincidence that the oldest evidence of cremation in the Near East dates from this same time of cultural and social change. “The way you handle the dead is directly connected to beliefs,” Fanny Bocquentin, an archaeologist at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), told Ars.
The writer’s ashes may be disinterred when the N.A.A.C.P. moves its headquarters to Washington from Baltimore. But where should they go?
More than 250 Mexican immigrants have died from the virus in the New York area. Many of them longed to be buried in their birthplace.