elfinblaze: (Harry Potter Hermione)
Exporting trauma: can the talking cure do more harm than good?

When disaster strikes aid agencies are increasingly focusing on mental health as well as food and shelter. But without cultural understanding, pushing western treatment can do damage. Cue the rise of the humanitarian anthropologist ...

A few years ago Andrew Solomon had to get into a wedding bed with a ram. An entire village, taking a day off from farming, danced around the unlikely couple to a pounding drumbeat, draping them both in cloth until Solomon began to think he was going to faint. At this point the ram was slaughtered along with two cockerels, and Solomon’s naked body was drenched in the animals’ blood, before being washed clean by the village women spitting water onto him.

Solomon had been taking part in a traditional Senegalese ceremony to exorcise depression as research for his book The Noonday Demon. “I discovered that depression exists universally, but the ways that it’s understood, treated, conceptualised or even experienced can vary a great deal from culture to culture,” he says now. He describes being the subject of the ceremony as “one of the most fascinating experiences of my life”.

Read more... )

Just saving this article here, because I've just recently been wondering about non-Western, non-biomedical treatments for mental health, because it's exactly in the psychological departments where our health care knowledge is the most limited. This whole topic almost makes me want to use my anthropology degree to do some research, but I feel like I need to bolster the medical side of my knowledge first...
elfinblaze: (Glee)
Things are happening at both state and federal levels at the moment. Yesterday, in Sydney, religious leaders met at an enquiry into legislating marriage equality. And when I say religious leaders, that includes Buddhist and Sikh representatives, groups that often get overlooked and/or ignored. This is the Herald report:

Gay marriage question thrashed out with crucifix, turban and robes )

What I find especially interesting about the discussion in Australia is that it's mostly "all or nothing" these days. The call for civil unions/partnerships has faded almost completely. People want marriage equality or nothing, no half-way measures.

It's pretty inspiring actually.
elfinblaze: (Glee)
Big news for the day: UN Human Rights Council passes gay rights resolution.

On the final day of the United Nation Human Rights Council's latest 18-day session, a resolution was passed that seeks to combat acts of violence and discrimination around the world based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.

The resolution calls for a worldwide study to be conducted into discriminatory laws and practices based on sexual preferences and to look at how human rights law could be put to use to end related violence and human rights violations.

Read the rest of the article, unless you're a nerd like me and want to read the source at the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights website instead: Council establishes mandate on Côte d'Ivoire, adopts protocol to child rights treaty, requests study on discrimination and sexual orientation.

Ok, so it's a resolution, not a declaration, but it's an opening for discussion. And you can bet that activists will rely on it in lobbying for more rights.

Up until now, the UN has been very reluctant to even consider the rights of the rainbow community, mostly because of resistance from the US, China, and Russia combined. So as it stood before today, there was not a single mention of this community in international law. Not even a mention! That's why I walked out of my Human Rights and International Law classes at university depressed, feeling like I didn't even exist. Because according to the UN, I didn't. This is a start.

So even though you are hardly a haven yourself, thank you South Africa for tabling the resolution. Thank you to all the countries that supported it, and thank you to both of my home countries, Germany and Australia, for co-sponsoring the draft resolution.

[EDIT: Autostraddle explains it well, the significance and what it means. And I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets that, "oh, hey, I'm considered human now, am I?" feeling.]

Full text from the relevant part of the UN news account copied and pasted under cut )

Link Dump

Aug. 29th, 2010 03:01 pm
elfinblaze: (Default)
The Sad:

Still no government.

But if you've ever wondered what sorts of things people scribble on their ballot papers there's this:

Along with the pictures of penises, the votes for Albus Dumbledore and Adolph Hitler, and various misguided attempts to spell the word "Donkey", ballot papers for last week's federal election were, in their thousands, blank...

"In the past there would certainly be your pile of informals - squiggles, drawings, penises, pictures of people in fishing boats saying 'I'd rather be fishin',' but this time there was blank after blank after blank."

The Happy:

Got more books yesterday. You can all shut up; it makes me happy anyway. Including one great big black book called the Necronomicon, containing a couple dozen H. P. Lovecraft stories. Speaking of which...

The Creepy:

Infamous Cases of Real Life Possession in the Modern Age. Just in case you don't feel like getting any sleep tonight.

The Funny:

What is the best comment in source code you have ever encountered?

The Pretty:

Pictures of men reading
Pictures of women reading
elfinblaze: (Default)
Because we can all do with some good news once in a while, and because truth really is stranger than fiction:

A student was mugged in an alley in Sydney, but the attackers were chased off by ninjas.

article under the cut )
elfinblaze: (Default)
Who saw this in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday?

Sexless in the city: a gender revolution
March 12, 2010

THIS Mardi Gras, Norrie received a gift that no other androgynous person in NSW has had before.

The night before the parade, the postman brought a certificate from the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages that contained neither the dreaded "M" nor its equally despised cousin, "F".

Instead, it said "sex not specified", making the 48-year-old Sydneysider, who identifies as neuter and uses only a first name, the first in the state to be neither man nor woman in the eyes of the NSW government.

Read more... )

How awesome!
elfinblaze: (Default)
Saving this, because it's funny. And because it's SO true: this is exactly what it was like yesterday and the kind of jokes going around.

The day the country blew into town
September 24, 2009

IT WILL be remembered as the day Blue Cow turned red, Green Valley turned orange, White Bay turned pink, and Greystanes … well, even Greystanes turned a lighter shade of grey.

It will be remembered as an extraordinary end-of-the-world sort of day when the bush came to Sydney - just like for the Easter Show, except this time it brought along a thank-you present. An estimated 4000 tonnes of topsoil.

A woman from Dulwich Hill rang the ABC to say she could see Armageddon through her kitchen skylight. A farmer reported mud falling on Tamworth. A Balmoral man went missing crossing the Esplanade.

Read more... )
elfinblaze: (Default)
Saving this because I'm fascinated by ideas of the Australian landscape, and not just the physical landscape.

A country of lost children

August 15, 2009

The suggestion that Madeleine McCann might have been kidnapped and taken to Australia has Malcolm Knox wondering whether it's bound up in the anxiety and intrigue the bush has long held for Europe.

Read more... )
elfinblaze: (Default)
This was Monday's "Heckler" and I was so amused I had to save it.

Watch out or I'll cut you off

Pete Malicki
July 6, 2009

EVERYONE'S always banging on about road rage. One idiot cuts off another idiot and before you know it they're playing fisticuffs in the middle of the Pacific Highway.

If, like me, you don't drive a car, you might suffer the blight of walk rage.

Read more... )
elfinblaze: (NCIS Abby/Ziva)
Woohoo! Good news for the day:

Indian gays' long fight ends as court overturns ban

Matt Wade Herald Correspondent in New Delhi
July 3, 2009

INDIAN laws banning gay sex have been overturned in a landmark judgment in New Delhi.

The 150-year-old section 377 of the penal code, introduced when Britain ruled the subcontinent, described gay sex as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" and imposed a 10-year jail term on offenders.

However, the High Court yesterday declared the laws were a violation of "fundamental rights" and unconstitutional.

Read more... )

I need to read more happy news every morning.
elfinblaze: (NCIS Abby/Ziva)
Quote that jumped out at me today:

"It's a fact of life that many same-sex couples already happily live in the suburbs behind pink picket fences. Invalidating their choice to integrate into mainstream society by denying them the right to marry is a form of cultural abuse that's just as contemptible when it comes from the ideological left as it is when it comes from the righteous right."

"Despite all the 'baggage' marriage has, despite all the pressure some partners are under to wed, there are many partners who choose to marry, even though they know their union only has a 50% chance of lasting. Why do they do this? They do it because marriage is a symbol of hope, faith and confidence in the future. Marriage says the happiness that comes from a romantic bond can last and grow, and if it fails, can come again. Marriage is inherently optimistic. And even if that optimism is too often naive or betrayed it still somehow keeps on inspiring us, generation after generation. In a world of crisis, insecurity and despair, younger heterosexual people are returning to marriage, I would suggest, for its optimism. Denying same-sex partners a chance to share in this is one of the cruellest aspects of marriage discrimination."

[From Rodney Croome.]


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