Domingo, 15 de julio de 2012

«She was my mother’s best friend,» the middle-aged woman told me over a cup of coffee in a trendy cafe overlooking the Bosphorus. «She died bleeding in a back alley because back then abortion was illegal. Every Ramadan my mother would pray for her soul and ask us children to do the same.»

Because abortion was only legalised in Turkey in 1983, there are many women who are old enough to have memories of the preceding period – and they have rather dark stories to tell today. The problem is, very few of these women are in parliament. Politics, both at the local and national level, remains a male-dominated arena.…  Seguir leyendo »

Eighteen years ago, on July 18, 1994, Hezbollah carried out an attack against the Argentine Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. But Hezbollah was not acting alone. It is now clear that the highest ranks of the Iranian regime masterminded this attack in the Western Hemisphere.

In the years since the attack, the state prosecutor of Argentina has concluded that the AMIA attack was approved in advance by Iran’s Ayatollah, Iran’s then-Foreign Minister, and Iran’s then-Minister of Security and Intelligence. In November 2006, an Argentine judge issued arrest warrants for eight Iranian officials and one Lebanese Hezbollah operative. The following year, INTERPOL unanimously supported the issuance of what they term “red notices” for six of those wanted by Argentina, allowing arrest warrants for these individuals to be circulated worldwide with an eye to their arrest and extradition.…  Seguir leyendo »

My daughter was 2 days old, and dropping weight. I had been trying to feed her, but for some reason she wasn’t yet getting the liquid gold of colostrum, the earliest mother’s milk. When the hospital’s doctor paid his daily visit and mentioned her weight, my husband asked whether we should supplement with formula, gesturing at the little Similac bottles of hospital swag with the desperation of a business traveler eyeing vodka in the minibar — and with much of the same shame. The pediatrician swiftly confirmed our fears, intoning, “Formula is evil.” He was implying we were quasi-negligent for even considering it.…  Seguir leyendo »

All the major religions place great importance on compassion. Whether it’s the parable of the good Samaritan in Christianity, Judaism’s “13 attributes of compassion” or the Buddha’s statement that “loving kindness and compassion is all of our practice,” empathy with the suffering of others is seen as a special virtue that has the power to change the world. This idea is often articulated by the Dalai Lama, who argues that individual experiences of compassion radiate outward and increase harmony for all.

As a social psychologist interested in the emotions, I long wondered whether this spiritual understanding of compassion was also scientifically accurate.…  Seguir leyendo »