The Free Speech of Prisoners

Incarcerated people are usually American citizens—with the exception of the many immigrants detained for lack of visas or other papers—and as American citizens one would expect that they would be subject to the provisions of the Bill of Rights which includes freedom of speech. But that may not necessarily be so. The issue came up when a weekly debate club in Statesville Correctional Center in Crest Hills, Illinois, was suspended without explanation. They had been debating the pros and cons of Continue reading “The Free Speech of Prisoners”

On Selling Kidneys

Shashank Bengali is the Los Angeles Times South Indian correspondent.  Some time ago he had written a story about a hospital in Mumbai that was busted because it was doing illegal kidney transplants, which he says was a sort of cautionary tale because a young man has been lured to sell a kidney. Months later Bengali received an email. Someone thought he was in the business of selling kidneys. He did not pay Continue reading “On Selling Kidneys”

The Women of Artsakh

Since 1988 and to the present day there has been a war in Nagorno-Karabah, a disputed territory in the southern Caucasus Mountains. Although internationally Nagorno-Karabah is recognized to belong to Azerbaijan, Armenia also claims it because of ethnic ties and because it is an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan territory. The resulting war has deprived the little country which now calls itself Artsakh, of men. While it is a very patriarchal society women have had to step in government, courts, universities all the while being mothers and whatever roles they have had to take on. The result shows what women can do and it is sufficiently impressive Der Spiegel ran an article about them. The women did not ask for this, they are not feminists and do not talk about gender parity. They stepped in because there was a Continue reading “The Women of Artsakh”

68.5 Million Refugees

Being an immigrant is very difficult. I know from experience what it’s like to leave everything you know and have behind and go towards an unknown. And in our case we didn’t have to pay smugglers, we didn’t have to walk across borders, we had passports, visa, purchased our own plane fares and weren’t fleeing war. So when I read that the number of refugees and displaced persons from wars and persecutions has reached 68.5 million, I shudder. These are 68.5 million lives which have been Continue reading “68.5 Million Refugees”