An Irish Man Interprets the World

A Petition to Change the World…

The WHO and the promise to eliminate leprosy…

In May 1991, the member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA), the governing body of the WHO (World Health Organisation), promised to ‘eliminate leprosy as a public health problem’ by the year 2000. The 1991 resolution was, in effect, a promise by WHO to the United Nations, national...

The Pain of Painlessness

Imagine having a condition which meant you are unable to feel pain. It sounds blissful.

Yet, for Steven and his brother, this was far from the case.[1] When he was 4-5 months old, he began chewing on his tongue as he was teething, unable to sense the pain this would usually cause. Once his condition, congenital analgesia, had been diagnosed,...

If Jesus had an iPhone on Palm Sunday…

What would the Social Media universe have looked like if the people watching Jesus riding into Jerusalem were busy on their phones? Well, if anyone ever goes back in a time machine and gives Jesus’ disciples iPhones, maybe these sort of things are what you would see…

 

It all started when Jesus, en route to Jerusalem, tweeted two disciples an odd...

One child dies every minute: 10 incredible facts about water…

On one side of the world:

8 billion people, around 1 in 6 people, drinks water contaminated with faeces.[1]

 

More people have access to mobile phones than working toilets. Only a third of the population of India has access to adequate sanitation.[2]

 

In 76% of households, women and children bear the primary responsibility of...

GDP vs. Gross Domestic Happiness?

When did you last see a headline celebrating a growth in GDP as a major success for a country? A falling GDP is part of what it means to be in ‘recession’ – that dreaded word that has haunted Western economies for the past few years. If a recession is severe enough (if GDP falls more than 10%), it becomes labelled the even more ominous term, ‘depression’. This brings back...

Why does an extra X chromosome make such a difference?

Sunday was International Women’s Day.  It adopted the strapline “Make it Happen”. It’s a clear statement that enough talking has been done – it’s time to ensure gender equality.   What is gender? When we’re born, whether we are male or female depends on whether we end up possessing a slightly different...

6 reasons why Climate Change is an urgent Human Rights issue…

Climate Change. What comes to mind? Protesters tying banners on factory chimneys? Radical environmentalists? Al Gore? When one sees the issues of the world, from child soldiers to mass oppression to even genocide, why do we need to worry about whether the summer is going to be a little hotter next year?

Climate change is often...

Hinamatsuri Stand

Happy Hina-matsuri!

Yesterday was Hina-matsuri, otherwise known as “the Doll’s Festival”, in Japan. Families construct seven-tiered stands onto which they place Hina-ningyo: dolls made especially for the festival. They carefully arrange figurines representing the old Emperor and Empress and the imperial household. The...

The Polar Bear: Key to saving the world?

Maybe you missed it on Friday, but it was International Polar Bear Day.

What does the Polar Bear make you think of? Cute, fluffy animals? A landscape of snow, glistening in the sun in a frozen utopia? Nostalgic Christmas cards? For some, the humble creature, which lives in the Arctic region, has become a symbol of world...

Ash Wednesday – The “Bright Sorrow”

For some it’s little more than a curiosity following Pancake day. For others it’s a time of deep searching and resolution.

Yesterday, Ash Wednesday marked the first day of Lent, a period commemorating the time spent by Jesus in reflection wandering through the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Traditionally, Lent is remembered with fasting. After...

Happy Pie Day! Why pies have saved lives…

Today is National Pie Day in the USA. It’s not to be confused with the number Pi, or the film the Life of Pi, which focusses more on being stuck in a lifeboat with a tiger! It’s genuinely a day celebrating the symbolic, economic, and tasty qualities of pie! It’s sponsored by the American Pie Council (such an organisation does exist!), which seeks...

Can politics really bring about change? The story of Barbados…

Today is Errol Barrow’s birthday. It’s a public holiday in Barbados. It’s a reminder that effective political change can come without violence, terrorism or war. It’s also a reminder that political inertia and bureaucracy can be overcome. It’s a reminder that, used properly and effectively, democracy works.

Born in Barbados in 1920, Errol Barrow saw more than his fair...

Happy Old New Year…

Today would have been the date St Patrick, Jonathan Swift and William Shakespeare celebrated as New Year’s Day. You and I might say it’s the 14th January, but according to the Julian calendar, today is 1st January.

For some Orthodox Christian communities, yesterday was still 2014, and today begins 2015. the Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 46...

Children of Cape Town

Celebrating Kaapse Klopse…

On 2nd January every year, the streets of Cape Town, South Africa, are filled with ecstatic crowds. It’s the Kaapse Klopse (‘Cape Clubs’) carnival, a time of joyful music, bright costumes, and unified community.

Kaapse Klopse has its roots in the regrettable days of slavery. Until the 1830s, slavery was common in South African society. Like...

“The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody.”

– Mother Teresa