An Irish Man Interprets the World

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,...

Our Society, built on Slavery and Racism

On Sunday, 28th October 1787, an English politician wrote in his diary, “God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the slave trade and the Reformation of society.” This man was William Wilberforce, who committed himself to fighting against an institution that had been integral to European economies for centuries.

Racism for profit

As Europeans...

What does a Day of Happiness look like for Indrakhala?

This is Indrakhala. She lives in the beautiful country of Nepal. She has her home next to the mud homes of her extended family.[1]

Yet the key word here is ‘next to’.  In this photo she gently smiles, but, in reality, her life is far from beautiful. Years ago, she was forced to stay in a shelter made out of mud and bamboo leaning on...

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...

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 using up food supplies on the...

What is justice? The Galapagos oil spill…

Let me pose an unusual question: What do cats, avocados and oil tankers have in common? Answer: All three have become threats to the unique environment of the Galápagos Islands, part of Ecuador, located in the Pacific Ocean. Made famous by the work of Charles Darwin, they are home to unique species of penguin, marine iguana and giant tortoise, as well as 25,000 people. The...

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...

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 us, the slaves...

No longer defined by disability?

No longer defined by disability?

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The precise title of the day is important. It represents a progressive move in language and understanding: no person is fundamentally ‘disabled’. There are, more correctly, ‘persons with disabilities”. There are many things I can’t do. To start that list, let’s just say any sport that requires hand-eye...

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

– Mother Teresa