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 governments, and individuals affected by leprosy,...

What is going on in this picture?

Can you make sense of this picture? It is April Fool’s Day, but the above image is taken naturally, and has had no computer-generated alteration…

Three questions:

What about the pool? It looks like this artist worked with a sculpted pool. Perhaps he created it, or perhaps he worked with something already there… Yet water...

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...

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 the wall of the animal...

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...

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...

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...

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....

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...

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...

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...

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

– Mother Teresa