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TOPIC: society

Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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Freedom Or Insanity? In The Eye Of The Beholder

Two patients walk with our Naples-based psychiatrist on that fine line between freedom and insanity.

"Dottoré, you are free, you know no limits!"

That is what two patients told me, as we were having breakfast together at a café.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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Poland's "Family Values" Obsession Squashes The Rights Of The Individual

Poland's political parties across the spectrum prioritize the family in every area of life, which has a detrimental effect on everything from social services to women. But the state should support a dignified life for every citizen, not just those who are in long-term unions.

-OpEd-

WARSAW — Social policy in Poland means family. Both left and right, major parties boast that they support the idea of family, act in the favor of families, and make sure that families are safe.

Everyone seems to have forgotten that, according to Article 32 of the Polish Constitution, "everyone is equal before the law" and "everyone has the right to equal treatment by public authorities."

What's more, "no one shall be discriminated against in political, social or economic life for any reason." In other words, the state should take care of all citizens, regardless of whether they live alone or are part of large families, have childless marriages or informal unions.

Unfortunately, for many years, Polish state policy has been moving in a completely different direction. The subject of government social policy is not the individual, but the traditional family. Even sadder: this policy is also supported by the entire parliamentary opposition. This actually means supporting Christian Democrat social policies that discriminate against women, single people, or those living in informal relationships.

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Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

Crazy Traffic: An Impatient Patient's Self-Diagnosis

"And then they say that there's no crisis?"

“Dottoré, at 8 in the morning people go to work, to school, and it's normal that there's traffic.

But at 10 for example, why is everything blocked? Or at 5 pm, at 2 am? All the time!

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Society
Sara R. Gallardo

Facing Down The "Violence Stigma" Of Mental Health Illness

Sensationalist TV coverage and even experts still often link mental health struggles and violent crimes, even though people with mental health difficulties commit fewer crimes comparatively. It's time to end the stigma.

People like me who have mental health disorders suffer more violence than we inflict on others, yet we continue to carry the stigma of being unpredictable and aggressive individuals.

In the "events" section of a morning TV program I saw, for example, there was some news with sensationalist overtones. The first was about a son who had killed his father and the second was about an individual who had beaten another and left him in a coma.

The journalistic decisions in the presentation and commentary of both events were as follows: in the first case, the alleged perpetrator must necessarily have "mental disorders" to justify his conduct. But in the second case, it was not "necessary" to jump to that conclusion because the information focused on the bad reputation of the alleged aggressor, nicknamed "The Nazi".

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Ideas
Bekir Ağırdır

Election Year In Turkey: End Of An Era For Erdoğan?

Turkey heads to the polls in June in elections that decide the country's future direction. It is a referendum on President Erdoğan, but also a challenge for the divided opposition. Much is at stake in a country roiled by multiple crises and declining trust in its leaders.

-Analysis-

ISTANBUL — Both the world and Turkey are struggling with crises. Global clashes of politics, economics and cultures are reflected in every aspect of our lives. As humanity attempts to move from an industrialized to information society, a series of crises of climate change, food and energy shortages, and regional and global migration undermine our very foundations.

Turkey is facing these multiple crises with its old institutions and rules. It has not yet had the transformations of mentality in terms of education, law, secularist state and gender equality that are the requirements of the industrial age. What’s more, Turkey has to handle the uncertainty and chaos of this tangle of crises with politicians who are unable to overcome their mindsets of political polarization and identity politics.

While the pandemic and the following economic crisis have started to silence the identity politics and given a louder voice to the issues of class tension, injustice and poverty, politicians once again drag us towards identity and polarization.

The opposition parties in Turkey cannot find time to compete with the government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who has held power since 2014, as they are busy fighting among themselves. People are trying to get rid of the heavy chains of polarization and identities, but politics is putting them back in chains.

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Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

On The Couch And On The Lam

Our Dottoré looks back on an entertaining session with a witty runaway convict.

- Do you have a job?

- No. I am incarcerated.

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Society
Aline Suárez del Real Islas and Mar García

In Mexico, Influencers Make Castoff Clothing Cool

Young consumers around the world increasingly seek out secondhand and alternative clothing markets — making Mexico City’s flea markets, or tianguis, suddenly and surprisingly popular.

MEXICO CITY — The shouts of vendors mingle at the hodgepodge of stalls selling food, fruit and household items at the tianguis Las Torres, a flea market in eastern Mexico City. Beneath the tents, heaps of clothing are mounded on containers, planks and tubes. People examine garment after garment, holding them up to judge their size and draping their choices over their forearms and shoulders. The vendors watch from above, yelling prices and watching for occasional theft.

Bale clothing, or secondhand clothes, often called “ropa americana” (American clothing) here, is widely available at stalls in the open-air markets, or tianguis, of Mexico City and the State of Mexico. These garments, often illegally smuggled from the United States, used to be an affordable apparel option for Mexican families.

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Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

A Christmas Invitation Lost In Translation

Trasite!

La signora Ernestina is a lovely old lady who lives in a basso near my house. Just outside that tiny street-level studio, she keeps a small altar with the photos of her deceased loved ones, and of those of almost all the neighborhood. When Christmas comes, she adorns it with a thousand lights, baubles and ornaments — enough to compete with any Chinese wholesaler.

The effect is quite picturesque, and in fact yesterday a couple of tourists were standing outside her house to admire the lights.

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Society
Jehangir Ali

Deadly Virus Shakes Indian Village's Faith In Traditional Healers

An outbreak of Hepatitis-A led to the deaths of two children in an isolated village in Kashmir. Some point fingers at the lack of surveillance by trained doctors and poor sanitation, and others, to the faith villagers place in traditional healers.

TURKA TACHLOO Eight-year-old Afaan Altaf first lost his appetite. Then the child’s face and eyes started to pale. Within two days, he began to vomit.

The Altafs live in Turka Tachloo, a village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam district and were worried about Afaan. In early December, Afaan’s father Mohammad Altaf, a farmer, decided to visit the Maternity and Child Care hospital in the nearby town of Anantnag.

Official records show that Afaan had tested positive for Hepatitis-A on December 3 following an outbreak of the viral infection in Turka Tachloo. The village, located 54 kilometres from Srinagar, the largest city of Jammu and Kashmir, comprises about 240 households, most of which are poor and depend on agriculture.

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Dottoré!
Mariateresa Fichele

No Kindness Under The Christmas Tree

T'is the season for depression ...

"Gennaro, I can't believe it! You always fall into this state of depression around Christmas. There has to be a nice memory that makes you happy again. Think, for example, of back when you were a child. The presents. The whole family gathered together. Tell me, what do you see?"

"I see monsters!"

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