Turkmenistan and Freedom of Conscience

Guest Blog By Jeremy Reynalds, Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

Visit their web site at: www.assistnews.net

Turkmenistan has jailed two more prisoners of conscience. Protestant Pastor Ilmurad Nurliev has been given a four-year prison term on charges of swindling. The sentence was handed down on Oct. 21.

Turkmenistan is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (Turkmen SSR). Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states. It is bordered by Afghanistan to the southeast, Iran to the south and southwest, Uzbekistan to the east and northeast, Kazakhstan to the north and northwest and the Caspian Sea to the west.

A story by Felix Corley for Forum 18 News Service reported that the pastor’s wife and church members insist the charges have been fabricated to punish him for his religious activity. Judge Agajan Akjaev of Mary Town Court in south-eastern Turkmenistan ruled that Nurliev will serve his sentence in the general regime labor camp in Seydi.This was confirmed by his wife and lawyer from the south-eastern town of Mary.

“The court also ruled that Ilmurad is a drug addict and ordered forced treatment for this in prison,” Maya Nurlieva told Forum 18 News Service. “This is unjust and a slander.”

In reality, Forum 18 said, Nurliev is being treated for diabetes, and his wife has been denied the opportunity to see him or give him his medication since his Aug. arrest.

In mid-September Ahmet Hudaybergenov, a Jehovah’s Witness who conscientiously objects to compulsory military service, was sentenced to 18 months.

Both Nurliev and Hudaybergenov are likely to be sent to Seydi labor camp, where Baptist and Jehovah’s Witness prisoners of conscience have previously been held. There have been indications that some of these prisoners were tortured in the camp with psychotropic (mind-altering) drugs.. Continue reading Turkmenistan and Freedom of Conscience

Coping with and Resistance to Change

People have to learn to live with change, changes that take place slowly, like growing older, but sometimes changes that take place suddenly, such as the death of a family member, a serious accident, or the sudden loss of a job. Let’s look at this subject with cutbacks, economic uncertainties and debt control in mind.

Psychologists  suggest that individuals differ in the degree they enthuse about change: there are innovators, who will be proactive during the change process, and adopters, who readily accept change, but the majority, who need some persuasion, are ‘laggards’ who remain skeptical of change, and ‘rejecters’ who openly oppose change.

'I'm allright Jack' starring Peter Sellers

The decline in British manufacturing has been seen as an example of this type of thinking. In the workplace, it is up to supervisors, as ‘change agents’ to ensure influence from laggards and rejecters is diffused. Change agents of course, can be managers, union representatives, teachers, nurses or politicians..

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps [DVD]

Rating: ★★★★★

Twenty three years have passed since the original Wall Street introduced Gordon Gekko, the insider trader who insisted ‘Greed is good’ and ‘Lunch is for wimps’, and eventually receives a jail sentence. The film stood up on its own, almost defining a whole ‘Yuppie’ generation, so why bring out a sequel now? 

My suspicions are that a sequel will do no harm to the careers of Michael Douglas (Gordon Gekko) or director Oliver Stone, and despite the long shadow of the parent film, ‘Money never sleeps’ is a worthy enough sequel to likewise stand alone.

Less obvious perhaps, but a serious message is also illustrated here. The current global financial crisis represents a perfect opportunity to explore the human element behind what is happening. Oliver Stone is saying that not only did we fail to learn the lessons of the stock market crash following October 19th 1987, but with an avalanche of toxic debt, economic stagnation, and the prospect of long term recession, the worst could be yet to come.. Continue reading Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

Pride and the sense of self

All too often, men see themselves as the centre of the universe. ‘Pride comes before a fall’ says the proverb, but why is it so harmful, and should we try to eliminate it? One definition of pride comes from Augustine: “The love of one’s own excellence”. In this sense, the opposite of pride is humility. Pride is sometimes viewed as healthy or as a virtue, but in the present context, it is a vice, an excessively high opinion of oneself, haughtiness, spiteful, or disdainful conduct or the arrogant treatment of others.

Since we all make mistakes, why does it seem so difficult to admit making a mistake? For one thing, we may be trying so hard not to make a certain mistake that when we do, we dislike admitting it even to ourselves. Who does not make mistakes? No human is infallible. Old and young, rich and poor, men and women, one and all are imperfect, and so make mistakes.

Doubtless in many cases the reason is pride. Admitting a mistake reflects on things we may take pride in, such as our knowledge, our skill or our carefulness. We want to have a good appearance in the eyes of others.

Without doubt a very telling reason why it is difficult at times to admit making a mistake is the blame, censure or punishment that may come because of having made a mistake, as when one causes a serious accident. Because of the shame that goes with making a mistake the tendency is to pin the blame on others. But if we can recognize why friends, family, acquaintances, or individuals we read about acted unwisely, it can help us to avoid the same pitfall.

In the Bible book of Daniel is an account of the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. Addressing him, Daniel said: “O king, because you have grown great and become strong, and your grandeur has grown great and reached to the heavens, and your rulership to the extremity of the earth..let the heart of a beast be given to you, vegetation they will give to you, to eat grass just like bulls..”

Continue reading Pride and the sense of self

Outlines of English and American Literature : An Introduction (1909)

WHAT IS LITERATURE? by William J. Long

“In an old English book, written before Columbus dreamed of a westward journey to find the East, is the story of a traveller who set out to search the world for wisdom. Through Palestine and India he passed, traveling by sea or land through many seasons, until he came to a wonderful island where he saw a man ploughing in the fields. And the wonder was, that the man was calling familiar words to his oxen, “such wordes as men speken to bestes in his owne lond.” Startled by the sound of his mother tongue he turned back on his course “in gret mervayle, for he knewe not how it myghte be.” But if he had passed on a little, says the old record, “he would have founden his contree and his owne knouleche..”

Continue reading Outlines of English and American Literature : An Introduction (1909)

William J Long 1866- 1952

William Joseph Long was an American writer, naturalist and minister. He lived and worked in Stamford, Connecticut.

Samuel Clemens

As a naturalist, he would leave Stamford every March, often with his two daughters Lois and Cesca, to travel to ‘the wilderness’ of Maine. William Long believed that the best way to experience the wild was to plant yourself and sit for hours on end to let the wild creatures “come to you; and they will!”

They would stay in the wilderness until the first snows of October, although sometimes he would stay all winter. In the 1920s, he began spending his summers in Nova Scotia, claiming “the wilderness is getting too crowded”.

He shared many of the same ideas of ‘wilderness America’ conserving and revitalizing the human spirit, as John Burroughs, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, and Henry David Thoreau, although as independent minded men, they were somewhat critical of each other.

He wrote of these wilderness experiences in the books Ways of Wood Folk (1899), Wilderness Ways (1900), Wood Folk at School (1903), Northern Trails (1905), Wood-folk Comedies (1920), and many others. His style was homely, individualistic, and compassionate, but perhaps lacking realism. Many of his early books were issued in school editions under the title of The Wood Folk Series.

He had a keen interest in the development of English and American Literature. Outlines of English and American Literature : An Introduction.. published in 1909, is written in such a charming style, I will devote the following Post to present its introductory material. It is freely available on the Internet.

Because of the increased interest in the natural world as a reaction to industrialization and urban life, many of his books were studied in the schools of the time. However, John Burroughs, adviser to President Roosevelt, accused William Long of gross exaggeration, if not outright lies, regarding his books and the reflections of nature therein. In March 1903, Burroughs published an article entitled “Real and Sham Natural History” in the Atlantic Monthly.

Continue reading William J Long 1866- 1952

Top Twelve Health Myths

http://www.mercola.com/ is my natural health website of choice. It contains a lot of relevant information for concerned British readers. This guest Post summarizes many of my concerns. I will try to address them personally in greater detail in the future..

Dr. MercolaDr. Mercola is the founder of the world’s most visited natural health web site,www.Mercola.com. You can learn the hazardous side effects of ‘over the counter’ remedies by getting a FREE copy of his latest special report The Dangers of Over the Counter Remedies by going to his Report Page.

1: Vaccines are Safe, Effective and Prevent Disease

I completely understand that for many this issue is not debatable as they believe that vaccines are one of the greatest gifts to public health in the history of civilization.

If you believe that, then let me encourage you to open your mind and explore other views held by many well respected physicians, scientists, clinicians and pro-vaccine safety educators.

You might want to review the article Read This Before Vaccinating for Anything, to help you start your exploration process.

When it comes to vaccines, there are three primary questions that need to be considered.

  • First, is the vaccine in question safe?
  • Secondly, does it effectively prevent disease?
  • And third, which vaccines can safely and effectively be given together or in close succession?

Unfortunately, these issues have not been sufficiently studied for most vaccines, and those vaccines that have been studied frequently show that they are either unsafe or ineffective, or both!

Pro-vaccine-safety educators have long been saying that vaccines can over-stimulate your child’s immune system, sometimes causing the very disease it’s designed to protect against, or worse. And, when several vaccines are administered together, or in close succession, their interaction may completely overwhelm your child’s developing immune system.

This is one of the primary problems with vaccines in general – their detrimental impact on your body’s primary, natural defense against ALL disease..

Continue reading Top Twelve Health Myths

Copyright(s) & Wrongs

The issue of copyright is a minefield for the average person. Copyright has to strike a delicate balance between protecting the creators of music, words or photographs and the presentation of such material to a wider public.

On the one hand, it is only fair that the creators get paid for what they create. On the other, if copyright protection is too tight, then distribution of material becomes too restricted.

If Shakespeare was still in copyright less of his work would be seen. The same principle may help explain the appeal of the ‘classics’ in all artistic fields with producers. Could this weigh against new artists?

The concept of intellectual property was based around the distinction between mechanical invention, and literary or cultural creation.

That idea is now less appropriate to the ways in which creativity is carried out – software development, biotechnology and gene science all blur the boundaries between the mechanical and the intellectual. The advent of the internet has changed the way copyright works.

Going into a shop and stealing a CD is theft, and yet using new technology, down-loading tracks from the internet seems quite different.

Proposals to disconnect so-called peer to peer file-sharers have caused concern among internet campaigners. This is when people who know nothing of each other beyond a username, share music or films even though only one of them has bought the original. One thing is clear, and that is that a short-term fix on these copyright issues is not helpful or appropriate.

This attitude, that if it is available to download from the web then it is free, is even more pronounced with photographic images. When pictures were printed on paper it was easy to control, but new technology makes those old laws out-dated or at least difficult to enforce.

Stuart Franklin took the famous picture of the protester standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square – an image that has appeared on countless T-shirts around the world.

“We licensed my photographs to go on posters and T-shirts through business associates, the photograph itself is almost in the public domain, but if people want to use it to make a profit, such as a magazine or newspaper, then they have to pay, we have no problem at all with dissemination and actively encourage students and young people to engage with the photography. What we don’t encourage is pilfering for profit of our work,” he said..

Continue reading Copyright(s) & Wrongs

Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol

Jean de Florette & Manon of the Springs

Rating: ★★★★★

A French literary masterpiece, Jean de Florette, along with the sequel Manon des Sources creates a single unbroken narrative. It is a two-part epic tale which spans three generations, building to an inevitable, yet completely unexpected conclusion.

In the first part, Jean Cadoret (Gerard Depardieu), a former tax collector, moves his family to the country to create a pastoral idyll in a rural Provencal village. From the neighbouring farm, Cesar Soubeyran (Le Papet), and his only remaining relative, nephew Ugolin, cast their covetous eyes on the adjoining  property. They need its spring water to grow their own carnations and vegetables, and so are dismayed to hear that a new owner from away has moved in. Conspiring against the stranger, imagining themselves somehow justified as locals, they mischievously  block up the spring, and watch as Jean desperately tries to keep his crops, his means of living, watered throughout the long, hot summer from a source miles away across the rugged terrain. Le Papet does not allow for Jean’s tenacity. Though they see his back-breaking efforts are ruining his health, and breaking his wife and daughter’s hearts, they turn a blind eye as events reach a tragic conclusion.

The story is a timeless one, a compelling triumph for justice and good, and reflects the revenge themes of the Viking sagas, or a Biblical parable unfolding, or perhaps the poetic justice of Greek tragedy, and it is satisfying to see the outcome,  the inevitable futility of the Soubeyran’s scheming. It was heart-warming too; that by the end, you could feel for Le Papet, and even Ugolin, for how many times have any of us begun an unwise course we cannot reverse?

Continue reading Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources by Marcel Pagnol

Medication Compliance- Trouble taking Tablets?

Healthcare professionals are understandably concerned that people, especially people with serious health problems, take medication appropriately, as prescribed by their doctor. The reasons they often do not are explored here, and may differ from some commonly held ideas. The causes of non-compliance are seldom immediately clear, and individual reasons for stopping medication can appear arbitrary, “I couldn’t get to the chemist”.. If I focus here on individuals with mental health problems, it is because compliance with medication is a comparatively larger problem in this group, but certainly not exclusively so.

Many writers have highlighted the importance of terminology in healthcare, and suggest that the use of words like “compliance” infer that patients should be passive recipients, and should obey professionals. It has recently been proposed that “concordance” should replace the words “compliance” and “adherence”.

Concordance emphasizes patient rights, and the importance of two-way decision making. More controversially, it also reminds us patients have the right to make choices such as stopping medication, even if doctors do not approve of the decision.

How a person thinks an illness will affect him is determined by his previous knowledge or experience, as well as fear of the outcome.

The law imposes a duty of care on those that administer medication to others, for example, on a hospital ward. Administration of medication is not without its complications. Minor prescribing errors, allergies, adverse drug reactions, interactions with food, or herbal products, overdoses, and even possible irreversible health problems or death, must all be considered.  No one should take medication that is normally only available on a doctor’s prescription without this essential professional help.

There is however, still widespread concern in the UK over the administration of non-prescribed medicine and the practice of covert administration in the non-compliant.

The law is clear that covert administration is only justifiable in cases of incapacity. Incapacity occurs where the patient is unable to comprehend and retain information material to the decision, or the patient is unable to weigh up the information as part of the process of an informed decision..

Continue reading Medication Compliance- Trouble taking Tablets?