Jon Krakauer’s ‘Missoula’

Jon Krakauer has an impressive bibliography. Into Thin Air, about the 1996 disaster on Mount Everest; Into the Wild, the tragedy of Christopher McCandless, who undertook a fatal adventure into the Alaskan wilderness; Under The Banner of Heaven, an in-depth investigation of the religious-fueled murder of Brenda Lafferty and her baby, to name a few. Initially, Missoula…

The Opposite of Addiction

“Both the right-wing and left-wing theories of addiction are wrong. So the right-wing theory is it’s a moral failing, you’re a hedonist, you party too hard. The left-wing theory is it takes you over, your brain is hijacked. Bruce says it’s not your morality, it’s not your brain; it’s your cage. Addiction is largely an…

A Preventable Tragedy

Obstetric fistula is a complicated term for a simple, devastating condition. Caused by prolonged labor or difficult births, obstetric fistula is a hole between the vagina and the rectum. When a baby’s head is pushed against the walls of the bladder or vagina during labor, it cuts off the blood supply to the area. In…

Jamaican Girls Who Have Lost Their Accents

Kristina Martin* is an exceptionally pretty girl with long, dark, curly hair, huge brown eyes, and sun-bronzed skin. She has just finished her final year at university and has returned to her island home of Jamaica. Sipping a beer at a bar overlooking the city harbour, Jamaica’s lush green mountains towering behind her, Kristina is…

Know Your Enemy

In the continuous struggle against gender based oppression, the media likes to present a black and white version of a story. It is far simpler, not to mention more comforting, when we can label good and evil and pit set heroes against set villains. Yet reality is far more complicated than the two warring camps of the enlightened…

Making Monsters

Silvio Berlusconi’s trial plays like a melodramatic soap opera. A powerful politician, lavish sex-fuelled parties, and an exotic foreigner with a shady past – the media couldn’t ask for a more sellable story. Indeed, Berlusconi’s trial has been splashed over newspapers and grabbed headlines worldwide since the scandal broke. Yet several aspects of the Berlusconi…

See No Evil – Why the Justice System Ignores Rape

Much has been said about the rape culture that exists in today’s society, without a full definition of what rape culture is. To many, it refers to the general acceptance of trivializing sexual violence, from the popular use of rape as a term of competitive jest (for example, “I totally raped that exam,”) or the…

Why We All Need to Stop Talking about Miley Cyrus

By now, everyone has seen – or heard so much about they might as well have seen – Miley Cyrus’ performance at the MTV Video Music Awards. While it would be easy to dismiss the flurry of subsequent outrage as an overreaction to a largely inconsequential matter, there are deeper implications at play. Miley’s performance has…

Violence Against Female Migrants

In a time of global upheaval, from economic catastrophes to devastating civil wars, the issue of immigration is gaining importance the world over. The UN reports that last year, there were an estimated 232 million migrants worldwide, a sharp increase from previous years. Additionally, the face of migration has morphed. While the typical image of a…

Suicide is Not a Story

The recent tragic Germanwings crash has, like many of spectacular suicides before it, hurtled the subjects of suicide and mental illness into the limelight. The horror we all feel for Andreas Lubitz and the 150 onboard is justified. Our repeated shock when confronted with suicide is less warranted. Suicide is an epidemic. Though we only…

The Truth about Ending Poverty

Over the past two decades, sweeping statements about our ability to end poverty have been common. Lyndon Johnson declared it in 1964. Thabo Mbeki in 2002. Tony Blair in 2005. More recently, Obama and U2 frontman Bono have attempted to inspire action by reiterating our capacity to make an impact and in April press conference,…

Satire is a Dangerous Business in Venezuela

With national elections looming, the health of Venezuelan democracy may depend on the freedom of opinion in the media—including the political cartoonists. A year ago, Rayma Suprani found herself facing up to 30 years imprisonment for threatening to undermine the Venezuelan government, and labelled one of a group of terrorists whose subversive activity was harmful…