Wednesday, 19 November 2008

A Story of Love; Una Historia de Amor

(Versión original del texto al final de la página)

What originally was my Spanish homework essay which my Spanish housemate wrote for me since I couldn´t write it in time, turned out to be a beautiful work of art.

Buenos Aires, 19.11.8
by Pablo Navarro Romero, translated in English by P. Attard.
See original text below. Pasted on this blog with the Author´s permission.

"What is a story of love? We could say that love can be represented in many ways; we could say that love is giving and receiving. We could say that love is giving to another what we don´t have, or that love is thinking about a person who completes us.

However, we meet with the present, we are confronted with the reality which disturbs our ideal giving rise to the story, the story of love which has been told, which makes our hearts beat fast, from which we emerge as better beings, bringing out our beautiful side which we didn´t have, the side which makes us better people in front of the world, making us more complete, happier beings.

Pure imagination, an illusion which brings our feet back to the ground, in a way which lifts us up, to see the colours in their intensity and to feel the other one´s heart as if it were one´s one.

And this abstract story, in which I suppose we all would like to live in, is my story of love."

Lo que originariamente era mi tarea de un ejercicio de español, que mi compañero de piso, que es español, escribió para mí porque no tenía tiempo para ello, se convirtió en una hermosa obra de arte.

Buenos Aires, 19.11.8
por Pablo Navarro Romero, traducción en inglés por P. Attard.
Colocado en este Blog con permiso del Autor.

"¿Qué es una historia de amor? Podríamos decir que el amor se nos represente de muchas formas, podemos decir que el amar es dar, recibir, que amar es dar lo que no se tiene al otro, que amar es pensar que encontramos a esa persona que te complementa.

Pero nos encontramos con lo contingente, con la realidad, con aquello que perturba nuestro ideal, y entonces podríamos decir que surge la historia, la historia de amor, aquello que fue contado, dicho, que nos hizo palpitar, que hizo surgir de nosotros lo más bello que no somos, aquello que ante el mundo nos hace ser seres más buenos, más plenos, mas felices.

Puro imaginario, ilusíon que nos hace pisar en la tierra, de una forma que nos lleva a levitar, a ver los colores en su profundidad, a sentir el corazón del otro come si fuera el de uno.

Y esta abstracta historia, en la que a todos supongo nos gustaria habitar, es mi historia de amor."

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Times: Gay marriage supporters rally across US
Sunday, 16th November 2008 - 08:36CET

Thousands of gay marriage advocates held boisterous rallies on Saturday across the United States and abroad in a coordinated protest of California's vote this month to ban same-sex marriage.

In Manhattan, where some protesters were offering hula-hoop demonstrations, Sean Petersen, 21, a musician from Brooklyn, called the vote "mean-spirited and divisive."

In Chicago, Andy Thayer, a co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network, exhorted a crowd that had listened to a gay men's choir sing a peppy version of the hymn "Down by the Riverside" to follow through on the spirit of the protest.

"We can't just let this be a blowing-off-steam rally, as satisfying as that might be," he said. "We're here to win equal marriage rights right here in Illinois."

Demonstrations had been organized for Saturday afternoon in the United States and elsewhere, including Canada, Europe and Australia, coordinated by a campaign on the Internet.

Los Angeles police estimated 8,000 attended, and thousands filled the central plaza in San Francisco. Other cities had crowds estimated in the hundreds or low thousands.

"I am here to protect my marriage and my family," said 39-year-old Susan Ferris at Los Angeles City Hall.

On November 4, California voters narrowly approved Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. It reversed the right of gays and lesbians to marry that had been granted by the state's Supreme Court this year and triggered a series of protests.

"A turning point has been reached," landscape architect James York, 45, said at the San Francisco rally.

Measures to ban gay marriage also passed in Florida and Arizona, while Arkansas barred gay couples from adopting children.

In 2003, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize gay marriages. Last month, Connecticut became the second when the state's top court overturned a ban on same-sex marriage.

The California measure passed by 52 percent after one of the most expensive ballot campaigns in history in which both sides combined raised some $70 million.

Gay marriage advocates have asked the California Supreme Court to overturn the ban, arguing that more than a majority vote is needed to make a fundamental change in the state constitution. In May, the court had declared same-sex marriage a right, unleashing a flood of weddings.

The rallies drew a few opponents of gay marriage.

"We're troubled by the intolerance on their side about what obviously is the will of the American people," Peter LaBarbera, a board member of Protect Marriage Illinois, told Reuters. "We think they represent the minority viewpoint."

Despite the setback in the country's most populous state, gay marriage advocates said they were upbeat about their cause in the long run.

"History is on our side," said Ferris in Los Angeles.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Malta Today: The good and the gay
9.11.8 by Raphael Vassallo

After a spate of embarrassing sex scandals worldwide, the Vatican now insists on psychological assessment of future priests for ‘gay tendencies’. Homophobia, or legitimate precaution? RAPHAEL VASSALLO takes a peek behind the Curia’s closet

In recent weeks the international press was alive with stories about the latest example of ‘homophobia’ to emerge from the Holy See: namely, a set of new guidelines aimed at preventing homosexuals from entering the priesthood.
But while gay communities around the world railed in unison against this measure, the rector of the Malta Seminary in Tal-Virtù, Fr Jimmy Bonnici, suggests that such negative reactions may be a little late in coming.
With reference to a story in The Telegraph under the headline “Vatican to use psychologists to weed out homosexual priests”, Fr Bonnici explains that the newspaper “interprets the (Vatican) document solely in reference to recent sex scandals concerning priests, and the issue of homosexuality.”
This, he claims, is a superficial response to a much broader and more complex issue, which has been ongoing for decades.
“If one takes a quick glance at the origin of the recent document, one notes that the process has taken over 30 years: a period in which the role of the human sciences was being appreciated, applied, and evaluated in the context of the formation of future priests.
“Before one is admitted to the seminary, discernment includes an interview with two priests who are called to appreciate the candidate’s history, prayer life, and motivation for the priesthood. It also includes a personality assessment conducted by a priest who is a qualified psychologist with a specialisation in this area. A long interview constitutes the core of this psychological assessment, together with a battery of tests chosen according to the needs of the candidate...”
The screening process, Fr Bonnici adds, has been in place since 1984.
Apart from its own resident psychologist – Rev. Dr. Paul Galea, who also lectures at the University of Malta – the seminary occasionally enlists the professional services of other psychologists and psychiatrists.
In the light of the latest Vatican guidelines, Fr Bonnici admits that the process may now need some fine-tuning.
“Following the publication of this recent document, I will be discussing it with the Archbishop, the seminary staff, the psychologist and the Seminary board, in order to evaluate our own system and realign it where necessary.”
But he does not envisage any particular difficulties: “We are not establishing a new system with possible repercussions on applicants. Besides, this document will enable us to bring more clarity to our existent policies, and in turn these would benefit all those who consider a priestly vocation.”

Homosexuality ‘not a psychiatric condition’
While homosexuality is but one of a wide range of issues dealt with by the Vatican guidelines – which also include “predatory heterosexual instincts”, a fact often overlooked by the document’s critics – it nonetheless remains inescapable that the Holy See takes a dim view of homosexuality in general.
This much is evidenced by Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Catholic Education Congregation, who argued that a celibate candidate with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should be barred “not because he commits a sin, but because homosexuality is a deviation, an irregularity, a wound...”
Gaby Calleja, director of the Malta Gay Rights Movement, is generally unimpressed by this argument. “The biggest problem (with the Vatican’s position) is that it reinforces popular misconceptions of the homosexual man as a being more voracious and insatiable than his heterosexual counterpart,” she told MaltaToday. “But there is no evidence to back this up.”
The MGRM also takes umbrage at the general inference that some form of direct link may exist between paedophilia – the cause of the most hurtful and damaging scandals to have rocked the Catholic Church in recent times – and homosexuality.
“This is not the case at all,” Calleja insists. “In fact, research shows the very opposite is true, suggesting that heterosexuals are statistically more likely to be involved in child abuse cases than homosexuals.”
In this observation at least, the MGRM appears to have the backing of Malta’s association of professional psychologists.
Although not involved directly “as an association”, a spokesman for the Malta Psychologists’ Association confirmed with MaltaToday “that individual psychologists within our association, who have been trained in assessment and in clinical or pastoral psychology, have carried out psychological assessments as part of the (Church) screening process.”
However, the Malta Psychologists Association openly doubts the Vatican’s official view of homosexuality as an “aberration”.
“The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-II (DSM-II) in 1974, and it was replaced by ego-dystonic homosexuality in the DSM-III in 1980,” a spokesperson for the association explained. “This was later removed in 1987, with the release of the revised DSM (DSM-III-R). Thus, homosexuality is no longer considered as a psychiatric condition.”
As for the presumed link between paedophilia and homosexuality, the MPA dismisses it out of hand: “No, there is no research that suggests a link between paedophilia and homosexuality. Anglo-American literature shows that psychologists who treat sex-offenders report that the majority identify themselves as heterosexual, regardless of the gender of children they have abused.”
But even as the debate rages in the background, it appears to have had little immediate impact on the actual number of vocations in Malta.
“This year, there are 37 seminarians,” Fr Bonnici confirmed. “Five of them are preparing for priestly ordination in July, and 11 are doing an intermediary year that includes work in Malta and pastoral work abroad.”
Meanwhile, the rector adds, an additional seven youngsters have also applied for admission next year.
Nonetheless, Fr Bonnici is reluctant to supply any specific figures for the number of seminarians who were prevented from becoming priests specifically on account of psychological screening.
“While keeping in mind the whole discernment process (which includes, but does not limit itself to, the psychological assessment), I can confirm that there were candidates who did not enter the seminary as a result of this discernment process,” he said.

Monday, 10 November 2008

El Pais: [Cardinal] Rouco supports a referendum on gay marriage - The Marriage between homosexuals "goes against all civilizations"
Original Title: Rouco, partidario de un referéndum para el matrimonio gay - Las bodas entre homosexuales "van contra todas las civilizaciones"
Translated by Google Translate with some minor corrections

Three years after the adoption of the law on homosexual marriage in Spain, the church continues to campaign against it. Now, taking advantage of the rejection by referendum of marriage between same sex in California (USA), the president of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, argues that "it would have been nice" to do the same in Spain. In statements to the chain Cope, Rouco said Thursday night that a similar "help to better understand the profound reality of the conscience of the most critical aspects in the life of Spaniards."

"This way of dealing with the conception of marriage," said Rouco on the radio of the bishops, "in which sexual difference plays no role runs counter to civilization. Not only the Catholic, but of all civilizations" . For the president of the EEC and Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, marriage between persons of the same sex "has to do with a conception of man who would be rectified."

The statements of Rouco yesterday were answered by the State Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transsexuals and Bisexuals (FELGTB). The association believes that the "democratic spirit" of the cardinal-to claim that he was a necessary pre-referendum "should also be accommodated in the Church." The majority of the population supports gay marriage, according to surveys of the CIS. The FELGTB argues that such consultations should also serve to "vote on measures such as what relationship should exist between Church and State." The current, saying "it is rejected by the majority."

The president of the EEC used his speech in Cope to criticize the course of education for citizenship, since this course compulsory for all communities. "This subject in its content is not compatible with the Spanish Constitution in terms of positive law," he said. "Nor with a good understanding of ethical duty of parents to choose religious and moral education of their children," he added. For Rouco Varela, who will meet this weekend with more than 2,000 young Catholics in Madrid, "many parents believe in conscience that their children should not go to this subject."

Background for the Readers:
Antonio María Rouco Valera is a Spanish Cardinal. He is the head of the Catholic Church in Madrid and is the President of the Spanish Episcopal Conference.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

12th ILGA-Europe’s Annual Conference concluded in Vienna

A successful 12th annual conference of ILGA-Europe concluded in Vienna on 2
November. 230 participants from 40 countries took part in the conference. The
theme of this year's conference was "Think Globally, Act Locally".

This year's conference explored the current state of the international human
rights standards related to sexual orientation and gender identity and explored
a vision of human rights in the next decade and the strategies needed to achieve
that vision. Two conference panels included the following distinguished guests
and experts:
- Thomas Hammarberg, Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe
- Morten Kjaerum, Director of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European
- Belinda Pyke, Director of the European Commission's Directorate General
Employment, Social Affairs and equal Opportunities
- Professor Jack Donelly, Denver University, author of highly acclaimed by
academics, students and human rights activists alike book "Universal Human
Rights in Theory and Practice".

The panels were echoed and complimented by a rich and diverse workshop

The Annual Conference is also ILGA-Europe's annual general meeting and following
last year's constitutional changes a new Executive Board election system was put
into practice: half of the Executive Board was elected for the next two years
and half for the next year. The following individuals were elected as
ILGA-Europe's Executive Board (first 5 for the next two years (2008-2010), and
second 5 for the next year (2008-2009):

1. Renato Sabbadini (Italy)
2. Deborah Lambillotte (Belgium)
3. Pierre Serne (France)
4. Linda Freimane (Latvia)
5. Ruth Baldacchino (Malta)
6. Martin K.I. Christensen (Denmark)
7. Paata Sabelashvili (Georgia)
8. Christine Le Doaré (France)
9. Louise Ashworth (UK)
10. Tomasz Szypula (Poland)

Natasa Sukic (Slovenia) was elected as reserve member of Executive Board.

Ruth Baldacchino and Soren Juvas (Sweden) were elected as European
representatives on ILGA Executive Board.

Janfrans Van Der Eerden (The Netherlands) and Jackie Lewis (UK) were elected as
reserve European representatives on ILGA Executive Board.

The Conference has also voted to host ILGA-Europe's Annual Conference in 2010 in The Hague (The Netherlands).

This year's Annuals Conference was co-hosted by HOSI Wien and was the first ever ILGA-Europe's Annual Conference under the patronage of a state head - Heinz
Fischer, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, had agreed to be
honorary patron of the Conference. Dr. Maria Berger, Federal Minister of
Justice of Austria, attended the opening plenary of the Conference and
delivered her greeting. A greeting to the Conference from Barbara Prammer,
President of the National Council (Parliament) of Austria, was also read out.
During the Conference the participants were invited by Michael Häupl, Mayor and
Governor of Vienna to a reception at Vienna City Hall.

The next Annual Conference of ILGA-Europe in 2009 will be held in Malta and
co-hosted by Malta Gay Rights Movement.


For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:
(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay
Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual
and transgender people in Europe:

(2) Further information about ILGA-Europe's Annual Conference:

Kotba Maltin: Xandru Miżżewweġ u Gay
minn Javier Vella Sammut

Meta Xandru ċempilli u qalli biex immorru naraw film flimkien kont eċitata ħafna. Meta qalli li miegħu kien se jkun hemm David, assumejt li se jġieblu sieħba ghal miegħu ukoll. Meta ġew għalija bil-karozza u bqajna sejrin dritt lejn ic-cinema u ma konna ġibna l-ebda tfajla oħra magħna, irrealizzajt li konna se nkunu biss it-tlieta li konna. Xandru poġġa bejn David u bejni. Waqt il-film Xandru qabadli idi. Qatt ma kien wasal s'hawn qabel. Xandru kien qed jieħu gost bil-film, jien kont qed nieħu gost b'Xandru. David la kien qed jieħu gost bil-film u wisq probabbli l-anqas ma kien qed jieħu gost bil-fatt li hu ma kellu l-ebda id ħaddieħor x'jaqbad. Wiċċ Xandru kien ħaj, assorbit kif kien b'dak li qed jara jseħħ quddiemu; wiċċ David kien mejjet: la kien qed jinteressah dak li kien qed jara quddiemu u lanqas ta' ma' ġenbu.
ISBN13 : 978-99932-0-633-0

[Tista' tixtri l-ktieb mill-hyperlink ta' hawn fuq.]

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Los Angeles Times: Gay marriage isn't over - The passage of Prop. 8 is only a temporary setback.,0,2269846.story
November 6, 2008; by By John Corvino

On election night, I was less anxious about whether Barack Obama would become president than about whether a certain little girl could marry her princess.

I'm talking about the girl in the "Yes on 8" commercial who came home from school after reading "King and King" and announced, "And I can marry a princess!"

Not in California, she can't -- at least for the time being. Proposition 8 passed 52.5% to 47.5%, after a $74-million battle.

I say "for the time being" because nobody expects this to be the end of the story. Already, gay-rights lawyers have filed a challenge in the state Supreme Court, saying the measure is an illegal constitutional revision. The cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles did the same, as did the first couple wed in Los Angeles. It remains to be sorted out whether gays and lesbians married since June 17 will have their marriages annulled, or converted to some other status, or what.

Domestic partnerships will remain an option for same-sex couples in California. Other states, mainly along the coasts, will continue to recognize same-sex relationships: some with domestic partnerships, others with civil unions, and a few with outright marriage.

Eventually, this hodgepodge will prove legally unwieldy, or socially inconvenient, or morally embarrassing -- probably all of the above -- and California will revisit the marriage question. If trends continue -- gay-marriage opponents drew 61% of the vote in 2000 but only 52% on Tuesday -- marriage equality will someday prevail.

In the meantime, expect things to get messy. A same-sex couple married in Massachusetts (for example) will have absolutely no legal standing when traveling in California. A lesbian couple with a domestic partnership in Oregon may have to get married if they move to Connecticut. New Yorkers wed in California before the passage of Proposition 8 may have their marriage recognized by their home state but not by the state that married them. And so on.

Both supporters and opponents will argue about whether the courts are the appropriate venue for resolving these issues. Traditionally, a key role for the courts has been to protect minority interests against the whims of the majority. One of the especially painful ironies of the Proposition 8 vote is the fact that historically oppressed minorities -- including blacks, Mormons and Catholics -- were among the measure's strongest supporters.

It's worth remembering, however, that the courts follow social trends more often than they set them. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws against interracial marriage in Loving vs. Virginia, the majority of states had already repealed such laws. (Incidentally, California was the first.) As disappointing as the legal setbacks are, they pale in importance next to the cultural shift undeniably underway.

One thing is clear: That shift is on the side of gay and lesbian equality. More and more gay and lesbian couples are openly committing to each other, having weddings, and even calling it marriage. The word is important. Princesses don't dream about someday "domestically partnering with" the person they love. They dream about marrying him -- or, in a minority of cases, her.

To that minority, a bare majority of California voters sent a discriminatory message: You are not good enough for marriage. Your relationships -- no matter how loving, how committed, how exemplary -- are not "real" marriage.

But "real" marriage transcends state recognition of it. And that's another reason why this debate will continue. Because it's not just about what California should or should not legally recognize. It's also about what sort of relationships are morally valuable, and why. And that's a debate that, slowly but surely, gay-rights advocates are winning.

The path to inclusion is not always direct and the pace of change almost never steady. This setback is by no means a final verdict. In the coming years, gay and lesbian citizens will continue to tell our stories. We will demonstrate that, like everyone else, we are worthy of having someone to have and to hold, for better or for worse. More Americans will realize that such relationships are a good thing -- not just for us but for the community at large.

When the smoke from this battle clears, Americans will realize that gays are not interested in confusing children or in forcing princesses on little girls who don't want them. But they also will realize that, when girls grow up to love princesses, they deserve to live happily ever after too.

John Corvino is a philosophy professor at Wayne State University.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

L-Orizzont: Kontra d-diskriminazzjoni
5.11.8; minn Michael Briguglio, Kelliem ghall-Izvilupp Socjali u Ekonomiku, Alternattiva Demokratika

F’artiklu li ppreċeda lil din il-kolonna li kien iġib l-isem ta’ “Il-Pakkett Soċjali” (l-orizzont 12 ta’ Awwissu), tkellimt dwar il-proposta tal-Kummissjoni Ewropea għall-pakkett soċjali Ewropew.

Dan il-pakkett soċjali jinkludi l-proposta biex ikun hemm iktar ċaqlieq ħieles ta’ pazjenti u servizzi mediċi fl-Ewropa; il-proposta għal Kunsilli tax-Xogħol u iktar konsultazzjoni mal-ħaddiema; u l-proposta favur trattament ugwali lill-persuni irrispettivament mir-reliġjon jew twemmin, diżabilità, età jew orjentazzjoni sesswali.

F’dan l-artiklu se niffoka fuq l-aħħar proposta, speċjalment meta din qiegħda tiġi meqjusa mill-Gvern Malti u diskussa fil-MEUSAC, fejn jiltaqgħu rappreżentanti tal-Gvern u tas-soċjetà ċivili Maltija biex iqisu proposti fl-UE biex il-Gvern Malti jieħu pożizzjoni iktar informata.

Fl-isfond ta’ din il-proposta, tajjeb li wieħed jikkonsulta stħarriġ soċjoloġiku li sar fl-Unjoni Ewropea dwar it-trattament indaqs u d-diskriminazzjoni. Stħarriġ tal-Eurobarometer li sar iktar kmieni din is-sena juri li 77% tal-Ewropej jappoġġjaw politika kontra d-diskriminazzjoni fl-edukazzjoni u 68% jappoġġjaw politika kontra d-diskriminazzjoni fl-aċċess għall-prodotti u servizzi. Wieħed u ħamsin fil-mija tal-Ewropej jaħsbu li teżisti diskrimazzjoni fuq bażi ta’ orjentazzjoni sesswali, 45% jaħsbu li teżisti fuq bażi ta’ diżabilità u 42% jaħsbu li teżisti fuq bażi ta’ età jew reliġjon.

Terz tal-Ewropej raw każi ta’ diskriminazzjoni jew fastidju fl-aħħar sena, u 48% jaħsbu li mhux qed isir biżżejjed kontra din il-pjaga. Huma 33% biss ta’ l-Ewropej li jafu x’inhuma d-drittijiet tagħhom f’dan ir-rigward.

F’Malta, l-istudju tal-Ewrobarometru, li hu kkordinat minn Robert Micallef għall-Kumissjoni Ewropea, juri li hemm inqas Maltin mill-medja Ewropea li jaħsbu li teżisti d-diskriminazzjoni fuq bażi ta’ diżabilità jew età, iżda għall-kuntrarju, hemm iktar li jaħsbu li teżisti diskriminazzjoni fuq bażi ta’ orjentazzjoni sesswali, u, speċjalment fuq bażi ta’ oriġini etnika.

L-istħarriġ juri li wieħed minn għaxar Maltin biss jgħidu li sfaw vittma ta’ diskriminazzjoni jew fastidju fl-aħħar sena. Fl-istess ħin il-Maltin jidhru li huma iktar komdi mill-medja Ewropea li jkollhom xi ħadd joqgħod ħdejhom li jkollu diżabilità jew li jkun omosesswali jew mill-minorità etnika tar-“Roms” (magħrufin bħala żingari fil-lingwa popolari).

Iktar minn disgħa minn kull għaxar Maltin jaqblu ma’ politika ta’ drittijiet indaqs fuq bażi ta’ sess jew diżabilità, u iktar minn tmienja minn kull għaxra jaqblu wkoll ma’ din it-tip ta’ politika fuq bażi ta’ reliġjon jew età. F’dawn il-każijiet, il-medja Maltija hija iktar għolja minn dik Ewropea. Min-naħa l-oħra, fejn tidħol oriġini etnika, il-medja Maltija hija simili għal dik Ewropea.

Tajjeb li wieħed jinnota li kważi nofs il-Maltin jafu x’inhuma d-drittijiet tagħhom f’każ ta’ diskriminazzjoni jew fastidju. Il-medja tal-irġiel hija iktar għolja minn dik tan-nisa, u l-istess bħall-medja Ewropea, dawk li spiċċaw mill-edukazzjoni fl-età ta’ 20 jew iktar, huma iktar informati dwar id-drittijiet tagħhom. B’kuntrast mal-medja fl-UE, il-Maltin fl-età bejn il-15 u l-24 sena jafu l-inqas dwar id-drittijiet tagħhom, iżda dawk li għandhom bejn 25 u 39 sena huma l-iktar konxji.

Fl-isfond ta’ dan kollu, ikun tajjeb li l-Gvern Maltin jappoġġja d-direttiva dwar opportunitajiet indaqs proposta mill-Kummissjoni Ewropea.

Bħala membru fil-MEUSAC, Alternattiva Demokratika qiegħda tagħmel il-proposti tagħha f’dan ir-rigward. Fost oħrajn, qegħdin nipproponu li din għandha tkopri kull tip ta’ diskriminazzjoni, b’konformità ma’ artiklu 21 tal-Kapitlu Ewropew dwar id-drittijiet fundamentali, li jgħid li kull diskriminazzjoni f’oqsma bħas-sess, razza, kulur, oriġini etnika jew soċjali, fatturi ġenetiċi, reliġjon jew twemmin politiku jew kull opinjoni oħra, sħubija f’minoranza f’nazzjon, proprjetà, twelid, diżabiltà jew orjentazzjoni sesswali għandha tiġi pprojbita.

Barra minn hekk, l-assikurazzjoni u prodotti finanzjarji għandhom jiġu koperti bid-Direttiva. Prattiċi diskriminatorji f’dawn l-oqsma għandhom jiġu pprojbiti. Fl-istess ħin, organizzazzjonijiet bħal kumpaniji żgħar għandhom ikollhom iktar flessibilità biex jaddataw id-direttiva, iżda għandu jkun hemm livelli ċari biex ma jkunx hemm min ifarfar mir-responsabilitajiet.

Din id-direttiva għandha tiġi kkumplimentata ukoll b’miżuri ta’ politika soċjali u ekonomika li jippromwovu ugwaljanza fir-riżultat u sostenibilità –- bħall-investiment fl-inklużjoni soċjali, żvilupp sostenibbli u xogħol. Għalhekk, għandu jkun hemm regoli ċari kontra d-‘dumping’ soċjali fejn kumpaniji qegħdin jimpjegaw ħaddiema minn pajjiżi oħrajn b’pagi iktar baxxi minn dawk stabiliti fil-ftehim kollettiv nazzjonali. Ikun pożittiv ukoll jekk din id-direttiva għandha tkun akkumpanjata b’miżuri kontra d-diskriminazzjoni fil-politika tal-familja, bħal m’hu d-dritt għad-divorzju għal nies li jgħixu f’Malta.

Din tinkludi wkoll ir-regolarizzazzjoni tal-koabitazzjoni u nies mhux miżżewġin li jgħixu fl-istess dar bħalma huma nies li jiġu minn xulxin, li għandhom ikollhom drittijiet legali u soċjali ugwali għall-familji oħra u li jkunu ħielsa mid-diskriminazzjoni fil-protezzjoni soċjali.

Għandu jkun garantit ukoll id-dritt għal nies tal-istess sess li jkollhom ir-relazzjoni tagħhom regolarizzata u ħielsa mid-diskriminazzjoni fil-protezzjoni soċjali. Għalhekk, id-direttiva li tippromwovi opportunitajiet indaqs, għandha tkun appoġġjata, iżda għandha jkolla orjentazzjoni soċjali iktar b’saħħitha sabiex ikun hemm Unjoni Ewropea iktar ugwali.

Għalhekk, tajjeb li min jemmen fil-ġustizzja soċjali u l-ugwaljanza jitkellem kontra d-diskriminazzjoni… u favur Ewropa Soċjali.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Maltastar: European governments warned to address teenage suicides - Internet content glorifying suicide must be controlled team Thu, 17 April 2008

European countries should consider teenage suicide as a political priority, as this underestimated public health issue is leading to thousands of deaths, exceeding the number of deaths caused by road accidents.

During this week’s plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), all eyes were set on a resolution calling on member states to facilitate access to safe abortion. Few paid attention to another resolution, calling on European states to consider teenage suicide a critical problem that requires immediate attention by all governments. The parliamentarians of all European countries, including Malta, unanimously approved the resolution.

Glorifying suicide

Violence on children, bullying, and all levels of discrimination can lead teenagers to contemplating suicide, and should be minimised, the resolution states. Another looming threat is the effect of certain online content which may encourage teenagers to commit suicide or intentionally harm themselves. “Suicide is very often glorified, particularly through websites and in certain blogs, and this may result in major tragedies… while such content may not be illegal nor conclusively proven by research evidence to induce suicide there is a risk to the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of young people in particular with regard to the portrayal and glorification of self-harm.”

The resolution also calls on governments to follow up on those teenagers who have already attempted suicide. 15% of teenagers who attempt to commit suicide make repeat attempts, and 75% are not taken to hospital. To minimise the risk of repeated attempts, member states should ensure that specialised medical treatments and immediate youth-appropriate social follow ups are immediately made available to those who attempt suicide for the first time.

Lesbians, gays most vulnerable

Suicidality among young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is more frequent than among the general teenage population, the PACE resolution noted. “This heightened risk is not a function of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but of the stigmatisation, marginalisation and discrimination which they experience because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.” This is but one of the forms of discrimination and abuse which the resolution mentions, and which need to be addressed to minimise teenage suicides.

“The underlying causes of suicide are often both psychological and social. Very often it is a call for help and a sign of deep suffering… the damage caused and the consequences of such violence for the equilibrium of children and teenagers may be irreversible and push them into committing suicide.”

Helplines "to hear the cries for help"

The resolution advises European states to make teenage suicide prevention a political priority and implement a number of measures, including providing health education in primary and secondary schools, preventing violence and bullying in schools, and set up walk-in centres or helplines, so as to “to hear the cries for help coming from teenagers and prevent crises from occurring.”

To counteract this negative influence of internet content glorifying suicide and self harm, the Council of Europe called on national governments to balance by providing online information on the medical and psychological effects of suicide, to ensure that teenagers do not trivialise suicide.
Another recommendation is to restrict all means of suicide particularly in public places. The resolution proposes the consideration of innovative methods, including “psychological autopsies”, to better understand this problem.

It-Torca: Il-knisja f’Malta jeħtieġ tiddjaloga mal-oqsma kollha tas-soċjetà
2.11.8; minn Kristjan, Rabat, Għawdex

Fil-gazzetta it-TORĊA gaddejja korrispondenza dwar rapport li deher fl-istess gazzetta taħt it-titlu: “Omelija ta’ l-Isqof t’Għawdex tqajjem kontroversja”, imbagħad ir-reazzjoni għal din l-omelija: “Omo-ssesswali u separati jħossuhom offiżi”. Dwar l-istess kwistjoni kiteb l-Avukat Joseph Carmel Chetcuti, f’The Malta Independent tal-31 ta’ Awwissu, taħt it-titlu: “Bishop Mario Grech’s sermon of 20 August.” [Ara wkoll hawn].

Normalment id-diskorsi ta’ Monsinjur Isqof ikunu ppubblikati fil-website tad-Djoċesi t’Għawdex. Ħassejt li fuq ħaġa daqstant sensittiva għandi nfittex u nara l-kontenut ta’ din l-omelija fil-website uffiċjali tal-istess Djoċesi. Irriżultali li fl-20 ta’ Awwissu kien organizzat Pellegrinaġġ Djoċesan għal fuq il-Gżejjer ta’ San Pawl u dan bħala parti mill-attivitajiet fl-okkażjoni tas-Sena Pawlina (28 ta’ Ġunju 2008 - 29 ta’ Ġunju 2009) li kienet imnedija mill-Papa Benedittu XVI. Sibt l-avviż, però ma sibtx il-kontenut tal-omelija.

Hemm l-omelija li saret fil-Katidral t’Għawdex fil-15 ta’ Awwissu, u mbagħad hemm l-omelija li saret fil-parroċċa taż-Żebbuġ t’Għawdex fl-24 ta’ Awwissu; dik tal-20 ta’ Awwis-su għal xi raġuni mhix ippubblikata, u allura jkolli noqgħod għal dak li deher fit-TORĊA u f’The Malta Independent.

Naħseb li ma nkunx qed niżbalja jekk nazzarda ngħid li l-omelija tal-Isqof t’Għawdex, li qajmet kontroversja, saret fil-kuntest ta’ dan il-pelligrinaġġ Pawlin. Pawlu li r-relikwija nsenji tad-driegħ tiegħu qiegħ-da żżur il-parroċċi t’Għawdex ċertament li għandu messaġġ għalina lkoll. Riċentement laqtuni żewġ kotba miktuba mill-Kardinal Francesco Gioia, bl-isem: The Apostle Paul: The Testimony of Joy amidst Suffering, u St. Paul: from ‘Persecutor and Man of Violence’ to ‘Greatest Model of Patience’, ippubblikati mil-Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Minn dawn il-kotba, il-qarrej isir aktar konxju ta’ dik li f’terminoloġija teknika tissejjaħ: it-Teoloġija Pawlina, liema teoloġija tiżvolġi ruħha fil-kuntest tal-ħidma pastorali mwettqa mill-Appostlu tal-Ġnus. L-awtur jirnexxilu jippreżenta lill-qarrej bil-kwalitajiet distinti li kienu jsawru l-karattru u l-imġieba ta’ Pawlu, jiġifieri, ‘il-ferħ minkejja t-tbatija’ u ‘mudell mill-ikbar ta’ sabar’.

Fil-kuntest ta’ dak li kien rapportat mit-TORĊA u mill-Malta Independent, jiġifieri l-omelija tal-Isqof u r-reazzjoni għall-istess omelija, ifeġġu f’moħħi żewġ mistoqsijiet fundamentali: il-ferħ nisrani verament jeżisti fil-knisja Għawdxija? Qiegħdin nagħtu xhieda ta’ sabar lill-ambjent ta’ madwarna? Il-ferħ nisrani jrid l-ewwelnett jinħass fi ħdan il-membri tal-Kleru.

Huma l-membri tal-Kleru li flimkien mal-lajċi mpenjati jridu jikkomunikaw dan il-ferħ nisrani lis-soċjetà li fiha ngħixu. Is-sabar li minnu jit-kellem San Pawl mhuwiex dgħufija, imma pjuttost il-kuraġġ li niddjalogaw mal-membri kollha tas-soċjetà, ma’ dawk kollha li għandhom rieda tajba - anke ma’ dawk li ma jqisux lilhom infushom bħala membri tal-istess Knisja.

Ħadt gost bl-istqarrija tal-Arċisqof Pawlu Cremona fejn wera d-disponibbiltà tal-Knisja Maltija li lesta li tiddjaloga dwar l-issue tad-divorzju.

Jekk dak li rraportat it-TORĊA hu minnu, jirriżulta li l-Knisja Għawdxija għadha ddomintata minn mentalità arkajka; Knisja fejn aktar milli tikkonvinċi permezz tat-tagħlim, tippreferi tinqeda bl-aw-toritajiet ċivili biex tmewwet kurrenti li ma jaqblux mat-tagħlim tagħha; teżerċita l-awtorità tagħha biex tinnegozja mal-awtoritajiet ċivili tip ta’ leġiżlazzjoni u eventwalment timponiha fuq iċ-ċittadini kollha.

Tinsa li llum qiegħdin ngħixu f’soċjetà multikulturali u multireliġjuża li tħaddan ċittadini li jistgħu jkunu nsara konvinti u prattikanti, inkella tal-isem, kif ukoll ċittadini li jappartjenu għal twemmin ieħor, jekk mhux ukoll ma jappartjenu għall-ebda twemmin.

Jidher li l-omelija tal-Isqof Grech ma tikkonsidrax li s-soċjetà ta’ pajjiżna tinkludi ħafna elementi u li wieħed mill-pilastri tal-pluraliżmu huwa l-libertà ta’ twemmin fost libertajiet fundamentali oħra.