The albino people of Tanzania

Slate has some images from photographer Liron Shimoni’s new series White Shadows. Albinism occurs at a far higher rate in Tanzania than the rest of the world and people who have it can be subject to discrimination, abuse, or murder. From the text that accompanies the photographs:

“In the villages, they are viewed as demons or subhuman, and called offensive terms such as ‘zero-zero’ or ‘white meat.’ There is also a widespread belief that getting close to an albino will result in the catching of the disease, or that a pregnant woman who has physical contact with an albino will then birth an albino baby of her own.”

(c) Liron Shimoni

(c) Liron Shimoni

Infectious homicide in Newark

New research from Michigan State confirms that homicide and infectious disease have similar patterns of spread.  The team applied public health tracking software and methods to analyze data about homicides in Newark, NJ between 1982 and 2008.

Principal researcher April Zeoli, an assistant professor of criminal justice, points out that this methodology could be applied in real time to help law enforcement be more proactive about addressing new “outbreaks”.  She also indicated that some areas remained free of homicides despite being surrounded by hot spots.  From the MSU press release:

“If we could discover why some of those communities are resistant,” Zeoli said, “we could work on increasing the resistance of our communities that are more susceptible to homicide.”

Sounds like time to call in the anthropologists.

Education for all, and the nature of Violence

I haven’t posted in quite some time because I have been rather busy with my studies and because I do not want to post simply to do it, but rather because I believe in what I am posting.

I have been following the story on the young Pakistani teenager who was brutally shot in the head by extremists for standing up for education rights for women in her country. I am keeping Malala Yousufzai in my thoughts as I write this, and hope for her recovery. You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, how an act of violence in a country very far from ours has anything to do with the study of medical anthropology but I feel strongly that it has a significant impact on it as well as other disciplines.

My last post focused on violence and how it can be understood, why it happens and so forth, but this post shall be a tad different in nature.

In a world that is fraught with such violent acts, how can we as human beings combat it, without of course being another casualty or victim. I believe that when a person, and in this case, a very brave girl who lives in a culture that is vastly different than the “western” one in which we are accustomed to, stands up to violence, then it is worth talking about, worth mentioning.

Violence to me, is a disease, and one that according to journalist Sarah Clark in Peace Power, “…not inherent to the human condition, and both its causes and its effects are highly contagious” (Clark, 2005).

I believe that violent acts such as the shooting of an innocent girl for choosing to change the status quo needs to be addressed both within the medical community and without in mainstream society.

While I may not be much of a philosopher or social activist, I believe that by continuing the discussion of violence and how it is both detrimental but more importantly, alien to what makes us human beings, it will help not only us and our situations in life but the world in which we inhabit.

I have posted the link to the article from Sarah Clark as well as the newest update on Yousufzai’s condition.

I hope to incite a discussion on people’s thoughts on violence and the human condition.

I hope that you have a wonderful day and I hope to continue posting more frequently as the semester rages on.


Photo: Ajit Solanki / AP

A Cure for Violence

Hi everyone:

I hope your weekend is going fan-tastic! For my first post, I found a story on violence and an age-old question tied to it… is is possible to stop violence before it occurs? Is there a cure for violence? I find it utterly fascinating, especially coming from a Sociology background. I hope you enjoy it.