Three films, one continent, three different takes on death, dying and loss. The Africa in Motion Film Festival, in collaboration with the Festival of Spirituality and Peace and the Edinburgh University Global Health Academy, is presenting a trilogy of films from Ghana, Senegal and Cameroon - plus one native Scottish short - linked by the challenging theme of 'our friend death'.
The recent performance at the Festival of Spirituality and Peace of 'An Evening with Dementia', a one-man play written and performed by Trevor T. Smith, was followed by a fascinating discussion led by Professor June Andrews from the University of Stirling, says Katie MacFadyen.
Missionaries in Palestine during the period from the First World War until the Israeli declaration of the state and the connected Palestinian Nakba of 1948 were determined, they continually argued, to stay out of the controversy and not take sides, Dr Michael Marten reminds us. But what do concepts of 'neutrality', 'fairness' and 'respect' mean in the midst of conflict, in complex lesions of history and in its writing? Tidiness may be convenient but damaging to both truthfulness and the search for justice.
Negation has ascended into the imagination of our culture and society not necessarily as something to be scorned or regretted, but as something with which to be, in some cultural, philosophical, or even religious form, reconciled, says Dr Andrew Hass. But before we can understand how this figure might work its way into and through our present world, we need first to ask, whence 'zero'? For its history is by no means one we might expect.
The question for us today is how, in the many Os we might draw, and in the many circles we form on a daily basis, we negotiate our way across the empty spaces and the deep chasms they inevitably bring into our view, says Dr Andrew Hass. Yet Giotto’s legacy is not all lost: he at least tells us that something, even if that something is a “nothing”, remains there for our creation.
Today (12 April 2012) marks the second International Day for Street Children. The day is celebrated across the world to give a voice to street children. This year the focus is on ‘challenging perceptions’ to encourage people to think about what they know about street children. Sadly, we know the answer is not enough.
Religion scholar Professor Naomi Goldenberg, who is visiting Britain in April 2012, here outlines her hypothesis that religions can be productively thought of as 'vestigial states'. She considers this to be one way of de-essentialising, demystifying and deconstructing the category of 'religion'.