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Papal Bull - Detail 1

Lukanovich
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The Ordination of Women Priests

March 6, 2009
N. Lukanovich

International Women's Day is a mere two days away, March 8th, and while there has been much progress in the last century, the obstacles and inequities for women around the world are enormous. Even in the Western world, where it is assumed that women have equal rights, there exist institutions and groups that deny equality. Freedom of religion has become the mantra of religious groups that treat women as 'the second sex'. Gender equality is not enforced within religious institutions or groups, and the largest church in the world, the Catholic Church, with more than 1 billion followers, including 67 million in the United States, continues to refuse even the discussion of the ordination of women priests.

The Vatican, led by Pope Benedict XVI, issued its strongest decree against the ordination of women last May, 2008. Written by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith it stipulates that any women ordained priests and any bishops ordaining them are to be punished by latae sententiae excommunication, which means that it is automatic, immediate, and self imposed.
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Girls Return to School -
Swat Valley

Digital Photo Collage

Lukanovich
www.lukanovich.com


Note: this image was created from 3 photographs taken in the Swat Valley: a bombed girl's school, teenage school girls, and a young school girl.


More News About the Peace Deal in Pakistan

Feb. 27, 2009
N. Lukanovich

One choice morsel of new information about the Sharia/peace deal negotiated between Pakistan's President Zardari and the Sufi Muhammad Khan is that the deal apparently included a 6 million dollar payment from the government. Another tidbit is that the militants are keen on extending the cease fire in the Malakand division beyond tomorrow, day ten of the truce, and the cease fire has been extended to the adjoining Bajaur Agency (part of the Federally Adminstered Tribal Areas - FATA). The news that's meant to make us feel warm and fuzzy (and reassured that the Taliban in the Malakand division, including the Swat Valley, is kindly and not too strict), is that girls have now returned to school. At least private schools. At least in the Western part of the Swat Valley. And only up to grade 5 level. There is a photo that has appeared in several newspapers of girls sitting in school, providing 'proof' that girls can now go to school. But it's always best to take the news with a big fat grain of salt.

It would probably be more accurate to report that some girls in some villages have been allowed to return to school. How people are living in the Swat Valley or the rest of the Malakand division depends on where they are living and on how much of an impact the TTP has in their local area, and who their local members of the TTP are and how strict their attitudes towards 'Islamic' law may be.
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TTP in Control of Swat Valley
Digital Photo Collage

Lukanovich
www.lukanovich.com




The Obliteration of Human Rights in the Swat Valley

Feb. 21, 2009
N. Lukanovich

The government of Pakistan has bowed to the wishes of the TTP, (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), and agreed to impose Sharia law in the Malakand Division of the NWFP (North West Frontier Province), a region that includes the Swat Valley - a former popular tourist destination known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, now commonly referred to in Pakistan as the Valley of Death. Hundreds of thousands have fled the region in terror, running from the brutal attacks by the militants on homes and schools, the violence perpetrated against any suspected of opposing the TTP, and increasingly barbaric rules enforced by the TTP that deny women of any human rights.

The region is a mere 100 kilometers from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital; it is not part of the tribal region FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) nestled against the Afghan border, where the Taliban rule, it is part of Pakistan proper. (The northern part of the NWFP shares a border with Afghanistan, but most of its length is separated from Afghanistan by the tribal areas.) Many in Pakistan fear that what has happened in the Swat Valley can happen elsewhere in Pakistan.
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The Two Chinas
Digital Photo Collage

Lukanovich
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The Tragedy Amongst Rural Chinese Women

Feb. 12, 2009
N. Lukanovich

There appear to be a lot of myths about suicide that have been milling about for years and years. One of them is that Japan has the highest rate and people in Scandinavia are so depressed by the black winters that they off themselves in droves. Neither is true. Who is the winner? Lithuania. I know…who would've thought? Next is Belarus, and then Russia. Men find a way to opt out of the treadmill called life about 6 times more often in these countries, their methods not leaving room for resuce. 81 people out of 100,000 people in Lithuania are unable to endure their despair. What people in the world are the least likely to take the plunge? If you live in St. Kitts, Jordan, Haiti, Honduras or Antigua, chances are you'll endure whatever hardships life tosses at your feet. The stats for these countries are 0.0, which means that less than 1 in 1,000,000 people take their own lives.

There have been sensational reports about China's suicide rate, but China is not high on the list. What makes China special is that it is the only nation other than Afghanistan to have a higher rate of suicide for women than men, and these are mostly rural women.
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In Vitro
Digital Photo Collage

Lukanovich
www.lukanovich.com




The Ethics of Reproductive 'Miracles'

Feb. 6, 2009
N. Lukanovich

It's been quite a week for reproductive miracles, or more accurately: scientifically induced miracles. The issues of reproductive rights are extending far beyond birth control or abortion. There has been no shortage of opinion and controversy in the last few days concerning two women: one who had octuplets and a 60-year-old who had twins. These reproductive 'events' have triggered much discussion concerning procreational ethics.

Nadya Suleman is a 33-year-old woman who produced 8 babies ten days ago. She made a statement about the miracle of life, but let's be clear, science, and the implantation of too many embryos than recommended is the cause of the octuplets. The general guideline for doctors performing in vitro fertilization is to implant no more than 3 embryos, due to the astronomical risks for infants in multiple births beyond triplets.
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Text and Images: Property of Natasha J. Lukanovich or contributors - Writers and Artists as Named