Volume 56, Number 4
Toward Compassion in
"In the Hands of the People":
Recent Victories of the Death-With-Dignity Movement
by Barbara Dority
Several recent gains in the effort to promote
compassion in dying have illustrated the importance of both
grass-roots organizing and the work of courageous individuals. From
the federal court decisions striking down bans on physician- assisted
suicide to Dr. Kevorkian's headline-grabbing acquittals, the right to
die with dignity is finally being placed where it belongs: in the
hands of the people.
"Slippery Slope" or Civil Right?
by Steve Hallock
The recent triumphs of the death-with-dignity movement
are a good thing—or are they? Across the political spectrum, a
number of pundits, doctors, lawyers, medical ethicists, and legal
scholars have joined the debate and examined the implications—pro
and con—of what has come to be called "the ultimate civil right."
Deadly Relics: The Global Land Mine
by Anton Foek
Land mines are a global plague: in some 64 countries,
an estimated 110 million active mines lay buried beneath the
soil. The human costs of these weapons are staggering: some 2,000
people are killed or mutilated by them every month, often long
after the fighting has ended. Can anything be done about these deadly
relics of past wars?
by Milton Goldin
It has been 10 years since the Chernobyl disaster—the
most devastating human-made environmental catastrophe in history. The
true scope of the destruction may never be known, but after a decade
of bungled relief efforts, corruption, and political opportunism, one
thing is certain: Chernobyl was a textbook example of how not
to handle a crisis.
Nuclear Industry Collapse Marks
by the Worldwatch Institute
One good thing came of Chernobyl: once the disaster
had demonstrated the potentially catastrophic drawbacks of nuclear
power, the industrial nations put their money into developing less
dangerous and more sustainable sources of energy.
On Islamic Fundamentalism
by Taslima Nasrin
The Cold War is over, but the next global conflict
will involve not two competing economic systems but, rather, two
competing zeitgeists—secularism and fundamentalism. Is the
twenty-first century destined to become the century of religious war?
And what can humanists do to stop it?
The Wound and the Covenant
by Melvin Seiden
A tourist in Aleppo munches his savory pistachios and
ponders the connections between Shakespeare's Othello, ritual
and taboo, the theory and practice of circumcision, and the
occasional ironies of cultural difference—and discovers that there
are more things in heaven and earth than he can comfortably fit into