Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

HCR -- Hansen's Disease (Leprosy), a history lesson

By John Ballard

One of my guilty pleasures in retirement is allowing myself time for contemplation and reflection. Weekends without assignments are especially satisfying because barring some unscheduled disaster or emergency, even the news cycle seems to calm down for the weekend. This morning, thanks to a link at 3 Quarks Daily, I allowed myself to watch and learn about a classic film by Forough Farrokhzad, a gifted young Persian woman, a poet and film-maker, killed in a car crash in 1967 at the age of 32. It's only twenty minutes long, but I realized as I watched how seldom I allow myself to calm down long enough to absorb time-consuming artistic creations. Listening to the radio as I drive is second-nature for me. But that's not the same as deliberately sitting alone with a monitor and getting focused on something as simple as a video.

200px-Foroogh[1]The House is Black is an acclaimed Iranian documentary short film directed by Forough Farrokhzad.

The film is a look at life and suffering in a leper colony and focuses on the human condition and the beauty of creation. It is spliced with Farrokhzad's narration of quotes from the Old Testament, the Koran and her own poetry. It was the only film she directed before her death in 1967. During the shooting she became attached to a child of two lepers, whom she later adopted.

Although the film attracted little attention outside Iran when released, it has since been recognised as a landmark in Iranian film. Reviewer Eric Henderson described the film; "One of the prototypal essay films, The House is Black paved the way for the Iranian New Wave.

As a medical corpsman in Korea in the Sixties I heard one of the doctors mention that getting an assignment to Korea at that time was a good opportunity to see first-hand a few medical problems that would not likely be seen in the US. Aside from military trauma, he mentioned skin disorders, specifically Hansen's Disease, which has all but vanished in the US. The remnants of a leper colony remain in Hawaii and there is a place in Carville, Louisiana called the Carville Leprosarium, now home to a handful of people, but mostly a historic site. 

117729182.wMBTla0U[1]In 1916 Congress passed an Act whereby the United States Public Health Services took over the colony along with the Daughters of Charity. For over 100 years more than 5,000 leprosy patients were cared for at Carville and some 1,000 are buried at Carville. Many, many of them offered themselves as guinea pigs and took many experimental medicines hoping to find a cure. Once a person became a patient he or she stayed on the grounds for the rest of their lives. Children with the disease were brought to Carville, separated from their families and probably lived their entire life there. Though marriages were discouraged, many patients married each other and small cottages were built on the grounds for them to live. However, any children born of these marriages were immediately put in foster care, either in an institution for orphans or in private homes. Through the years the children could visit on Sunday to see their parents on the other side of the fence. Some of the stories are heartwrenching.

As you watch this film, be aware that although it is filmed at another time, in another place, the story is universal. Even today, although the circumstances and causes are not the same, many thousands of people live out their lives with conditions that are not all that different, living with hopes every bit as bleak. 

No comments:

Post a Comment