(PINA/IFEX) – Censors in Samoa banned Milk, a movie, based on the life of gay activist Harvey Milk, which won a best actor Oscar for Sean Penn.
Principal censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui confirmed the censorship board rejected an application for DVDs of Milk to be distributed in movie stores but refused to give a reason, the New Zealand Herald reported on its website.
“There are rules and guidelines for these things” said Faaui.
The report quoted Ken Moala, a well-known human rights activist in Samoa,
as saying, “I do not think it should be banned. It is basically a documentary about the human endeavour to conquer something that people tend to discriminate against.”
“It’s about vulnerable groups, how they are often marginalised, and they have every right to be part of society, especially in becoming public servants or figure heads in society,” he added.
Every few days I get a letter from a person (usually a man, though sometimes a woman) telling me about the human rights violations they are experiencing. Sometimes is the government broadcasting thoughts into their minds, where they’d installed a microchip, sometimes it’s being poisoned, sometimes it’s being persecuted by government officials. There are many other variations, stories that don’t even make internal sense. I also get them on the mail, sometimes from foreign countries. My friend Thierry, an Argentine psychologists, explained to me that in their reality, what they are experiencing are clear human rights violations and the logical place to go to is a human rights organization. I expect groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch get these complaints by the thousands.
Once in a great while, the story I get is plausible, and then I treat it seriously. Otherwise, I just delete or archive the letters, knowing that there is nothing I could say that would help the situation. Indeed, some of these people are aware of their mental problems, having been in and out of hospitals for years.
What I hadn’t considered until recently, is that these individuals could pose a danger, to me, perhaps, or to others. The letter of the gunman who killed 13 peple in Binghamton a couple of days ago, sounds very much like the e-mails and letters I get.
I have to admit that I have never given too much thought to the issue of mental illness and forced treatment. My instincts go against it but… a some quick online research shows that there seems to be a relationship between schizophrenia and violence, and the deeper the psychosis, the greater likelihood of violence. And if you think about it, it makes sense, if you are being persecuted, at some point you need to defend yourself. And to the point that psychosis makes you irritable, it’ll make you more likely to react badly to others. But a mere potential of violence should not be a reason to incarcerate or hospitalize someone. But…
Shouldn’t a person who suffers of psychosis at least be given the opportunity to make a rational decision about whether to medicate themselves? And can they possibly make that decision if they are not medicated?
Below, there is the letter from the gunman, and a letter I’ve received.
KORHOGO, 30 March 2009 (IRIN) – Women in villages around Korhogo, northern Côte d’Ivoire, dare not walk to their fields alone for fear of rape.
“Women are attacked even with their babies on their backs,” said Fatoumata (real names not used). “The attacker just goes for what he is after and that is that. The baby could even die.”
Women gathered at a health centre in Korhogo, 630km north of the commercial capital Abidjan, told IRIN women are frequently raped as they walk to and from their fields.