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Kwame Appiah: Honour ended slavery but produced killings in its name

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Ghanaian philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah says, honour differs from morality in not being essentially good or bad but can create a sense of shame which lead to positive outcomes like an end to slavery and colonialism, but also to negative phenomenon such as “honour” killings.

Appiah, a professor of law and philosophy at the New York University, said in an interview, “Honour is different from morality. Morality is what holds you responsible and honour is something other people have a stake in. It has its bad side which we cannot get rid of, but it can be a force, or a tool, for good too,”.

“Concern over national honour can lead to changing a country or society for the better,” said the author of “The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen” which deals majorly with three changes — the ends of foot-binding in China, the slavery trade in the Western world and duelling in England — that came through moral shifts.

Appiah, who was here for the Jaipur Literature Festival, argues that it was a “sense of shame” at sullying of national honour that brought an end to these practices like foot-binding, or extremely tight binding of young girls’ feet to prevent further growth as a sign of “beauty” and “high status”, when the Chinese found what other people thought about it.

“Then it was the British who ran the slave trade but attitudes towards it were changing. During the American Revolution, when the colonists said they were asking for freedom, the British retorted by asking them about the slaves they had and the question of their freedom,” he said, noting both sides sought to “shame each other”.

Appiah, who is a grandson of leading British statesman Sir Stafford Cripps of the Labour Party, contends it was a “sense of honour” that made Britain stop the slave trade. “The honour of the British was at stake after people like (abolitionist William) Wilberforce called it a national shame and disgrace, they stopped the slave trade (in the early 1800s) and then abolished slavery altogether (in the 1830s).”

It took a much longer time for America to realise that slavery and racial discrimination were wrong, he said. “Slave-owners had sought to cover up by claiming how happy their slaves were.”

Appiah also says it was this “shame” that helped end colonialism, which entailed a “psychology of dishonour” for the colonial subject.

“It was a psychology of dishonour for the inhabitants of the colonised countries who lost respect in their own countries. There was a social order of respect which changed to another order in which they were looked with contempt,” he said.

In the case of British India, this was true for Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Jawaharlal Nehru despite all their achievements, and in the case of his Ghana, it was the question of primitive rights.

Appiah, whose focus is on moral revolutions, notes that revolutions, in the classic sense require a big change in a small time, related to political revolutions like the French Revolution but moral and lifestyle revolutions were different, especially in their time frames.

The difference is that lifestyle revolutions runs with new ideas or a big leap in morality while moral ones, like gender equality and the abolition of slavery, have arguments already in place, and the problem is not about changing minds but changing habits, he said.

On the flip side, Appiah says that honour can be against morality and can lead to acts like “honour killings” despite the perpetrators knowing their actions are morally wrong.

“Honour killings”, a feature of patriarchal societies, are resorted to by those who are morally weak and the motivation for it is the shame, which stems from honour, rather than guilt, which is moral, he said.

Appiah however, said that despite being seen most in the Middle East and South Asia, it was important not to dismiss it as a “Muslim, or Arab thing”. He added that it was also seen in modern Europe, including a “weird” case in Italy in the 1960s though it had not involved killing.

He said laws were needed against this phenomenon, but the real deterrent was only moral change

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Women Living in Countries with Gender Equality have better Cognitive Test Scores: Study

A research on how gender equality affects women's cognitive functioning?

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Countries with gender equality have women with better cognitive functioning
Countries with gender equality have women with better cognitive functioning. Pixabay
  • The findings indicate women’s cognitive functioning past middle age can get affected with the degree of gender equality in the country in which they are living
  • This research is a first attempt to shed light on important, but understudied, adverse consequences of gender inequality on women’s health in later life
  • Sweden came out as a country with the highest female advantage in cognitive performance and Ghana as the country with the highest male advantage

Washington D.C. (USA), August 2, 2017: The results of one of its kind study highlighted the ill effects of gender inequality on women’s health in later life.

The findings indicate women’s cognitive functioning (cerebral activities that lead to knowledge, including all means and mechanisms of acquiring information like reasoning, memory, attention, and language that can lead directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge) past middle age can get affected with the degree of gender equality in the country in which they are living.

According to the ANI Report, researcher, and lead author on the study, Eric Bonsang, explains,  “This research is a first attempt to shed light on important, but understudied, adverse consequences of gender inequality on women’s health in later life.” He holds a Ph.D., of University Paris-Dauphine and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Bonsang said that it shows that women living in countries with gender equality have better cognitive test scores later in life when compared to women living in gender-unequal societies. Moreover, in countries that became more sensitive to gender equality over time, women’s cognitive performance improved relative to male counterparts.

ALSO READ: Gender Equality Charter Soon to be Launched in India


The researchers analyzed the cognitive performance data of participants aged between 50 and 93, drawn from multiple nationally representative surveys such as the US Health and Retirement Study, Europe’s Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, and the World Health Organization Study on Global Ageing and Adult Health. When all the above-mentioned surveys were taken together, they provided data for a total of 27 countries.

Bonsang and his colleagues Vegard Skirbekk of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and Ursula Staudinger, director of the Columbia Aging Center noted that the difference in men’s and women’s scores on cognitive tests had wide variation across countries.

In Northern European countries, women tend to perform better than men on memory tests, while it’s the opposite case with several Southern European countries. “This observation triggered our curiosity to try to understand what could cause such variations across countries,” said Ursula Staudinger, Ph.D., who is also Robert N. Butler Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.

Also Read: Gender Equality: When will women be treated on par with men?

 

Though economic and socioeconomic factors are likely to play a crucial role, Bonsang, Skirbekk, and Staudinger also studied about sociocultural factors such as attitudes about gender roles and if that might also contribute to the variation seen in gender differences in cognitive performance around the world.

The hypothesis was that the women who live in a society with Orthodox attitudes about gender roles would likely to be having lesser access to opportunities for education and employment and would, thus, show lower cognitive performance later in life compared with men of the same age.

All of the surveys included an episodic memory task to measure cognitive performance. Participants were asked to respond to a list of 10 words and were asked to recall as many words as they could immediately; in some surveys, participants were asked to recall the words after a delay also. In addition, some surveys included a task given in order to assess executive function in which participants were asked to name as many animals as they could within one minute.

To examine gender-role attitudes, the researchers focused on participants’ self-reported agreement with the statement- “When jobs are scarce, men should have more right to a job than women.”

Overall, the data showed considerable variation in gender differences and resulting cognitive performance based on it, across different countries. In some countries, women outperformed men; Sweden came out as a country with the highest female advantage in cognitive performance. But in other countries, men outperformed women; In Ghana, the male advantage was the highest.

The researchers hypothesized was proven true that women in countries with less traditional attitudes were likely to have better cognitive performance later in life compared to women in more traditional countries.

Bonsang and his colleagues also noted a good point that changes in gender-role attitudes within a country over time were associated with changes in women’s cognitive performance relative to men.

“Although the data have a correlation, several more detailed examination point towards a causal relationship. The analysis also suggests that gender-role attitudes may play a notable role in important outcomes for women across different countries,” according to the researchers.

Bonsang said, “These findings strengthened the need for policies aiming at reducing gender inequalities as we show that consequences go beyond the labor market and income inequalities.” He also said that it also shows how important it is to take in notice that seemingly intangible influences, such as cultural attitudes and values, when trying to understand cognitive aging.”

The finding of the above research is published online in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


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Indian Government helping to Develop Homeopathic Education and Treatment in Ghana

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Indian Government helping to Develop Homeopathic Education and Treatment in Ghana. Wikimedia

– by Francis Kokutse

Accra, July 20, 2017: The Indian government is partnering with a Ghanaian company to build capacity of the country’s professionals in providing homeopathic education and treatment and recently sent two experts from the Ministry of Ayush to train doctors and staff at the company’s chain of C4C Hospitals. This health and wellness article will help people to look forward to the initiative taken by the Indian government.

“We would be ready to assist through capacity-building — be it in the form of visiting experts or through extra-curricular or sub-technical advice,” Indian High Commissioner Birender Singh Yadav said of the initiative, which could also see the hospital chain expand into other West African nations.

During their stay in Ghana, the two Indian homeopathic experts visited the Presidency where they met Minister of Health Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who promised that the ministry was ready to collaborate with the Indian government and the C4C Hospitals to promote homeopathic healthcare and education in Ghana.

The team also met the heads of the various departments of the National Professional Board For Techinical Examinations (NABPTEX) to discuss how to incorporate homeopathic education into the curriculum of the Technical Universities in Ghana.

“Officials of NABPTEX expressed their readiness to collaborate so that homeopathy can be taught in all their institutions, starting with a pilot scheme at the Accra Technical University for the award the Higher National Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine for graduates of the C4C Homeopathic Medical College,” C4C Hospitals Director Michael Kojo Kyeremateng told IANS.

The C4C chain has 10 branches in all the 10 regional capitals of the nation and some districts to make homeopathy accessible to all Ghanaians.

Kyeremateng, an Indian-trained Ghanaian alternative medical practitioner, has been recognised by the Indian government and the Ministry of Ayush for his passion and zeal in promoting education and homeopathic treatment in Ghana.

He recently represented Africa at the International Convention On World Homeopathy Day in New Delhi organised by the Ministry of Ayush.

Under the terms of assistance to the C4C Hospitals, “Indian experts would provide training for a continuous professional development programme for C4C staffers to enhance their practice and to lecture to the students of the homeopathic medicine college,” Kyeremateng explained.

He said the C4C Hospitals has signed an signed academic MOUs with two Indian entities –Vadodara’s Parul University and Kolkata’s IBAM Academy — to promoting homeopathic education and alternative system of medicine for Ghanaians through the C4C Homeopathic Medical College.

In line with this, the C4C Homeopathic Medical College will send its students to india for one year after three years of studies in Ghana for academic and practical training, for a joint degree awarded by the Parul University. There is also a programme to provide distance education for those who want to study any alternative system of medicine with the IBAM Academy.

In addition, Kyeremateng said the company is also venturing into the West Africa region by establishing homeopathic hospitals and had taken the lead to introduce a Homeopathic Health Insurance Policy to make homeopathy affordable to all Ghanaians in the region. (IANS)

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Ghana hosts Indian Film Festival to motivate Ghanaian filmmakers

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Image source: www.accraexpat.com

Accra, Ghana: A film festival in Accra has made Ghanaian filmmakers optimistic of possible collaborations with their Indian counterparts to learn from their experiences, leading film producer Socrates Safo has said.

“We are keen and would want to collaborate with our counterparts in the Indian film industry to produce films for the international market,” Safo told IANS.

“We know they have vast experience in film production that we can tap into, but we are yet to make the approach. The time has come for collaboration to begin and once it starts, we believe it would be a long-lasting cooperative effort,” Safo added.

“Indian films have been popular in the country and since we have also started an industry that is growing there is nothing wrong in forging a relationship,” Safo said after the Indian high commission in Accra opened the three-day film festival on April 2.

Before the festival, there has been renewed growth in the interest in Indian films across the country as televisions stations have started broadcasting these films with local language sub-titles.

Safo informed a Ghanaian filmmaker had already started finishing work on a film produced with Indian actors who spoke in one of the country’s main local languages, “Twi”.

The high commission said the idea behind the film festival was to increase the bond of friendship between the people of the two countries. “Ghanaian friends are not strangers to Indian cinema.”

“For decades, Indian movies have been shown in cinema halls across the country. There are many cultural facets reflected through Indian cinema which receive an emotional response from Ghanaian friends because of the expansive cultural affinities between the two peoples despite geographical distance.”

Among some of the films shown were “Chalte Chalte”, “Paheli” and “Sholay” with sub-titles in English.(IANS)

One response to “Ghana hosts Indian Film Festival to motivate Ghanaian filmmakers”

  1. This is really good to hear that Indian films have made a mark over the world. More such steps should be taken to inspire filmmakers and promote good Indian films

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