Have a flick through this week’s biggest stories, curated by Vera Kjellberg.
Prior to its first airing in December, few knew about the escape and capture of the 32-year-old daughter of the ruler of Dubai that this documentary details, sparking controversy about a city that is rapidly developing to the social and economic heights of London, New York and Paris. Princess Latifa bin Mohammed Al Maktoum had been planning her escape to India by boat for over seven years before being returned, echoing the mystery of her older sister Shamsa, who disappeared from Cambridge in 2000 after fleeing the family’s mansion. Both suggest systematic imprisonment and surveillance, which in turn reveal a more unsettling side to their seemingly likeable and good-natured father Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Gabriela Brimmer, a Mexican woman of Jewish descent, was born with cerebral palsy in 1947 when there was little concrete knowledge of the condition. Her family was told she would categorically not live past the age of ten and would likely never manage to communicate. In fact, Gaby lived until fifty-two, published numerous poems, and co-wrote an autobiography and a film about her life. With support from her life-long caregiver Florencia Sanchez Morales, Gaby learnt to point to letters on an ‘alphabet board’ and eventually type on a typewriter (which she nicknamed ‘Che’ after Che Guevara) with her left foot- her only mobile body part. She received only a limited education from an elementary school for disabled pupils- a marked disadvantage considering the stigma around disabilities in the 1950s which caused under-funding and few appropriate resources. However, Gabriela and her family soon began to campaign for public high schools to accommodate Gaby, who passed their entrance exams with almost no suitable teaching. To overcome stubborn school authorities who initially rejected Gaby, her mother Sari shared works of Gaby’s poetry until they grudgingly admitted her as a student. After graduating high school, she was accepted into the National Autonomous University- easily one of the most selective and respected universities in Mexico, to study sociology on a social and political sciences course. Florencia accompanied her loyally, interpreting her communication during lectures and helping her move around campus, even carrying her and her wheelchair up flights of stairs.
Human beings undeniably discuss engage in discussions about ethics and morality on a daily basis, often without even realising it. From something trivial, like whether or not it’s ‘right’ to borrow your friend’s pen without asking, to passing moral judgement on those we see accused of horrific crimes like murder or assault, we cannot avoid the topic of morality. It does however beg the question: do these conversations have any real meaning behind them? Or are we simply expressing emotion that adds absolutely nothing to the objective narrative of events? Is it at all possible for something to be ‘right’ or ‘wrong’?