DEATH ROW – Angola, Louisiana State PENITENTIARY

The world continued to move toward abolition in 2009. The number of countries that have removed capital punishment entirely from their laws rose to 95 as Burundi and Togo abolished the death penalty for all crimes. While 58 countries retained the death penalty, most did not use it. Eighteen countries were known to have carried out executions, killing a total of 714 people. The United States came fourth in rank, after China, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, with 52 executions.

However, this figure does not include the thousands of executions that were likely to have taken place in China, which again refused to divulge figures on its use of the death penalty. In fact, since the outcries of the international community has become more fervent, certain countries still mantain the executions secret. This mostly happens were the press is muted.

Many humanitarian associations fight daily to abolish a nation’s right to decide the life, and the death, of their citizens. Among the most important are Amnesty International and Hands Off Cain. To help make change is easy, sometimes it’s enough to spread the word to open the eyes of those whom do not want to see.

More information about humanitarian organizations: The Moratorium CampaignDerechos.

Many more links: 1000+ Death Penalty Links.

Some reading suggestions:

– The Green Mile, a novel by Stephen King

– Dead Man Walking, a novel by Sister Helen Prejean

– Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House, by Scott Christianson, Director of New York Death Penalty Documentation Project

– Against the Death Penalty: Christian and Secular Arguments Against Capital Punishment , by Gardner C. Hanks

– Cell 2455, Death Row, by Caril Chessman inmate; an insider view.

FLOPHOUSE – a photo book by HARWEY WANG

FLOPHOUSE

Life on the Bowery

photography by Harvey Wang, text by David Isay and Stacy Abramson

“This book takes you places you don’t want to enter, to people you don’t want to meet, to lives you think you don’t want to live – and makes you rethink all your assumptions. It reveals the tremendous strenght and humanity ot those who are usually ignored. And as you pay attention, your own humanity expands.”

Susan Stamberg, special correspondent, NPR

Flophouse is not a place where you want to live. You might get a Manhattan address for something like 10-15 bucks per night, but it’s not glamorous at all. You’ll be on the Bowery, with no A/C, with bedbugs, with a cubicle as a bedroom and chicken wire up above your head to give you privacy. But you’ll still hear farts, burps and nightmare’s screams from your fellows: the flop mates.

So, why do you want to live in a Flophouse? I don’t really want to go there, but, was it that your lady kicked you out of the shack ‘cause you were drunk all the time, or you couldn’t stand the Midwest any longer and then found that New York fucking City is too much for you, or you want to feel totally free since nobody gives you a damn on the Bowery.

Come, come on here, come to rest on the warm and soft belly of the City, come to where you’ll be yourself, time stands still and life get suspended.

And be nice, pose for the photographer. He’s shooting faces, places. He’s shooting souls throught the eyes, he’s telling your life in a pic, he’s making it rich and interesting. Because, you know, you might be a flop, but you have full hands of humanity to give.

Michele Molinari

all images © Harvey Wang

Buy Flophouse.

LYMPHOMA and not being IMMORTAL

At the age of 30 you think you’re immortal. Cars, girls, boys, beach, whatever … sometimes a school book. Then, one day, you emerge from the booze related cloud and you’ve a swollen lymph node on the left side of the neck. What the heck is this? You go for a series of medical checks and, the day before Pope John Paul II is declared dead, somebody with a white coat makes you sit and then opens you the door to an unknown, unexpected, unpleasant, parallel, grey world. It’s called disease, and from now on you’ve an Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Congrats.

Days pass and the grey gets darker. But the ever classic light switches on at the end of the tunnel when the moment for the bone marrow transplant approaches. Hold your breath, you’re almost done, soon life gets back to its technicolor magnificence.

Living with Lymphoma: A patient’s Guide.

Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma: Treatment and Research.

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