Posts Tagged ‘Leo Tolstoy’

Adoption is not like selling property. It is about safeguarding the future of a human being who, because of his young age, cannot express any opinion. We can see its roots in the Biblical era. Aristotle, the great philosopher; and Moses, the Biblican leader, were adopted. Leo Tolstoy, writer; Edgar Allan Poe, poet; Jean Jacques Rousseau, philosopher; and many others were adopted.

Even though adoptive parents are many, now the trend is adoption by many personalities and celebrities from the field of film — Angelina Jolie, Brooke Adams, Meg Ryan, Nicole Kidman, Sharon Stone, Tom Cruise, Stephen Speilberg, President Ronald Reagan and Walt Disney to name a few adopters. The trend to adopt children is on the rise. Pop diva Madonna adopted a 13-month-old boy, from Malawi. But rather than praise, the entire episode fetched her criticism. Already a mother of two children, with daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, she adopted David Banda, from an orphanage in Malawi. She along with her husband, film maker Guy Ritchie, successfully got an interim adoption order from the Malawi High Court. The world described her action as the “worst kept secret” and termed it as not only “deplorable” but also as “deceitful.” Her action has set off a media storm worldwide.

Though Malawian Law prohibits adoption by non-residents, it does not completely restrict it. It has set guidelines for inter-country adoptions by which people wishing to adopt children are required to spend 18-months being evaluated by Malawian Child Welfare Workers. They will interview the prospective adopters about their relationship, living conditions and past relationships. Despite the set rules, Madonna was able to adopt a child in just two weeks and prove right what George Orwell has said: “All (animals) are equal, but some (animals) are more equal than others”! Everyone can easily know that she doesn’t fulfill the set guidelines. Madonna’s life of erotic and pornographic dancing is an open secret and no one can ever forget her numerous dates.

When Madonna went to Africa, she vehemently denied that she wanted to adopt a child from there. She said that her visit was at the request of “Eye of the Child”, a child rights group in Malawi, which wanted her to fund existing programmes in the country to help vulnerable children. But
contrary to this, she came out of the country with a cute black child. Madonna pledged $3 million to a Malawi charity, which aims to provide care and support for the country’s one million (out of a total population of 12 million) orphans. The generosity of the “Material Girl” is not that big a deal, for her fortune is estimated to be $460 million. Even though she says she will give it a better life, in reality she’s not doing a favour to the child. The child needs a family not a saviour in the form of a celebrity. The money spent on the adoption and the child himself could have been spent to help many other children in Malawi.

But the action of celebrities is just an example of the power of their rampant ego. Actress Mia Farrow has adopted 10 children from developing countries since 1970s. Then Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were also planning to adopt a child, and this time an Indian baby. The couple who are in India for filming Jolie’s latest movie, A Mighty Heart based on Daniel Pearl, journalist of Wall Street Journal, hoped to be able to return home with an adopted Indian child by Christmas. “Whichever they end up with, boy or girl, they’d like to name the child “India” to honour its homeland, reported US magazine Globe.

Jolie and Pitt had three children already — Maddox, adopted from a Cambodian orphanage in 2002, Zahara Marley Jolie, Ethiopian baby girl, adopted in 2005, and their biological daughter Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, who was born in May, 2006. Jolie had quoted in the past, “I want to create a rainbow family, that’s children of different religions and cultures from different countries.”

Only Madonna could answer questions like why she did not adopt a child who was an orphan and why she didn’t pledge to personally support David’s father and other remaining family members to get David out of an orphanage so that he remained in Malawi. Madonna could spend a part of her fortune on poor and developing countries if she really wanted to help them. There is no second opinion that she could not do it. While everyone is concerned about adoption, has anyone thought about the emotional problems which it faces as it starts growing up? Jolie referred to the “Rainbow Family” of different cultures and colours. But at the end, they will be left with only with original complexion and not their original culture. All the adopted children will be brought up in a Western milieu and there will be no space for ethnicity or roots. They will become alien to both the countries and cultures. Jolie wants to have a family with different cultures but in reality, will it be possible to retain the original culture? If so, the children may fight over their complexion — dark versus light.

Family bonding is also different from that enjoyed in the developing and poor countries. The warmth and so-called affection found in a close knit family may become a hindrance in their growth and emotional set-up. A mother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart, but when asked in the television interview if Madonna would retire to focus on her children full time, she replied, “No. I love my job.”

When the celebrities are thronging the under developed countries to adopt children, Harvey Gallagher of the “British Association for Adopting and Fostering” said in an interview to CNN, “There are many children who have benefited from inter-country adoption, but we would like to remind people that there are also as many as 4,000 children across the UK right now who are waiting for permanent and loving homes.”

Let celebrities adopt and give a new life to children, but let them adopt from their own countries. If they really mean to help the poor orphans in the under-developed countries, let them part with a small portion of their fortune and help children to retain their roots in their own mother land.

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I found some strange stories about Nobel laureates.

1. Robert Lucas is winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in economics for his work on the theory of “rational expectations,” split his $1 million prize with his ex-wife.

Robert Lucas

Robert Lucas

If there were a Nobel Prize for Foresight or Timing, she should be nominated, based on a clause in their divorce settlement from seven years earlier: “Wife shall receive 50 per cent of any Nobel Prize.” The clause expired on October 31, 1995. Had Lucas won any year after, he would have kept the whole million.

2. Physicist Lise Meitner, whose work helped lead to the discovery of nuclear fission, was reportedly nominated for the Nobel Prize 13 times without ever winning (though nominations are kept secret, so we don’t know for sure).

Lise Meitner

Lise Meitner

This makes her the Dynasty of the Nobel Prize scene — that show was nominated for 24 Emmy Awards but never won. Other analogies we’d accept: The Color Purple (11 Oscar nominations in 1985, no wins), the Buffalo Bills or Minnesota Vikings (4 Super Bowl losses each without a victory) and William Jennings Bryan (three-time Democratic nominee for President, losing twice to McKinley and once to Taft.)

3. People who refused the Nobel Prize:

(i) Le Duc Tho was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize with Henry Kissinger for their roles in brokering a Vietnam cease fire at the Paris Peace Accords.

Le Duc Tho

Le Duc Tho

 Le Duc Tho with Henry Kissinger

Le Duc Tho with Henry Kissinger

Citing the absence of actual peace in Vietnam, Tho declined to accept.

(ii) Jean Paul Sartre waved off the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Jean Paul Sartre

Jean Paul Sartre

His explanation: “It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner. A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form.”

(iii) Afraid of Soviet retribution if he travelled to Stockholm to claim his prize, Boris Pasternak declined to accept the 1958 Prize in Literature, which he’d earned for Doctor Zhivago.

Boris Pasternak

Boris Pasternak

The Academy refused his refusal. “This refusal, of course, in no way alters the validity of the award. There remains only for the Academy, however, to announce with regret that the presentation of the Prize cannot take place.” Yevgeny Pasternak accepted the prize on behalf of his deceased father in 1989.

(iv) Swedish poet Erik Axel Karlfeldt won Nobel for Literature in 1918.

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

Erik Axel Karlfeldt

He did not accept because he was secretary of the Swedish Academy, which awards the prize. He was given the award posthumously in 1931. This was allowed because the nomination was made before Karlfeldt died — no candidate may be proposed after death.

4. In 2007, 90-year-old professor Leonid Hurwicz became the oldest person to ever win (one-third of the Prize in Economics); at 87,

Leonid Hurwiczwriter Doris Lessing became the oldest woman (Literature).

 Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing

5. DNA expert Kary Mullis — 1993 winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry — was scheduled to be a defense witness in O.J. Simpson’s murder trial.

Kary Mullis

Kary Mullis

However, Simpson’s lawyer Barry Scheck felt the prosecution’s DNA case was already essentially destroyed, and he didn’t want Mullis’ personal life to distract jurors (he’d expressed an affinity for LSD.)

6. Big names who never won:

Dmitri Mendeleev, Leo Tolstoy, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Mark Twain, Gertrude Stein, Henrik Ibsen, Joan Robinson, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Jules-Henri Poincaré, Raymond Damadian and Mahatma Gandhi.

Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev

Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein

Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

James Joyce

James Joyce

Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson

 Jules-Henri Poincaré

Jules-Henri Poincaré

Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla

Raymond Damadian

Raymond Damadian

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

7. Winners without the greatest reputations:

(i) Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, who won in 1976 for his research in human slow-virus infections, spent 19 months in jail after pleading guilty in 1997 to charges of child molestation.

Daniel Carleton Gajdusek

Daniel Carleton Gajdusek

(ii) Johannes Fibiger won in 1926 after discovering parasitic worms cause cancer — a breakthrough that turned out to not be true.

Johannes Fibiger

Johannes Fibiger

(iii) Yasser Arafat shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.

Yasser Arafat

Yasser Arafat

Shimon Peres

Shimon Peres

This decision caused Nobel Committee member Kare Kristiansen to resign.

Yitzhak Rabin

Yitzhak Rabin

“What consequences will result,” he asked at the time, “when a terrorist with such a background is awarded the world’s most prestigious prize?”

(iv) William Shockley won for Physics in 1956 for his role in the invention of the semiconductor, but his support of the eugenics movement alienated the scientific community.

William Shockley

William Shockley

Shockley also donated sperm to the Repository for Germinal Choice, a sperm bank developed to spread humanity’s best genes.

8. As part of his divorce settlement, Einstein’s Nobel Prize money went to his ex-wife, Mileva Maric.

Mileva Maric with einstein

Mileva Maric with einstein

9. The Curie family is a Nobel Prize machine, winning five: Pierre and Marie for Physics in 1901;

Pierre Curie with Marie

Pierre Curie with Marie

Marie solo for Chemistry in 1911; daughter Irene and her husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie for Chemistry in 1935;

Frédéric Joliot with Irene Curie

Frédéric Joliot with Irene Curie

and Henry Labouisse — Irene’s daughter Eve’s second husband — accepted on behalf of UNICEF in 1965. No family has won more.

Henry Labouisse (left)

Henry Labouisse (left)

10. Marie Curie’s second prize was marred by a scandal. Then a widow, Curie had an affair with a married scientist, Paul Langevin — a former pupil of Pierre Curie.

 Paul Langevin

Paul Langevin

Love letters were involved, eventually leading to a duel between Langevin and the editor of the newspaper that had printed them (no shots were actually fired.) According to NobelPrize.org, when it was suggested that Curie not accept the prize, she wrote a shrewd letter, “which pointed out that she had been awarded the Prize for her discovery of radium and polonium, and that she could not accept the principle that appreciation of the value of scientific work should be influenced by slander concerning a researcher’s private life.”

11. Singing support — While there’s no evidence the Nobel judges can be swayed by theme songs, that hasn’t stopped Loriana Lana from composing one for Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

 Loriana Lana

Loriana Lana

“Peace Can” includes the lyrics, “Silvio forever will be / Silvio is reality / Silvio forever! /Silvio gives us trust.”

12. Alfred Nobel — inventor of dynamite — may have been inspired to create the Nobel Prize after a premature obituary in a French newspaper called him a “merchant of death.”

Alfred Nobel

Alfred Nobel

13. Nobel died on December 10, 1896. The formal awards ceremony is held in Stockholm each year on the anniversary of his death. The first awards show took place on December 10, 1901.

Pics courtesy: Google