Thursday, June 21, 2007

On June 21, ...

... 1947 (60 years ago today), Shirin Ebadi (left) was born in Hamedan in the northwest part of Iran. She's served as a judge and as an attorney for decades. For her courageous efforts on behalf of "democracy and human rights," especially on "the rights of women and children," Ebadi received the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. (Susan Tiefenbrun's paper "The Semiotics of Women's Human Rights in Iran" analyzes the efforts of Ebadi and others.) Ebadi's work continues; currently she represents Haleh Esfandiari, an Iranian-American arrested for espionage while in Iran to visit her mother.
... 2007 (today), the sun stands still. Well, not quite, but that's the notion at the root of the word "solstice." It's Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, where the sun shines longer than on any other day; south of the equator things are reversed, and it's Winter Solstice. Across time and culture the event has been cause for magical celebration: In Midsummer's Night Dream, it was on this day that the ensorcelled Queen Titania danced with a donkey. (painting by Henry Fuseli, circa 1790)

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