Some things just can’t be mediated.

April 28, 2008

I consider myself a realist who dabbles often in optimism. I do like to think that more often than not, a family can be transformed if all participants are willing to submit to their own self determination.

However this is the most horrific, psychotic, terrifying family situation I have ever read… ever:

Father confesses to sex dungeon horrors

The story is still developing, but it goes something like this:

Mr.F. has confessed to holding his daughter hostage for 24 years and fathering seven children by her.

A 73-year-old man has confessed to holding his daughter captive in his home cellar for nearly 24 years and fathering seven children by her, Austrian police say.

Mr. F. has confessed to imprisoning his daughter for 24 years and having seven children with her.

Austrian police spokesman Franz Polzer told CNN, the man, known as Mr. F., admitted holding his daughter hostage in a windowless cell in the basement of his home for more than two decades. (CNN)

Not surprisingly, the daughter, who is now 42-years-old, is extremely traumatized and having a difficult time talking about her ordeal.

It’s all weird because I took a final today in Ethical Dilemmas in Mediation. Aside from the fact that I rocked it, I can’t help but read this story from the point of view of what i learned concerning family mediation and the sensitive ethics involved. Obviously, here, there’s not much to do but skin this man alive.

I will point out the weird twist of fate that world-renown psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was born in Austria. If this incredibly fucked up father had done his homework, maybe he would have realized something about himself earlier…

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Turning ‘child labor’ into productive fun.

April 22, 2008

Back in February, I wrote about PlayPumps International, a water pump built like a playground toy so that while kids play they are pumping fresh water for their villages.

Well, I just found two more kids’ toys engineered for productive (and fun) “child labor”:

Hippo Water Roller:

I love this. Usually, when people (often children) from a village have to go off to collect water, they carry heavy buckets on their heads, weighing them down. Over time they end up injuring their backs and necks from the physical stress. The Hippo Water Roller is a 90-liter drum meant to be rolled along in a healthier position, with the weight shifted to the wheel of the drum. One side includes a screw-on cap for storing the water.

See-saw power:

A young product design student, Daniel Sheridan, has invented a see-saw to generate electricity when kids play on it. After volunteering in Kenya last summer, Daniel came up with this idea and designed the playground old familiar toy – the see-saw – to be a bit more productive.


Signs that a marriage will end in divorce.

April 17, 2008

I just found this article and thought it was interesting enough to share. I don’t know much about the rest of the site or what it’s worth, but there is plenty of truth in the article by Shanel Yang, a lawyer and writer:

4 Signs That A Marriage Will End In Divorce

“Experts found that there are four quick and easy, but reliable, signs that a marriage won’t last…

When all four of these signs exist, chances are very high that your marriage won’t last. And, these clues can be found in even the briefest arguments between married couples…

We can all improve our communication skills, especially when it comes to arguments. We can’t avoid all arguments, and we shouldn’t try. Relationships grow the most from conflict and healthy conflict resolution…” (source)

There have been studies done on the topic, and this article features a fairly calm and collected newlywed couple that exhibit the kinds of habits in their arguing (however brief or trivial) that tend to lead to the breakdown of relationships. And they aren’t necessarily violent, loud and dramatic habits.

I don’t want to give away the whole thing here, so this is just a summary of the four signs:

1. Defensiveness

2. Stonewalling

3. Criticising

4. Showing Contempt

There is a brief list of counseling tips at the end. Communication is the ultimate key to a quality relationship, and this would be a great place to start to get enlightened.


New Zealander prisoners and restorative justice.

April 15, 2008

A recent mediator blah… blah… blog post title caught my eye; apparently there is a demand in New Zealand for conducting restorative justice for prisoners and their victims, two-thirds of which is on the part of the prisoners.

I found this interesting – and you know what, not that surprising – after my recent visit to an Israeli prison in the center of Israel for a class trip. I’m glad I got the chance to meet prisoners face to face, so that reading this news story is way more real for me.


Coming to the end of the big bad Bar Ilan conflict.

April 9, 2008

This kind of passed by yesterday without much notice (until other people brought it up) but it was my last class at Bar Ilan. It’s possible I didn’t notice because I haven’t been to a class in two weeks; now c’mon, I had reasons for all the missed classes. Mainly that I’m so done with school. Subconsciously I was done two weeks ago.

It’s sad. I’m so not done with school, I’m so done with the Bar Ilan experience. I think I did pretty well to be positive and make the most of it. I’ve learned a lot about the field of conflict management and mediation, though a lot of it was self-taught and done through independent channels (including this blog and people I have ‘met’ through it so far).

Before I get all celebratory, I still have a lot of work to finish before I’m truly done with school: papers, a final, an internship, mediation certification. I plan for it all to be finished and handed in by the end of this summer. Then I can celebrate.


Arabs paint mosque blue and white for Israel’s 60th.

April 8, 2008

No, this is not a leftover April Fools’ Day joke:

Galilee Arabs paint mosque blue and white for Israel’s 60th

In an unusual gesture of solidarity for Israel’s 60th anniversary, villagers in one Arab-Israeli town have have painted the dome of their mosque in the national colors, blue and white.

The gesture in A-Taibeh, a village in the Galilee near the Gilboa, comes at a time when Arab-Jewish relations in the reason have been marked by tensions, and many Israeli Arabs have vowed to boycott the anniversary celebrations and commemorations. (Haaretz)

The mayor of the Israeli-Arab town had this to say:

“We are residents of Israel. Our religion encourages love and closeness among nations. Jews, Muslims, we are all cousins, right? …We decided to paint the mosque’s dome, the most important, dear, and holy site for us, in the national colors. We are all citizens of the state of Israel. As far as we are concerned, there is no difference here between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.”

Way to put it, dude. It is such a wonderful thing to read in the paper, especially when we’ve been getting hit with a lot of bad domestic news lately.


How can a mediator be both impartial and fair?

April 5, 2008

I’m spending my Saturday night writing a short paper for my course in Ethical Dilemmas in Mediation. The paper is covering an article by Susan Nauss Exon called, “How Can a Mediator Be Both Impartial and Fair?:
Why Ethical Standards of Conduct Create Chaos for Mediators.”

She makes a great point: The Standards of Conduct meant for mediators are either too vague or too restricting, depending on how you view them. Impartiality and fairness could be mutually exclusive one way, or totally  harmonious another.

On top of that, they are both difficult goals to attain, however necessary they might be. So shouldn’t that be resolved if mediators are truly having so  much trouble with it? Well, are they?