A different kind of discussion about Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen is not a joke. His disease is fatal. The fact that the media has put him in the position of power is simply called "enabling" and it must stop. Only one article I've seen lately even hints at the enabling caused by the running-jokes about his demise.

The owners of a popular 12 Step Recovery Website have had their moment making a point of cashing in on Charlie Sheen's meltdown, making me wonder who ISN'T interested in watching this travesty occur before our very eyes.

My discussion on that forum was obviously so clearly stated that it was censored. Even other addicts seem to want to watch the meltdown. How telling the response is to the owners' dedication to free thought on the site.

Maybe America likes to watch melt-downs. Perhaps people with less money think it's interesting to watch a man who seemingly has everything go off the deep end in a spiral of drugs, alcohol, sex addiction and just plain mania. Whatever the reason, a clear word must be said about making fun of this tragedy.


Craig Ferguson has it right. Here's an example of socially-conscious reporting. On a Late-Night Talk Show.

A Casualty

Sheen is just one more casualty in the war on drugs and the media's fascination with celebrity and absurdity. Whatever the reason, this man is very very sick. As a person with the same disease (addiction) I cannot go on watching him become the butt of every one's jokes.

Absolutely — his words have been filled with self-centeredness and his actions show an obsessive and compulsive denial of even being an addict. That is the definition of addiction. Kissing it off to "no one can get help unless they want it" has proved to be a fallacy. Watch a few episodes of "Intervention" to know that the bottoming out process can be lovingly pointed out and orchestrated by those who truly love and care for the addict.

The man might have bi-polar disorder. He certainly looks as if he is close to death. The producer of the hit show that was just canceled as a result of Sheen's antics is one of the few people who have shown they will no longer stand by and watch him crash and burn. The intervention started at that very moment by a man who has obviously seen his share of enabling and co-dependence.

Thank you to the honesty of this Hollywood mover-and-shaker who realized his only chance at getting help for Sheen was to cut the cord.

Martin Sheen has been open about his own struggle with the disease and should know quite well that there is a road to death by this disease and there is a road back called recovery. What I ask now is "Where are the family members? When are they going to step in?" The shame of having an addict in the family can only be measured by how far the family will go to get the addict help. Sheens? Where are you? Do you feel the need to step away from Charlie as he goes through his own personal hell?

I remember reading about and watching Martin Sheen melt down in an early scene in "Apocalypse Now" when he was obviously very drunk and allowed to go the extreme lengths of self-destruction to shoot that scene and to show the horror of a man and his demons. At least M. Sheen was able to see on screen just exactly what meltdown looks like as the director and editor chose to leave the horrific drunken rage in the film, even after being physically attacked during the shooting.

There are no high priced directors and big money backers watching Charlie Sheen melt down. There are only people who will either cheer him on or walk away from him.

This addict embraces her brother in the fellowship of recovery just as much as I embraced Rush Limbaugh into the family. Was that hard to do? No. Did I get a ridiculous amount of flack for supporting him. You bet.

But had it not been for those who stood by me while I was going down and telling me they would not watch me kill myself I would not be here today to write about and for any person enduring this disease. Laugh if you want. But know that there were a great deal of people who enjoyed watching the beheading of Royalty in Britain and the Colosseum spectacles in Rome.

Question is, what does you heart tell you? If you care about your fellow human being, I pray you will stop all Sheen jokes as you hear them being told and remind the joke teller that life and death are no joking matter.

Getting Help

Praying for you Mr. Sheen. May that the next article I read about you not be an obituary. Here's a link you might be interested in... Get Help for Charie Sheen!

genderandmilitarism: The Trials of Pinar Selek

The Trials of Pinar Selek

by Cynthia Cockburn

Pinar Selek, Turkish feminist and antimilitarist writer and activist, framed on a charge of terrorism, has been the subject of an unresolved legal process for twelve years. On 9 February 2011 she was acquitted for the third time in an Istanbul court. Next day the prosecution appealed for the third time to the Supreme Court to over-rule the finding.This is not justice but judicial bullying.

The experiences of Pinar Selek at the hands of the Turkish judicial system defy understanding. I have just returned from the February 9 hearing of her case in the Istanbul Court. The charge against her is implication in a deadly bomb explosion. The sentence called for is a life term in solitary. I attended the hearing as a representative of War Resisters International, one of a score of international ‘observers’, including several Members of the European Parliament and a representative of Human Rights Watch.

We joined Pinar’s supporters, friends and relatives in the tightly packed public gallery. We watched as the presiding judge heard a cursory presentation of old evidence, retired to deliberate for fifteen minutes, and returned to pronounce the few words necessary to acquit Pinar. There was singing and dancing outside the court as we celebrated the removal of the threat hanging over Pinar. We phoned her in her exile in Germany and said “Come home and join the party tonight, Pinar!” Fortunately, wisely, she hesitated to do so. Twenty-four hours later we were confounded and dismayed to hear that the prosecution had appealed to the Supreme Court for a retrial.

So what is this all about? In 1998, Pinar, then a young feminist sociologist, seeking to understand the motivations of both sides in the enduring armed conflict between the Kurdish minority and the Turkish state, carried out a research project that involved interviewing members of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. On return she was apprehended by the Turkish security services and, when she refused to reveal the names of her informants, was severely tortured.

A little while before this, an explosion in the Istanbul Spice Bazaar had caused a number of deaths and injuries. Pinar, now conveniently in the hands of the state on account of her research, was a handy suspect ‘bomber’. In the twelve years since that fateful explosion she has been subject to continuous unresolved prosecution. She has been imprisoned for two and a half of those years. During periods of relative freedom, after acquittals and before re-prosecutions, she has founded and been active in a feminist antimilitarist organization, Amargi. Amargi women activists have in turn been at the core of her support group. Recently Pinar, aged 40, has been living the life of an exile in Germany, supported by a grant from International PEN, the worldwide assocation of writers. She is the editor of Amargi Journal and respected for her many analytical articles and books, the most recent of which is a critique of militarized masculinity.

In a succession of court hearings, no credible evidence has ever been produced to suggest that the explosion in the Spice Bazaar was caused by a bomb. On the contrary, the material facts point to a gas leak. The only link between Pinar and the explosion that, for a while, seemed credible, was a confession by a man who named her as his partner in this ‘crime’. At his trial, however, he retracted his statement, which had been obtained under torture. The truth was that he did not even know Pinar. He was acquitted. Pinar however continued to be suspect.

She has been tried twice in the Istanbul local court (in 2006 and 2008) and each time acquitted. On both occasions the prosecution has refused to accept this verdict and appealed to the Supreme Court which has found Pinar guilty of the charges against her and called on the Istanbul Court to re-open the case. The hearing of February 9 was the third occasion the matter has come before the Istanbul Court. February 10 was the third occasion the prosecution has batted the ball back to the higher judiciary in what has become a game of ping-pong that would be a joke were it not so malign. This is not any recognizable judicial process but rather a sustained harassment. In short - bullying.

Poignancy is added to this case by the fact that Pinar Selek’s leading advocate is her father, a respected lawyer. Besides, Pinar’s sister decided to study law in order to pursue justice in the case. She has had ample time in these years to qualify and practise law. I found it very moving to see both family members in court last week, not only reviewing the evidence for the defence but also telling the judge, from their own bitter knowledge, of the psychological trauma being inflicted on Pinar.

The media paid full attention to the court hearing. All the international observers including myself made short statements to the assembled journalists. The case was headlined in the Turkish evening TV news programmes and the newspapers the following day. For twenty-four hours we were hopeful that the knowledge that the world was watching them would be an added prompt to the Turkish judiciary to finally deliver the justice it purports to uphold. But no. The only explanation of its bizarre behaviour is that the trials of Pinar Selek, like several other recent and current cases before the Turkish courts, are in fact designed by the Turkish state for a political purpose - to be an object lesson to anyone who thinks of stepping out of line.

Cynthia Cockburn