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10 December, 2010

IS NOVEMBER THE BEST MONTH?: JEROME TEELUCKSINGH, Ph.D.

There is something unique about the final three months of every year. It contains a considerable number of special days. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed in October. Not many persons are aware that a small number of men are also affected by breast cancer!! Health is a concern for all of us and thus it is no surprise that ‘Movember’ was created. Movember, (a combination of the words ‘moustache’ and ‘November’) is an annual month-long event which involves the growing of moustaches to raise our awareness and funds for men’s health issues. And, World Diabetes Day which affects millions of persons is globally observed on 14 November.


On 19 November there is International Men’s Day and one day later there is the observance of Universal Children’s Day. A few days later, the world solemnly observes 25 November which is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Many are aware that 25 November also marks the beginning of the global campaign- 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. These 16 Days which include World AIDS Day (on 1 December) and International Day of Persons with Disabilities (on December 3), ends on 10 December with the observance of International Human Rights Day.


For citizens of the United States, the month of November is significant as it is Thanksgiving Day. This Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month. Additionally, on 19 November 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address.


The Western observance of All Souls’ Day is on 2 November and follows All Saints’ Day which is to remember the souls of the deceased. Another solemn occasion is Remembrance Day which is annually observed on 11 November. It is also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day. It is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries to remember the members of their armed forces who have died on duty and the official end of World War One in 1918. Interestingly, Australia, a Commonwealth country, has a link with November. On 19 November 1941, during World War Two, the HMAS Sydney was sunk off the coast of Geralton in Western Australia, and 645 men lost their lives.


Has 19 November become a ‘teachable moment’ in the world’s history? The evidence seems to suggest that International Men’s Day and other days of activism or remembrance are presenting ‘teachable moments’ and inviting us to create and be part of ‘teachable moments.’ In November 2010, one of the IMD websites (http://www.international-mens-day.com) recorded 372, 920 visits. This was for one month! This is another visible indicator that IMD has earned its place among other important days of activism and is fast becoming the people’s choice!

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