Political Sea Changes and Bioethics-Prague 1991
Hastings Center Report. 1991 Nov-Dec; 21(6): 5-6.
The Hastings Center's three bioethics conferences in Eastern and Central Europe have been increasingly dramatic. We first met in July 1989 in Pecs, Hungary. Twenty-five colleagues gathered to plan our new international work and to introduce ourselves to health care realities and bioethical issues in the then "Eastern bloc"....By August 1990 when we met in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia, democratic movements had swept over many Eastern European countries. We had now grown to over fifty conference participants. The mood was of elation and newly found freedoms, mixed with anxiety over what might come, including social chaos and new cultural oppressions....The mood in Prague was marked not by airy, youthful freedom, but rather by muted anger and sober realism, despite the relief and joy over the failed Soviet coup. To the immediate political events were added reports of the corrosive effect of morally degraded and bankrupt societies. Indeed, the one theme underlying the separately convened environmental and bioethics meetings was the systemic moral and cultural havoc wrought by forty-plus years of Communist hegemony....
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