The Week Unwrapped podcast: Viral faith, Armenia and legendary prejudice

Is religion helping to spread the pandemic? Why are Armenia and Azerbaijan fighting? And are legends and fairytales inevitably non-PC?

Ultra orthodox Jews pray at the tomb of Reb Nachman of Breslov, founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement
(Image credit: SpaceX)

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

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Faith vs. lockdown

Earlier this week, thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews gathered in Israel for the funeral of Rabbi Dovid Feinstein. Police descended on the procession, which breached lockdown rules, leading to scuffles and arrests. The event is not the first time ultra-Orthodox communities have run into trouble over lockdown, with Haredi schools in New York also refusing to shut during the pandemic. So how far should religious views be respected? Or is this a case of clamping down for the greater good?

Armenia and Azerbaijan

This week, Armenia and Azerbaijan signed a peace deal, bringing to an end a short war that has received little attention in Western media. Partly a conflict about land, it also has a religious element - and its consequences extend to Russia, Turkey and Syria, where members of the Armenian diaspora have been protesting in the streets of Aleppo.

Legendary gender

A compendium of fairy tales which reverses the gender of the protagonists provoked discussion about the level of stereotyping in classic children’s tales - and led to more fundamental questions about unsettling aspects of the behaviour they depict and even celebrate. It coincided with the unveiling of a statue inspired by the Medusa legend outside the court in which Harvey Weinstein was convicted.

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