Saturday Morning Reads

Good Morning!

NPR is showcasing a number of articles on the Arab Women’s movements that have resulted from the Jasmine Revolution.  These studies include portraits of women that are fighting backlashes as well as seeking more input to their nation’s governance.  Arab women are planning to flex their new found muscles come March 8 and International Women’s day.

Images of women marching alongside men in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Jordan led to predictions that women’s rights would also make huge strides forward.

She had been optimistic initially, when she celebrated President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation in February. She had spent days sitting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square alongside thousands of others. She said she found the sight of men and women protesting together an inspiration.

“I think the youth that were in Tahrir … people my age or people that were demonstrators or whatever, were OK with the concept of men and women having equal rights,” said Kamel.

“In the months that followed, the feminist honeymoon was lost,” she said.

In the six months since Mubarak was ousted, the only woman who has joined Egypt’s transitional government is a holdover from the old regime. Women are running in the upcoming presidential election, though none is expected to be a serious contender. Most telling, said Kamel, was that the women who took part in the protests in Tahrir have been increasingly painted as vagrant or “loose” women in the Egyptian press.

“They went from being heroes to being vilified,” said Kamel. A few months after the Tahrir Square protests, women hoped to assert their newly found voices in a demonstration on International Women’s Day, March 8.

Though more than 1,000 people joined a Facebook group for the event, only a few hundred ended up marching. They were quickly surrounded and harassed by men led by a sheik from Al Azhar University.

“People just gathered, each woman was standing there — she had like five men around her, and she was trying to argue. It got physically abusive after a while. The protests didn’t last for even an hour,” said Kamel.

Saudi women have been getting mixed signals from a government that is expanding their rights and holding them back at the same time.  This link also comes from the NPR series on Women and the Arab Spring.

The 28-year-old businesswoman and other Saudi women interviewed for this story say they are tired of waiting for rights most other women around the world take for granted.

The mixed signals especially bother them. In a historic speech in September, Abdullah pledged to add women to his all-male advisory council and allow them to take part in the next municipal elections. Two days later, a court in the port city of Jeddah sentenced a young mother to 10 lashes for driving a car.

The king later set the sentence aside. Even so, analysts say it was an unusually harsh punishment for violating a female-driving ban that isn’t enshrined in law.

Ruba, a 21-year-old university student, calls the sentence shameful. She believes it was a backlash against the decision to offer women political rights. Ruba, like several women in this story, asked that only her first name be used to protect her family.

“Of course, it felt like a game of tug-of-war between the liberals and the conservatives,” she says. “When the liberals pulled harder and won, the conservatives pulled even harder.

“So it just felt like women were that rope between the two parties.”

Myanmar is home to one of the most famous Asian woman political leader to have received the Nobel Prize for Peace. An Suu Kyi may be much freer than she has been in previous years but Myanmar’s women continue to suffer.  Forced marriage is up 70%  and the interesting thing is the brides are being shipped off to China.  Rather interesting that a country that has produced a bumper crop of male babies as a result of its population control policies now has to import/kidnap women from other countries.

The women from Myanmar, some arriving as young as 14, went to China with dreams of better-paid jobs that would help lift their families out of poverty.

Instead, upon arrival they are forced to marry. The men, often poor farmers, find Chinese brides hard to come by because cultural preference and a one-child policy enforced since 1978 have led to a higher ratio of men versus women.

The women recount being drugged by traffickers and brokers – distant relatives, friends of friends, neighbours and fellow villagers – and waking up to find they’d been sold as brides. They tell of being paraded in marketplaces, locked up and forced to get pregnant.

“The trafficking of women and girls for forced marriage is quite a serious problem and trends over the last couple of years indicate that it is increasing,” said David Brickey Bloomer, child protection director at Save the Children in Myanmar, adding at least a quarter of victims are under 18.

Forced marriages made up 70 percent of Myanmar’s trafficking cases last year, UNIAP, the United Nations’ inter-agency project on human trafficking, said.

Myanmar authorities recorded 122 cases of forced marriage in 2010, Bloomer told TrustLaw, while UNIAP-supported initiative the Strategic Information Response Network (SIREN) put the 2009 figure at 85.

World Vision, the only other aid agency besides Save the Children which works on anti-trafficking in Myanmar, said 51 women were trafficked this way in the first seven months of 2011 alone. The average price of a Myanmar bride is $5,000, it said.

So, all’s not so well in the US for women as we all know.  Rock Center–the new News Magazine on NBC with Brian Williams–had a compelling story on how North Carolina frequently forcibly sterilized many young girls and women.  Black women were most impacted.  Their stories are heartbreaking.  You can watch the segment at the link.

Elaine Riddick was 13 years old when she got pregnant after being raped by a neighbor in Winfall, N.C., in 1967.  The state ordered that immediately after giving birth, she should be sterilized.  Doctors cut and tied off her fallopian tubes.

“I have to carry these scars with me.  I have to live with this for the rest of my life,” she said.

Riddick was never told what was happening.  “Got to the hospital and they put me in a room and that’s all I remember, that’s all I remember,” she said.  “When I woke up, I woke up with bandages on my stomach.”

Riddick’s records reveal that a five-person state eugenics board in Raleigh had approved a recommendation that she be sterilized. The records label Riddick as “feebleminded” and “promiscuous.” They said her schoolwork was poor and that she “does not get along well with others.”

“I was raped by a perpetrator [who was never charged] and then I was raped by the state of North Carolina.  They took something from me both times,” she said.  “The state of North Carolina, they took something so dearly from me, something that was God given.”

It wouldn’t be until Riddick was 19, married and wanting more children, that she’d learn she was incapable of having any more babies. A doctor in New York where she was living at the time told her that she’d been sterilized.

“Butchered.  The doctor used that word…  I didn’t understand what she meant when she said I had been butchered,” Riddick said.

North Carolina was one of 31 states to have a government run eugenics program.  By the 1960s, tens of thousands of Americans were sterilized as a result of these programs.

This is a shameful period in the state’s history.  It’s something that should never happen but did.

Project Social Art has started a series aimed at shaming men who cat call women on streets.

Last Saturday, we were on our way back from a friend’s birthday celebration when a guy began to harass Marie on the street. He was a young, white male who seemed to be somewhat intoxicated or high. We brushed off his proposition to which he responded with, “Oh, come on. Please! I will pay you.” There he was, blatantly offering to purchase Marie’s body in exchange for money.

Later than night, when Anna was on the subway with her sister, she experienced yet more harassment on a sexual level. A group of about eight Hasidic Jews were staring at Anna and Melania through the glass window in between cars. At first, the ladies thought this was quite funny because it was very entertaining to see eight men trying to squeeze their heads into the window to all get a better look. Nevertheless, the situation turned ugly when one of the men started making oral sex gestures and his friend started gesticulating money offers. Soon, Anna realized they were trying to offer her money in return for sexual services. She looked at Melania who was eating a sandwich at the time and said, “Wrap up that sandwich. We are going into that car.” Melania was hesitant, but Anna told her that they had to do this for all the other women out there, “We have to show these men that they cannot do things like this.”

The Riot has developed a Cat Caller form to query the harasser.  Here’s an example of the ‘survey’ to hand your obnoxious unwanted harrasser.

So, maybe we could just need to show up at Republican Presidential Rallies and just start handing them out to the candidates.

I’m turning into a bit of an admirer of Thomas Edsell.  This is a something he just wrote for the Atlantic and it’s pretty humorous.  “Is God Really Telling Rick Perry to Run for President?”  The article argues that maybe “God” really isn’t very fond of Rick Perry whose state is suffering through a drought of Biblical proportions and whose performance at debates is the stuff comics dream of.  Oh, and then there are all those brush fires.

Earlier in the year, at a May fundraiser in Longview, Texas, Perry told a group of businessmen and women, “At 27 years old, I knew that I had been called to the ministry. I’ve just always been really stunned by how big a pulpit I was gonna have. I still am. I truly believe with all my heart that God has put me in this place at this time to do his will.”

If you accept the idea that individuals can interpret God’s views toward their political ambitions, the available evidence suggests that Perry got it all wrong. From the word go, the signals have been of Biblical proportion — but they are nearly all downright negative. Throughout the summer months, as Perry first considered and then decided to run for the White House, Texas turned into a hellhole. For example: this evocative map of the country produced by the U.S. Drought Monitor lends itself to the interpretation that a terrible punishment has been inflicted on the state Perry was brought up in and which he now governs.

I actually think it’s Mother Earth teaming up with Mother Nature to send him a really big message.

Okay, so that’s a little this and that for a Saturday morning.  What’s on your writing and blogging list this morning?

33 Comments on “Saturday Morning Reads”

  1. The Rock says:

    Lots of heavy stories this morning, Dak. I had never heard of a state here in the US doing something so heinous. Was the law allowing that kind of behavior by the state ever struck down? Shameful….
    Work last night dragged on and on. I only managed to catch a few links….

    Horray for unemployment! Asshats…

    Methinks Pelosi might be in a spot of trouble…

    Thats all I got for now. Enjoy your morning! 🙂

    Hillary 2012

    • dakinikat says:

      I support stopping the pipeline.

    • ralphb says:

      I don’t really see how Pelosi is in trouble for getting in on the VIsa IPO. That was a no-brainer, if you had the where with all.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I guess the point is that the John Conyers bill would have helped the poor who are only offered high interest rates and who get them raised by multiple point via an excuse where they are only a day late, not late at all, but due to processing.

        It is not up to Nancy Pelosi to decide which bills to put forward based on her assumptions that George Bush wouldn’t sign it, the bill had taken years to get to that point and I do question her actions as the bill that passed has not offered relief to consumers, especially the poor.

      • ralphb says:

        Is this not true?

        Pelosi said the Conyers bill had no chance of being signed by then-President George W. Bush. She said she brought even tougher legislation, the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., to passage after President Obama took office.

        Pelosi said the credit card industry spent $3 million in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat Maloney in 2010.

      • Woman Voter says:

        The point, is that putting the bill in front of George Bush would have brought the needed attention and maybe even some folks that vote GOP would have seen past the blah, blah, and gotten the message that they are only for corporations.

        The bill took years to bet to that stage and the process shouldn’t have been stopped by Nancy Pelosi, the other bill has offered no relief to the poor/working class, especially those that are already redlined via their zip code.

    • Peggy Sue says:

      Rock, I’m all for increasing employment opportunities for Americans but when it comes to the Pipeline, the Chamber of Commerce and TransCanada have wildly over estimated the real employment impact the Pipeline would have. The steel for the project has already been purchased from India and the workers who will be involved are primarily TransCanada employees. We’re looking at 500-1400 temporary jobs for American workers [this by the only independent analysis out there] pitted against a project that raises huge environmental red flags.

      We’re desperate for an energy policy, real solutions to the mess we find ourselves in. The Tar Sands Pipeline will not have an appreciable effect on our reliance on foreign oil. The project is being pushed by Exxon and other dubious players [Koch Industries has a sizeable investment/interest]. The Pipeline does, however, raise a considerable threat to a major aquifer [Ogallala] and a part of the country that historically feeds the world, the American Bread Basket. This isn’t a case where a single rare lizard is jeopardized. This is playing Russian Roulette with an area of the country we all depend on for basic substenance.

      IMHO, we need to heed real caution with industry and corporate propaganda in this regard. Because frankly these entities do not have a good track record. Think BP in the Gulf.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Joe Paterno has a long history of ignoring and/or minimizing sex crimes.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      And he continued to attend games with these young boys in tow and no one said a word.

      Apparently it wasn’t necessary on Sandusky’s part to keep his proclivities hidden when he was welcomed on campus in the company of more young boys which should have sent a signal to all involved that he was still doing business at the same stand.

      Paterno did not put distance between himself and the pedophile, but instead seemed to have welcomed his companionship for years after learning of the assault. It should have raised eyebrows then but it has gone on for longer than need be owing to their failure to report.

      When a dumb game like football supercedes the cries of abused children then moral failure is the lesson that Joe Paterno and his ilk have managed to teach. Wait and see how many within that community were well aware of Sandusky’s actions because one thing we know for sure: people talk among themselves and I am sure many, many more were quite aware of this.

      • Fannie says:

        I hear you Pat – He knew these kids were disadvantaged and economically depraved children. I wonder how much he donated to the cause (charity). We know that many of black students on campus were involved in the athletic programs, and many were disadvantaged.
        And he never once wanted to know who that “ten year old boy was”.

        Instead of waking up angry every morning, he woke up proud.

    • Branjor says:

      Joe Paterno has a long history of ignoring and/or minimizing sex crimes.

      So does the author of that article, Nick the Dick.

      After recounting Paterno’s similar attitudes when members of his football team were accused of raping women, the Dick ejaculates the following opinion:

      The rape of a child is, of course, different than the rape of an adult woman—a different crime, punished differently by the law, and with different lasting effects on the victim.

      The above was inserted just before the following statement by Delilah Rumburg, head of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape:

      “It really is the same thing,” said Delilah Rumburg, who heads the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. “There is this betrayal when someone you know rapes you, whether you’re a child or adult.”

      • Woman Voter says:

        I do think there is a difference and thus the laws of of rape of a minor 0-14 years of age carry a harsher sentencing as the damage done is severe. Some children who are raped younger often need surgical intervention, beyond the psychological damage/trauma.

        I can recall a rape of a two year old, who was later left by the side of a highway, who was spotted by a driver, and the man was completely shattered. The Fire Department crew and EMS all required extensive therapy and went on to form an org to assist children suffering similar crimes and to assist First Responders with ‘their’ trauma.

        One child that was brutalized, butchered (gutted, literally), later would ask not to have contact with those of us in the community that had assisted in raising money and supporting the family. Apparently, even though we were the ‘nice’ people, we triggered memories (PTSD) and move away and we haven’t had contact since that last meeting. The child was under 10 years of age.

        Maybe, BB can help us to understand the difference and thus the difference in laws, sentencing when rape involves young children.

      • Branjor says:

        WV @ 12:59 PM – It’s true, men have been known to rape little babies 6 mos old and younger even and they do a lot of damage, even kill them. However, the Dick wrote his piece in the context of the abuse of some approximately 10 yr old males at Penn State, not babies or toddlers.

      • Branjor says:

        Dkat – Exactly !!

      • Woman Voter says:

        Apologies, I thought the question was as to why rape of young children is treated with harsher sentencing and thus the registered offenders law Megan’s Law. Also, some children that were raped close to those in the Penn State incident have required surgery too.

        The laws also include, heightened sentencing when the person even if an adult is a dependent adult and if there was use of drugs or other means to render them helpless. Take a look at the registry and look under the filings, then there are those that are ‘HIGH RISK’, (albeit any rapist is a high risk…one could say here too) for their propensity to hunt their victims much like prey and the God awful things they do. Some of these ‘High Risk’ offenders, I suspect have killed victims, victims no one has found or connected to them.

        So, that was my point, not to minimize anyone’s experience, but to point out why in addition to rape, some individuals are charged with additional crimes, and garner harsher sentencing.


      • Woman Voter says:

        That was ‘close in age’. Sorry.

    • dakinikat says:

      Having gone to a huge state University with an overwhelming football program and mission, I’ve seen exactly how much football players get away with on a day to day basis. They are also fed, housed, and tutored like pampered pets. I imagine its not as bad as it was in my day, but I do know that ‘date rape’ and bar fights involving football players were routinely overlooked. I’ve been watching some similar stuff come up at LSU during youngest daughter’s tenure there. They have a bunch of the number 1 rated football players having issues with bar fights right now. They definitely get treated differently even though it looks like the overseer of collegiate athletes watches the programs and threatens them more than they used to. There is an incredible amount of money in a successful college football, basketball, or baseball program. For many states–like Nebraska–that’s it for entertainment in the entire state. It’s worse than organized religion. It’s a system that set up to reward the most successful for winning. PERIOD. The alum and the fans and the TV contracts just add a huge moral hazard to the problem. Especially since football coaches are treated like Gods and paid like CEOS.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Cain, Penn State Scandals Should Make America Face Everyday Sex Abuse

    Away from the media glare, however, girls, women and boys are quietly and helplessly violated in the privacy of darkened living rooms and bedrooms every single day across America. The crime scene may be a rural shack or a palatial suburban compound. The crime, however, is depressingly similar, often involving profoundly frustrated men, who try to find in sexual assault a sense of power that they desperately lack.

    The frustration is an obvious byproduct of a common mindset that so consistently and loudly celebrates money, power and fame, leaving the majority of people with abiding feelings of inadequacy.

    Beyond private homes, a pandemic of sexual abuse also infests educational institutions, places of worship and work. Countless priests, coaches, teachers, policemen, prison guards and bosses routinely harm their victims, often with complete impunity.

    • dakinikat says:

      The man flunked out of a southern Missouri community college and couldn’t even pass ballroom dancing. Any one who pays attention to him is a moron.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        Rush Limbaugh is the face and the embodiment of the Republican Party.

        Misogynist, homophobic, bigoted, paranoid, racist, hate filled, mean spirited assholes. And let’s not overlook just plain stupid. This is the man they all seem to genuflect to and quote.

        For twenty years he has managed to reach out to the most disaffected of society who see conspiracies brewing in every corner of government and they feed off it like carrion birds. The very worst of our culture can be found in those who listen to this crypt keeper and find solace in his obscenities.

        Rush, Coulter, Ingram, Hannity, Beck, Savage, O’Reilly, Malkin all represent the same “master” and have earned millions playing on the ignorance of people who prefer someone else to do their thinking for them.

        What’s wrong with today’s Republican Party? Five minutes of listening to Rush and there is no way around it: a collective of the same narrow minded presentation that is evident in their presidential candidates who applaud the most egregious statements uttered from the mouths of those who seek to govern.

        He gets away with it to the tune of a $400 million dollar contract because he is able to “influence” the electorate like it or not.

        A truly disgusting human being.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        The real tragedy is that people ‘do’ listen to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter whose main impact is poisoning the well: government is inherently bad, private industry is the answer to all woes and anything falling outside promised expectations is God’s will.

        It’s a great a scam that’s been tearing the country apart for decades and made the mouthpieces of dissension wealthy and arrogant.

      • ralphb says:

        No matter how many moronic dittoheads that asshat has, he’s still a pathetic dumbass.

      • foxyladi14 says:

        😆 :lo:

    • Woman Voter says:

      Yup, time to boycott his sponsors and tell them this woman won’t take their promotion of Rush Limbaugh Misogyny anymore.

  4. ralphb says:

    Every now and again, it’s good to be reminded that it doesn’t have to be this way.

    Salon: How the rich rig the system