December 18, 2011

World-wide, women are in trouble: “First they came for our daughters, then they…”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:40 pm

I was just told by my dentist that I need three cavities filled, two teeth crowned and two root canals. We’re talking at least $10,000 here, probably more. But who has that kind of money these days? Looks like pretty soon I’m going to have to go toothless. But I won’t be alone. 99% of the rest of America may be facing toothlessness too. What an ugly country we will become — nothing but gums.

Also, I pretty much can’t afford to travel any more, but that’s okay. Scottish journalist David Pratt now does most of my traveling for me — and sends his reports from all corners of the world back to the Glasgow Sunday Herald, which then forwards them to me.

Pratt’s latest report is from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where women and children live in such unbelievable poverty that even I can’t believe it. As part of a series entitled “Women of the World’s Worst Slums,” Pratt spells it all out for us.

“I wanted to find out for myself what it’s like for the women here who lead a life of fear, unremitting toil, and who worry constantly over the disease and hunger that stalks their children. In the back alleyways of [Nairobi's two largest] slums I was to meet four such women, young and not so young. What follows is a glimpse into their hopes, fears and above all fight for survival in the heart of this human abyss.”

The first woman that Pratt interviewed was 21-year-old Purity Atieno, who lives in little more than a wooden crate, in a neighborhood flooded with human feces, sewage and rats. Hardly out of her teens, Purity is already the mother of three sons. Pratt didn’t actually comment on whether or not Purity’s babies were a result of her having to sell her body in order to buy food, or of the constant rapes perpetrated against women here night and day — but he did state that she constantly had to deal with the rapists who prowled through her community each night.

Next, Juan Gonzalez of “Democracy Now” interviewed Yanar Mohammed from Baghdad, who informed us that Iraq is currently one big hot mess as a result of Junior’s stupid and unnecessary war. “And the biggest loser out of all of this are the women…. At a women’s organization, we daily meet women who are vulnerable to being bought and sold in the flesh market. We see widows who have no source of income, and nobody to get them IDs for themselves and their children, because they have been internally displaced. So poverty and discrimination against women has become the norm.”

She then goes on to state that there is now a whole generation of women in Iraq who are totally illiterate — as compared to all the many female college graduates there under Saddam Hussein.

And then there’s the good old USA. I don’t have to travel widely here at all — because I can see what is happening to women in America just by traveling to nearby homeless encampments. And a lot of women at the encampments are toothless too, just like I’m going to be soon.

And if Republicans have their way, American women will also be hungry, illiterate, jobless, barefoot and pregnant as well.

But as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Isn’t it time that freedom’s arc started bending toward justice for women too?

No, ladies, that arc is never gonna bend toward us voluntarily. If we ever want that to happen, we alone are gonna have to stop the killing, stop the raping, stop the war machine and stop the war-on-women all by ourselves.

And to paraphrase a famous cautionary quote about Nazis, “First they came for our daughters — and I did nothing. Then they came for the crones and then they came for all women. And I did nothing. And now there is no one left to reproduce the human race.” Too bad for you.

PS: So how, exactly, will we women — never outnumbered but always out-gunned — still manage to fight back? Perhaps by copying guerrilla tactics used recently by Occupy Portland: Retreat and advance like the wind, don’t ever let them pin us down — and do it all to music, especially rock and roll.

PPS: Forget what I just said. If we women ever do start to fight back against injustice, then every woman on the planet will be instantly labeled a terrorist — not to mention being charged with committing “economic violence,” whatever that is.


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