Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for August 4th, 2009

Honduras Coup, Act III, Day 12/Updated

Posted by Charles II on August 4, 2009

Update2: Adrienne Pine has translated a report from Oscar which reports a shift in strategy by the coup: more violence and a targeting of independent media (stay safe, Al) by direct violence and intimidation (like shooting someone next to them). “A young reporter was attacked by nearly ten police on the north coast, his arm broken in two, his camera destroyed and now he is being charged with attacking the police.” [Because of course the first thing someone surrounded by ten opponents thinks of is starting a fight]. Teacher “Martín Rivera…died from 26 stab wounds upon leaving Vallejo’s wake in the facilities of COPEMH [Association of Secondary Teachers of Honduras]. With them the tally rises to 9 victims of the dictatorship.”

Update: Telesur reports that Brazilian presidential advisor Marcos Aurelio Garcia says that Brazil will refuse to recognize the product of any elections run by the coupistas. Zelaya has requested that the US harden sanctions, especially cutting military aid, and says that his return should not be delayed more than two weeks.

El Libertador reports that the human rights organization is starting to call the deprivation of food [to people cut off in El Paraiso and Choluteca, presumably,] “genocide.” They also raise questions as to whether the police or troops set the fires in the Colón de Comayagüela Market that wiped out 200 vendors. Elsewhere, I have heard that asserted as fact, but have seen no evidence that the arson was actually committed by the police or the troops. The merchants, who live day to day, can no longer pay the loans they need for working capital.

Nell at ALovelyPromise says that the coupistas have ordered Radio Globo shut down, and links this. I’m not so sure… I was just listening to their website and it sounds like that is the real komodo. Radio Globo is about all that Honduras has for independent news. Let’s see if those who scream about Chavez scream about this.

“I get the sense that the coup regime doesn’t have an end game. It doesn’t know how to resolve the national conflict it has started. I think they must go to bed each night praying to God, ‘Please, Lord, just make the protesters go away.'” –Serbian community organizer Ivan Marovich, who was visiting Honduras (from Al Giordano, Narconews

The piece cited above exposes how central the narcissism of authoritarian leaders is to their violence, saying “In sum, the coup’s maximum military leader is apoplectic that the Honduran population sees the coup as a coup, and the military that enforces it as part of that coup, and he wants to seek scapegoats for the fact that public opinion has turned against him…”

RAJ has yet another interesting piece on the allegations against Zelaya and another piece on the games the coupistas are playing with the amnesty proposal. My comment:

This is interesting.

If Zelaya is very smart, he will say that he’d like to accept the amnesty, but it’s unclear (and can never be clear ahead of time) what crimes he might be charged with. Therefore, in order to accept, he needs to have a specification of the alleged crimes ahead of making any agreement. Then, he can challenge the crimes of which he is accused and insist that an independent panel of jurists hear his counterarguments.

The point is this. The calendar now starts to work against the coupistas. If Zelaya is not repatriated (or the situation otherwise resolved) very quickly, there’s no way that elections could be regarded as legitimate. If Zelaya is able to force a trying of the case against him by an independent panel, he can publicly expose the coup for what it is. And if he can’t, then he has legitimate reason not to return, so the coupistas enter legal limbo which even the State Department can’t get them out of.

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Posted in Latin America | 2 Comments »

The Magdalene Laundries

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 4, 2009

This humble blog was honored recently by the visits of a woman named Mari Steed.

Mari Steed is a special lady: Her mother was imprisoned for ten years in one of the Magdalene Laundries. Mari was taken from her mother when she was still an infant and sent to America to be adopted by a family on the East Coast.

So what were the Magdalene Laundries? Originally, two centuries ago, they were supposed to provide safe havens and gainful employment for “fallen women” worldwide; however, especially in Ireland, they soon became slave labor camps where any girl or woman could find herself imprisoned for any reason or none:

Thirty thousand in all were locked away in these penal establishments, some for decades, to scrub away the sin of being poor, pregnant, unwanted or for simply being an embarrassment to their families and communities. A few, who had spent their childhoods in orphanages run by the nuns, were put away for being too beautiful, and therefore in the twisted logic of the sisters, too “in danger of sin”.

There were no trials, no inquiries, no nothing. The presumption that you were a sexual being was enough to condemn you. So the victims of abuse were guilty too, and, by bizarre extension, those in danger of corruption by their fathers, brothers, cousins, or just men in general also had to be saved from sin.

Once you were placed on the Register of Penitents your identity was taken away, your name was changed, and you were not allowed to talk to any of the other Magdalene women. “You were broken down and utterly at their mercy,” says Dr Frances Finnegan, author of the definitive account of the Magdalene asylums in Ireland, Do Penance or Perish. “They decided how long you would spend in the convent – a year or your life.”

She tells a story of this process of dehumanisation: “I met a woman who had been brought up in an orphanage and then later stuck into the laundry. One day she was taken into the parlour of the convent and told by a nun that her mother was dead. It turned out that she had worked alongside her mother for more than 20 years in the laundry and the nuns had kept it from them, knowing that her mother had been pining all that time for her child. Generation after generation was condemned in this way. You just cannot imagine how miserable and inhuman these places were. And the really terrible thing was that it was women doing it to other women.”

The truly frightening thing is that the last Magdalene Laundry, High Park in Dublin, wasn’t shut down until 1996. The nuns and priests worked to dehumanize the women so that they would be too ashamed to speak out, and local officials who profited from the women’s slave labor kept quiet about it as well.

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