Archive for the ‘gender’ Category
In New Delhi the trial of five men accused of gang raping and murdering a 23 year old physiotherapy student on a private bus opened last week amidst protests and a fierce public debate over the failure of the Indian police to stem what has been described in the press as ‘rampant violence’ against women in India. The protests by angry, young anti-rape protesters met with water cannons, tear gas and long sticks used by the police to brutally disperse what the Indian finance minister called a ‘flash mob’ – a term used to describe internet age crowds which in this case were spontaneous and inspired by social media and a sense of common purpose.
According to the Financial Times, the protests were not simply against the brutal rape and the lack of safety for women in India’s capital. The rape, says New Delhi-based sociologist Dipankar Gupta, was just the tipping point, and the protests stemmed from a feeling ‘that this government doesn’t deliver on anything, including the safety of women.’
A woman died. A day after Diwali, when the Irish Times had a front page image of a lovely little Indian boy lighting Diwali candles, it had another beautiful Indian face on its front cover, this time of a woman who died in an Irish hospital. Savita Halapanavar has since become a household face, even if we are not entirely certain on how to pronounce her surname, and a symbol of the oppression of women, whose lives and health are put at risk in Ireland’s maternity hospitals.
The minute details of the circumstances of Savita Halapanavar’s death are yet to be ascertained. Savita was in her 17th week of pregnancy, presented at Galway University Hospital with severe pain in her lower back, sent home because the foetus’s heartbeat was sound, came back to hospital with her waters broken, told the foetus’s heartbeat was still sound. When she was still having pains, Savita, clearly aware she was miscarrying, asked for a termination to be told her foetus’s heartbeat was still sound, and, as ‘this is a Catholic country’, she could not have a termination. Her reply that she was not a Catholic, not even Irish, was of little help. Savita suffered until her foetus’s heartbeat was no more, at which stage septicaemia set in and Savita died along with her foetus. And a day after Diwali her picture adorned our screens and newspapers and we held vigils and demonstrations, saying ‘we are all Savita’, declaring ‘never again’ and demanding that the government enacts the long-promised legislation, 20 years after the Supreme Court ruling in the x case, to protect the life of birthing mothers. Abortion was again big news as the ‘Pro Life’ and ‘pro choice’ camps battled it out over Savita’s dead body.
The death a couple of weeks ago of Immanuel Marcel Landa, an elderly Congolese man, in Mosney, the 49th person to die in the direct provision system since 2000, focused my mind, yet again, on the invisible plight of Ireland’s asylum seekers. Ireland’s impetus to control asylum seekers rarely links the conflict zones which produce asylum seekers with their human consequences. Instead, the racial state demonises asylum seekers, stems their flow, often preventing them from landing to present their applications, all in order to regain control.
Asylum applications in Ireland have been going down ever since their peak in 2002 at 11,634; the number of applications received in 2011, 1,250, represented a 28% decrease on the corresponding figure of 1,939 in 2010. In 2012 (by June) only 458 asylum applications were made. The government seems delighted with the decrease in asylum applications. In 2010 Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern commended ‘the ongoing work within INIS, including the asylum agencies, to combat abuse while at the same time ensuring fairness and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of procedures in this area’. At 1.5% at first instance and 6% on appeal, Ireland is distinguished by the lowest acceptance rate in the EU, where the average is 27%. Read the rest of this entry »
Review of: Palestinian Women: Narrative Histories and Gendered Memory, Fatma Kassem, London: Zed Books, 2011.
When Fatma Kassem submitted her PhD proposal, Yigal Ronen, the director of the Kreitman School of Advanced Graduate Studies in Ben Gurion University required her to make a series of changes. Unless she removed the term ‘Nakba’, the discussion of the Hebreicisation of place names, the term ‘first generation since the Nakba’ (‘first generation’ apparently refers only to the Holocaust), and eliminated the claim that life stories convey broader socio-cultural understandings – she would be unable to pursue her PhD. Under the guise of scientific truth, Ronen – and the university – not only doubted Kassem’s competence as a researcher, but also humiliated her as a [Palestinian] citizen of Israel, questioning her right to name her world in her own words.
Ironically, BGU is home to several radical Israeli (Jewish) scholars, including Neve Gordon, Uri Ram, and Kassem’s supervisor Lev Grinberg. It is also home to the ‘new historian’ Benny Morris, whose studies of the 1948 Nakba exposed the atrocities (though not the deliberate Zionist Plan D, detailed later by scholars such as Ilan Pappe, to ethnically cleanse Palestine). The anti-Zionist Pappe was forced out of Haifa University into exile in Exeter, where he continues to produce politically-committed scholarship about Israel-Palestine. However, the Zionist Morris, despite his important revelations, refutes ethnic cleansing or the existence of a Zionist plan to evict the Arab population, and has repeatedly said that he regrets the Nakba was not more complete; had Ben Gurion, he wrote in 2008, ‘carried out a full expulsion - rather than a partial one - he would have stabilized the State of Israel for generations’. Read the rest of this entry »
Part 1: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 2: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 3: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 4: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 5: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 6: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010
Part 7: Ilan Pappé & Ronit Lentin. Trinity College Dublin. 17-11-2010