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Germaine is Not Much of a Sister
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:45 am    Post subject: wabu-enet Reply with quote

In the Amhara highlands of Ethiopia, people live in the traditional way, herding goats and cattle, tilling the soil, living in villages of wattle and daub huts. They belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and often wear great big silver crosses on chains round their necks.

They have the highest rate of child marriage in Ethiopia. Boys and girls can be married at ten, seven, even five. People often say sagely that if a girl is old enough to carry water, she is old enough to marry.

A public awareness film on the web shows Wabu-Enet aged ten playing the game we call jacks or five stones with her friends. The voice over says solemnly that it is the last day of her childhood. Tomorrow she will be married.

The wedding presents have been laid out before her. She is apparently indifferent.

The interviewer asks her if she is happy to be married. Has she seen her fiance?She looks down in shyness or distress. Her mother tells her to raise her head, and say she is happy. She finally says shyly that she hasn't seen him.

The film then shows her fifteen year old fiance herding animals. He is a deacon in the Ethiopian Church. He was on church business when he saw Wabu-Enet and decided she was the one for him. He persuaded his elders to make the arrangements.

The first casualty of child marriage is often education which can have a negative effect on future generations. The film shows us a murky classroom where the teacher is asking the kids about their homework in English, not Amharic as I expected.

Some of the girls in the class are married. But they are in danger of dropping out.

We hear the priest harangue the wedding guests outside the church which is another thatched hut. Inside the church, Wabu-Enet and her husband somehow look like the emblematic people in illustrated medieval manuscripts.

They are both in bright scarlet ecclesiastical robes and have what look like top heavy red bishops' mitres, each emblazoned with a huge gold cross. The portly drummers roll their eyes as if mesmerised.

The Orthodox priest explained to the film crew that this was great. Wabu-Enet would not be allowed to dance or have fun from now on.The couple wouldn't sleep together until Wabu-Enet was at least fifteen. The ceremony would preserve her virginity.

Now she was spoken for, it would frighten other men off. Otherwise she might be raped.

A celebratory festival is held at Wabu-Enet's hut that night. Her father is well aware that the minimum age of marriage is 18. He says this celebration means nothing. It is for show and to bind two families together. She will be going back to school tomorrow as if nothing had happened.

A separate celebration is held outside the groom's house. His mother doesn't know the bride at all. She says she has heard that she is called Wabu-Enet.

The interviewer asks if she is happy that Wabu-Enet is going back to school tomorrow. She says, ''No, she should be here, doing the housework.''

The groom's friends are not too happy about a wedding reception without the bride. After all her father's brave words, they go to Wabu-Enet's hut and take her away in the middle of the night. She does not go to school the next day.

We see a girl three years older than Wabu-Enet who has left school and is married and pregnant. She says it was her choice but speaks very slowly and shyly. She says she has heard rumours that it's not a good thing for a girl of her age to have a child.

She is not allowed to go to school as she is pregnant, but she will be able to sit the exams.

The voice over says that life expectancy is forty, and parents want to see grandchildren before they die. The girl said she wanted to have a child while her mother is still around.

When interviewed, her mother says she didn't want it to happen so soon. She told her daughter to have contraceptive injections. But she didn't get them topped up. She is disappointed that she disobeyed her.

A third girl spoke to the camera. She was 15 and divorced. After a difficult labour which produced a stillborn child, she was left with a fistula. The wall between her bladder and vagina has been breached.

She is incontinent. Eveyone has ostracised her. She says, ''they only like you if you're healthy.'' At least she is alive. During the many hours of labour, she had no doubt she would die.

Her husband divorced her because she was incontinent. But the Ethiopian Orthodox Church does not allow divorce, so Wabu-Enet's future is out of her hands.

The Orthodox Church has great influence, and it is turning against child marriage.

Again, it looks as if Germaine was over confident. Even when people say that a planned child marriage will not involve imminent sex, it often does. Marriage creates that expectation.

And the mother-in-law doesn't come out of it particularly well.

Last edited by marianneh on Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:42 am; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I took a coffee break and read the above and I am grateful for the time which you spent in putting together an interesting read : my apologies but we did pass back through Abergavenny on the way home but I was asked to hurry them home - now why are not all men as accomodating as me ? - I have a question about Germaine Greer...

The logic of Germaine Greer's arguments surely point to women being made equal to men in society in a formal institutional way - and I think that it would be a good idea to plant at the heart of the political system an equal balance between men and women by pairing equally empowered houses of male and female representatives so that each have a veto over the other. Men and women would be bargaining with each other for what they want - and children would grow up with that example set before them … the way in which I see that fitting in with Germaine Greer is that girls would not perceive themselves to be appendages to but partners with boys : they would take themselves seriously and be less interested in trying to please men when they grow up. As it happens over lunch yesterday with Y and y the latter disclosed something shocking i.e. decided to disconnect from the virtual world and challenge me to understand her teenage reality where boys are pushing girls to perform sexual acts and even quite normal innocent acts are leading girls to denounce other girls as " sluts " and treating each other horrendously basically to please boys. She played the game for a bit and then came to perceive herself as having accepted a mysogynistic view of herself as well as her friends and so rejected it - but has been blaming herself for ever having accepted this behaviour foisted on her by peer pressure. If I am to understand the conversation correctly this happened two years ago and Y was pretty shocked to hear about it this way - rather flattering for me to be the one she wanted to tell.
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 11:26 am    Post subject: damned Reply with quote

After about four o' clock, I decided you weren't coming, but staying in gave me time to play with the computer, and I still had time to see friends in Wetherspoons and go to the class in the library, so all was not lost. Your niece's experience is pretty typical.

A boy's reputation will be enhanced if he is thought to be a superstud. Since the sexual revolution, girls will feel they have to brag of their experience as well. But there is a competing standard for girls, that they must not appear to be tarts.

They're damned if they do and damned if they don't, so I say, stop worrying. I heard of a girl who was too shy even to kiss her boyfriend. So she was branded a slut or a slag. I forget which.

These are the terms used to insult girls whether it makes sense or not. I found my library ticket at school defaced in the handwriting of a boy I'd fallen out with. After my name, he had written in large letters, 'is a slag.'

I was just thankful it was nothing worse. I know it's not true about sticks and stones. Of course, words can hurt you, but in this case, it's a generic, unimaginative insult. The correct response is insouciance.

It does show a history in this country of hang ups about sex of course.

I can understand the feelings of the '300 group' who want to have as many women as men in parliament. I can understand the rationale of all women short lists, although they are unfair to individual men. But I would hope this would be a short term policy.

In Cyprus before the genocide and partition, the president had to be a Greek Cypriot, and the vice president a Turkish Cypriot. I can understand the desire for balance but only as a temporary measure. I have a vision of a time when we will not think about a person's sex or ethnicity at all in electing them, but will judge them on their merits.
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 3:23 pm    Post subject: phoolan devi Reply with quote

Phoolan Devi was born angry in a miserable village in Uttar Pradesh in 1963. Her parents were extremely poor and had to take a lot of abuse from more privileged people.

They belonged to the boatman caste. But luckier people would see them as outside all castes. They were Dalits, broad nosed untouchable people. Brahmins try to avoid contact with shit as much as possible although they can't help producing it. Dalits' traditional jobs included shit shovelling.

It wasn't just that other people treated Dalits like shit. They literally saw them as shit people. This was what the gods had decreed.

Phoolan's parents had six chidren but only Phoolan and an elder sister survived. They were ripped off by relatives.

Phoolan's father was a nice but weak man. Her mother, unlike many peasant people, did not find religion any use as a crutch. It was religion that had caused most of their problems. She just bitterly declaimed all the misfortune God had sent her.

When Phoolan was eleven her grandparents died, and the inheritance went to the wrong relatives in her opinion. She would not stop protesting about it.They were much worse off now.

Her mother Moola was afraid this would cause trouble. She arranged for Phoolan to marry someone over twice her age from another village. Child marriage was illegal in India, but it happened all the time.

Moola wrongly believed that the new in-laws were prosperous people and that this would secure Phoolan's future.

It was a crazy idea, and not just for the usual reason. India is full of child widows who may be virgins but can't remarry. Widows are shunned and persecuted, seen as ill omened.

For Phoolan it was a chance to look nice for once and to be the centre of attention, covered in bells and bangles and all sorts of jewellery. She was told she would not leave home to live with her husband Putti Lal for three or four years.

Her sister had married at a similar age and she had not begun to cohabit with her husband until she was 16. But within a few days Putti Lal had taken her to his village. She hadn't wanted to come, and he commenced knocking her about. She was qutie hardened to this.

Phoolan's elders had had few resources for modifying children's behaviour except hitting them. She was quite used to being on the receiving end of violence from adults, and expected little else.

But she was in the dark about sex. She knew Putti Lal's violence had taken a new turn.

He was doing something scary as well as painful to her. She thought, ''He is beating me inside!''

In the taster before the film based on her autobiography, her mother-in-law stands in the next room, listening passively.Phoolan knew now that the wedding necklace was just a tether to lead her to a new owner.

After enduring systematic beatings and marital rape for a few days, Phoolan escaped back to her parents' village, but after a while they wanted her to go back. It soon became obvious it would never work.

Her in-laws agreed that she should live with her parents until she was ready for sex, and in the meantime, they requested she be taught housewifely skills, as she appeared to know nothing at all about them.

It was a great disgrace for a woman to walk out on her husband. Everyone knew about it. Phoolan was harassed and insulted in her own village. Men and boys, including her cousins, pressed advances on her.

There was bad blood between her and her cousin. When she was 13, the police accused her of a break in at her cousin's house. They took her into custody for a week. The police not only beat her up but repeatedly raped her all this time.

At the end of the week she was released without charge but the police let everyone know that she was the lowest of the low. Her parents had to pay the villagers so they would allow her to use the same drinking water as everyone else. They thought she would contaminate it, and that she was filthy.

At 16, her parents gave 'gauna' to her in-laws, the presents that marked the beginning of cohabitation, and she was delivered to them. Within a short time, perhaps a few days, they returned the gifts and the bride. They said they wouldn't have her back for anything. They also alluded to the disgrace of her run in with the police.

Phoolan was 18 when she was either kidnapped by a band of dacoits, outlaws specialising in robbery, or joined them of her own accord. She was soon one of the band.

This did cause some discord in their ranks. One dacoit started to flirt playfully with Phoolan. She wasn't interested.

Within days,he tried to force himself on her. Another dacoit, Vikram Mallah came to her defence,and apparently shot the first person in a duel.

From this point on, Phoolan's fans see her as a female Robin Hood. The dacoits swooped down on Putti Lal's village where Phoolan took great pleasure in stabbing him. The dacoits left a note warning grown men not to marry little girls. Was the police station the next stop?

Putti Lal survived. He had a long scar down his abdomen until he died.

Phoolan was in a happy relationship with Vikram. But she was captured in a raid by a rival gang who took her to the village of Behmai. Here she was held for three weeks.

She was repeatedly gang raped. These people were Rajputs and Kshatriyas the ruling and soldierly caste in Hinduism, although long pipped to the top role by Brahmins. The one time they do not mind touching Dalits is when they are raping them.

They passed her around. But Phoolan was now like a grimmer version of Xena, Warrior Princess. Once she had gained her freedom, it was only a matter of time before the dacoits came down like ravening beasts on Behmai.

Phoolan Devi organised the rounding up and shooting of 22 Rajput men from the village. To her admirers she was a legend.

This is when she began to be called Devi, signifying a goddess. One story has it that she only ever targeted the higher castes in a form of reverse class war and that she shared her spoils with the poor.

Those who are not Phoolan Devi fans often deny this. I have no way of knowing what the truth was.

The Behmai massacre was spoken of with awe and rapture by some, but not by the families of the shot men.

Phoolan had a high old time before the law caught up with her. She spent several years in prison for robbery and dacoitry. I don't know why the massacre wasn't on the charge sheet.Perhaps all the witnesses were dead.

Two years after her release, Phoolan stood for parliament vowing to look out for the rights of the sheduled castes. She was elected.

She was hailed as a working class hero, a feminist icon. Her parliamentary career was going from strength to strength. But not everyone was rooting for India's bandit queen.

On 25 July 2001 she was assassinated outside parliament according to some reports. Others say it was outside her own bungalow.

The assassin said he did it to avenge the Kshatriya caste and the grieving widows of Behmai.

Whether you approve of summary revenge or not, Phoolan is more of a feminist role model than Germaine who is all talk and trousers. The talk is mainly bullshit of late.

Oh, and this story contains another child marriage which wasn't supposed to involve sex but did. How much evidence does Germaine need to see that this is the rule and not the exception?

Last edited by marianneh on Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:03 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In contrast then - what of Gloria Steinhem ?

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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 9:55 pm    Post subject: damaris Reply with quote

Judging from her name, I expect Damaris Monty from Kenya came from a Christian background. She was eleven when she was told she was going to be cut, along with other local girls.

She didn't know which part of her body would be cut, but she was told it wouldn't hurt. By the time she was about to endure the worst form of excision - what? With cauterisation?-she knew it was a lie. She was the last of four girls to be done. She saw everything. One of the girls fainted.

Damaris was sternly told not to cry. It would be a disgrace. She had to lie with her legs bound for about a month.

She didn't know that the holy rite was supposed to be a preparation for marriage. She was 12 when she was given as a bride to a stranger who seemed quite old to her.

He began beating her straight away from day one. There was no pretence of waiting for her to be ready. He wanted the marriage to be consummated the day it happened although the scar from the cutting had not healed. It was intensely painful. She was in pain all the next day.

She was still twelve when she gave birth to her daughter. The baby was ill.

She told her husband. He couldn't care less.

He was never nice to either of them. Once he locked her inside while the baby was crawling in the heat outside. She was fratntic with anxiety.

It was after that, that she took the baby and returned to her parents' home.
With the help of Action Aid she did a business skils course. She won't let her daughter be cut. That was one reason she left her husband. She hopes the child will be a teacher or a doctor.

Of course, Damaris is lucky to be alive. The papers have reported the death of a twelve year old married girl in Yemen after three days in labour.

Yemen had turned its back on a minimum age of marriage because 'it is better for parents to decide these things.' The parliament is now trying to bring in an age of 17, but they face opposition from the mullahs who accuse them of being unIslamic.

When I say the West was like this in the past, I meant the recent past and maybe the present too. The USA is astonishing. You can't go into a bar if you are under 21, but until recently, you could be executed as a minor.

It has some of the highest ages of consent in the world, but they are waived in the context of marriage, and not all states have even had minimum ages to marry, traditionally.

In the 80s, a 12 year old boy in Alaska heard that his 15 year old girlfriend was pregnant. She was planning an abortion. He pleaded,''please don't kill our baby!''

The only alternative that would satisfy their parents was marriage. He became the youngest husband in the USA. They lived in something like a granny flat, an offshoot of one of the families' homes.

Foreigners thought it inappropriate if not horrific. One of the mothers said they were happy.''People say it won't last but I think it will.''

If they had been placing bets, she would have lost. A few years later, papers were reporting that they had split up, and the divorce particulars were acrimonious.

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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 8:28 pm    Post subject: gloria Reply with quote

'Imagine if we were linked not ranked.' That's what I always think.

I don't know much about Gloria Steinem. As you mentioned her, I consulted her wiki entry. I think she really is an activist who has done useful and interesting things.

Germaine tried briefly to make pornography that women want to buy, but found out that women are not keen on pornography. Gloria made a distinction between erotica and pornography.

She said one was as different from the other as love is from hate, dignity is from humiliation, pleasure is from pain and partnership is from domination.

Gloria wrote an article on FGM in 1979 which brought it to the attention of mainstream America. She is against it as a form of patriarchal oppression. She opposes unnecessary male circumcision too.

Without mocking individual transsexuals, she did feel uneasily that the op was another form of mutilation which she had to have a conflicted response to. After all, transsexualism was predicated on the concept that sex roles and biology are linked, something that feminism repudiated.

She said, ''If the shoe doesn't fit,do we modify the foot?'' I ackowledge that sums up my own views for most of my adult life, but now I don't think I'm qualified to pontificate on the subject.

I don't feel strongly about it. I just don't like bullying. Gloria Steinem has more recently apologised for any hurt she caused by her remarks. She said that they had to be seen in the context of the campaign she then had about FGM. No doubt, she went green at the vision of any kind of genital modification. Now transsexuals are less unusual, and we're generally cool with them.

In 2008, she supported Hillary Clinton for president over Obama. Of course, she had a right to do that, but the reasons she gave were a bit off.

They had the same policies in essence so she would support Clinton for being a woman. It would be more revolutionary.

Black men could vote from the end of the civil war, long before women of any colour could.

But that's not Obama's fault. The whole point is that nobody can choose their sex - or they couldn't before sex changes came in - or their ethnicity -except Michael Jackson.

Had she forgotten that we are linked not ranked? In any case her words were technically true, but did not convey the whole truth.

White women could vote wthout hindrance in the USA from 1920. After the failure of Reconstruction, black men in the South were prevented from voting, and often lynched for trying to do so up to 1965.

I think Gloria misspoke there. We don't need squabbles about who's suffered more.

But she has done genuinely useful work. I woudn't go as far as calling Germaine a fake feminist as Ayaan Hirsi Ali called Linda Sarsour. If she wants to call herself a feminist, that's fine with me.

But her feminism is almost totally solipsistic. It'a a pity she's been able to steal the limelight from people who are genuinely fighting oppression.

You could get the feeling with Germaine that it's all about her; if she was a man, she would be described as a wanker.

Germaine is not so much interested in supporting other women as she is in deriding them and telling them what to do.

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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: ehlam Reply with quote

In 2013 an eight year old girl was forced to marry a man five times her age. This was in a Yemeni village near the Saudi Arabian border. Germaine would be gobsmacked to hear it but she bled to death from internal injuries on her wedding night.

Just before Germaine defended child marriage on the grounds that it doesn't involve sex, a swap marriage was celebrated in Yemen. In a double wedding, two famillies exchanged brides so as escape expensive dowries.

Four days later one of the brides, Elham Mahdi Al Assi died from a vaginal tear that had occassioned severe blood loss. She was 13.

A Yemeni Human rights group said that Elham was a martyr to Yemen's abuse of children's rights. I've heard of another girl in a forced marriage who also died of internal injuries at the age of 13.

This is sobering. No sensible person approves of marriage at this age. But until 2003, British police would turn a blind eye to a man aged 24 or under having a sexual relationship with a girl under 16 but over 13 unless he was a notorious serial offender.

And I described this as very sensible! Many kids of that age are on the cusp of adolescence, feel the heyday in the blood and believe that they are indeed ready for sex.

Others are late developers, more like chidren. I would now advise a kid of that age not to rush into anything, even if it does feel right. You have your whole life ahead of you. There's no need to take risks.

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 10:03 am    Post subject: cook Reply with quote

Jackie and Adrian Cook of Braintree in Essex didn't show the caution I counselled above. In January 1996 they sold their sensational story to the Sun newspaper for £20,000.

They also gave the Sun pictures to back it up. They had recently attended the wedding of their daughter to a Turkish waiter, 18 year old Musa Komeagac in Turkey. The couple had originally met when the family had holidayed in Turkey the previous year.

Why would strangers be remotely interested in this story? Because their daughter Sarah had been 12 when she began the holiday romance, and was 13 at the time the pictures were taken of her parents dancing at her wedding.

Jackie said that she herself had still been playing with Barbie dolls when she was 13, but Sarah was very mature. It was what she wanted.

She had lain crying on her bed after coming home from holiday, pining for Musa.Adrian had not originally agreed that she should go back to Turkey as a bride, and his relationship with Jackie had briefly broken up over this, but he had come round.

Jackie said nothing untoward had happened when Sarah was 12, but it was OK for her to be in a sexual relationship with Musa now as they were married. It was legal under Islamic law. She was hurt that some of the neighbours in Braintree were saying that they had sold Sarah for three camels.

Of course the specifics of the rumour were risible. What use would camels be to them in Braintree? But selling the story to the Sun shows what the parents were like. They might not have been especially mercenary but they were impulsive, not thinking of the scandal it would cause.

The Sun gave them the money, but the headline to their editorial was, 'You must be mad, Mum.' My husband then had the radio on for most of the evening. A DJ said he had seen the pictures, and Sarah did look like a child.

She had told a reporter that she had been constantly bullied at school, but 'here I feel beautiful, and I am loved.' She was probably bullied because of her ginger hair and freckles. If she wasn't fat, she wasn't thin either.

The personal remarks now came from the media. A serious man on the radio said sympathetically in his cultured voice, ''I've seen the pictures, and she's not the prettiest of little girls.'' Somebody in Turkey said defensively that the imam who conducted the wedding would never have guessed how young she was as 'she is a very big girl.'

Immediately after the news broke, the headmaster from Sarah's school in Braintree was on the radio. Considering that schools now think they have a right to stop parents taking their children on holiday at all in term time, it's quite instructive to remember how humble they could be back in 1996.

He said the whole school, both teachers and pupils, were deeply shocked. They were all concerned for Sarah's welfare. They weren't happy that her education had been abruptly ended. He wouldn't have said that she was very mature for her age.

But it was frustrating. He didn't think there was anything they could do. The teachers had taken her name off the register.

A journalist remarking on the irresponsibility of the parents, said that it wasn't good enough for them to say she had wanted to do it. What if she had wanted to walk naked on a tight rope across the Niagara Falls? Would they have let her do that? If this is what she really wanted to do, you had to ask yourself what was missing in her life.

I think the answer is validation. She was bullied at school about her appearance, but Musa told her she was beautiful. He may well have been an opportunist rather than a Romeo who was truly love struck. A woman wrote to the papers to say he had tried it on with her daughter when they were on holiday in the same resort.

Her daughter had told him to swivel, but children who are bullied and have low self esteem, are always easier prey. People kept phoning in to TalK Radio UK. One female caller with a Welsh accent said it was ridiculous what this woman aged 13 had done. She thought you are already a woman at 13,but she still didn't approve.

A politically incorrect man with a home counties accent said, ''She can't speak Turkish. I don't know if she can cook. People say that Muslims treat women badly. Well, I've got Muslim friends, and I can tell you that they do!''

Adrian's brother couldn't believe this had been allowed. He didn't want to speak to his brother and sister-in-law again. He said that when his daughter had just been on holiday in term time, the authorities had been on his back,and she had been expected to keep up to date with her education with a personalised lesson plan.

The perceived crisis blew over very quickly. If Sarah had been in Iran or Saudi Arabia she mght never have been heard of again. But this was Turkey.

Of course Jackie was right that to marry at 13 is legal under Islamic law. But from the time of Ataturk, Turkey has been a secular state. It had banned polygamy and the burqa. It had aspirations to accede to the EU.

Somebody from the Turkish embassy assured a radio DJ that you cannot marry in Turkey until you are 15. The marriage was not valid under Turkish law, and the local police were on the case.

Shortly afterwards Musa was arrested. It's horrible that Sarah was subjected to an intrusive virginity test. This was justified on the grounds that had she been a virgin, Musa couldn't be charged with statutory rape.

Like Germaine Greer, the police must have thought that Sarah's mother-in-law might have been keeping them apart. This lady, Esma had welcomed Sarah into her home and taught her how to be a housewife.

But you only had to look at what Sarah had told the press to see how quixotic it was to think it was a mariage blanc. Sarah said, 'We were both virgins when we met, but now we can't keep our hands off each other. '

She said that as they weren't using contraception, there was no reason that she couldn't become pregnant straight away. She hoped to have a child by the time she was 14;if it was a girl, she would call it Esma after her mother-in-law.

Esma didn't get any flak, but her husband was arrested for permitting the situation. Turkey had taken Sarah to their hearts. She was like an adopted daughter of the nation.

To them it was a true romance. They also complained of what would now be called Islamophobia in the British press.

But Sarah had been made a ward of court. As she was escorted to the airport in a hijab, she was sobbing convulsively. Gary Jacobs, the well known legal adviser, said on his radio show, ''I felt so sad to see that young lady dragged away crying.''

But not for one moment did he think that she should have been allowed to follow her heart. He even thought it was wrong that under the Gillick competence guidelines, contraception should be available to kids under 16.

Much as I admired Gary, I couldn't agree less in the latter case. It is like saying that becasue burglary is a crime, you shouldn't be allowed to take out house insurance. Kids under 16 need to be protected from pregnancy more than anyone.

It was locking the stable door after the horse had bolted in Sarah's case. She had a baby boy later that year. Her disaffected uncle said in disgust that his brother and his wife had just been given a slap on the wrist. ''This is a nice 14th birhday present for her.''

Instead of going to jail Musa played himself in a Turkish mini series based on the touching romance. A year later Sarah had another son by the next door neighbour Anthony Dighton.

Sarah gradually shed her Muslim garb. Giving an interview years later, she said that she spoke to Musa on the phone all the time. She couldn't take his son to Turkey to see his father as the boy was a ward of court.

Musa wouldn't understand this. He blamed her parents for her leaving. She couldn't make him understand that 'we had to obey the law.'

He said he still loved her but she didn't believe it. If he loved her, why had he married another woman, a devout Muslim, who had given him a daughter? It didn't occur to her that Musa mght be upset that she had had a second son by her next door neghbour.

She appeared to be much closer to Musa than to Anthony Dighton. She said, ''People talk about me as if I was a silly little slag.'' If she had to sign her name, people asked her if she was the girl who married the Turkish waiter. She said, ''Yes, what of it?''

In this case the problem was not that the parents forced a child to do something, but that they weren't firm enough. They didn't even have to be authoritarian.

They could have told a white lie: ''Of course I don't mind you doing it darling, but it's illegal, so it won't be possible.''

Of course you have to let kids make their own mistakes after a certain point, but this was too early. Darius Guppy 's mother Susha wrote in 'A Persian Childhood', that her aunt who had married at 13 still looked and behaved like a child.

In David Cameron you can see the typical stunted public school boy. He started at boarding school at seven. Away from home, he had to assume an unnatural maturity.

But people shouldn't be forced to grow up overnight. They should be able to mature gradually. They will then finish the job.

David Cameron, under his mere carapace of adequacy, is a callous and stupid schoolboy at heart. He was never given a chance to do a thorough job of growing up. Child marriage has the same stunting effect.

Jackie and Adrian were cautioned by the police for putting Sarah in 'moral danger.' Some might say they got off lightly, but Jackie was indignant.

She was having a defensive rant on the radio. I thought she sounded as daft as a brush, but my husband took her side. He was rooting for her wildly.

My husband is a native of ex-Yugoslavia. I wonder if his stance was a cultural thing?

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 2:18 pm    Post subject: yugo Reply with quote

Thirty seven years after his death, Josip Broz, better known as Marshal Tito is still a legend in the former Yugoslavia. My father-in-law was proud to say he had fought with Tito and the Partisans in the 40s.

Tito took the country from the chaos and genocide of the war years to create the golden age of the second Yugoslavia, an outwardly Communist country that was independent of the Soviet bloc and was able to accept American aid in secret. There was no difficuty in travelling to the West or welcoming Western tourists although you did have to be careful what you said to them.

Tito suppressed nationalism in the different republics with some harshness, but it was easy to understand why. The slogan in Communist days was 'Brotherhood and Unity.'

When Tito died in office in 1980, for a few days it was kept secret. There was a real fear that without his unifying presence the country would immediately collapse into war and genocide again.

It didn't. It took nearly ten years for that to happen.

Two female prime ministers, Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi attended his funeral, and had good things to say about him.

Snipers said he was a magician of self promotion who had been addicted to whiskey and Cuban cigars. That he had been through four wives enhanced his reputation. What a character he was!

Nobody held it against him that his first wife Pelagija Belasouva was a 13 year old girl from Russia whom he had previously seduced while he was a prisoner of war. When she left him to go back to Russia, she was sent to a gulag in Siberia for her Yugoslav connections.

In at least one former Yugoslav republic, radio DJs announce birthday greetings to children between songs. They also announce engagements between toddlers of about two and three. Parents think it is quite acceptable for them to make these decisions for their children who aren't old enough to start nursery school.

NGOs have expressed some concern. It must be robbing children of their autonomy, for how can they possibly have consented to this?

In 'Black Lamb and Grey Falcon', Rebecca West mentions Queen Simonida of Serbia. She calls her Simonis.

She was born in 1294, after her father the Byzantine Emperor Andronicus had been greatly grieved by the deaths of other daughters in infancy. He devised a superstitious method to preserve her life. Candles were lit before icons of the twelve apostles.

It was St Simon's candle which lasted longest so she was baptised in his honour, preserving her life for a very weird end as it turned out. Andronicus had to have Christian allies.

The Ottomoman Turks were rallying. They would be invaders more to be feared that the Mongols for they followed up devastation by colonisation.

He expected that his sister Eudokia, the widowed empress of Trebizond would see where her duty lay and agree to marry King Milutin of Serbia. But Eudokia refused.

Andronicus then elected to offer Simonida who was five years old. He set off with her from Constantinople. Their journey was interupted by Lent. They spent the holy season in a monastery.

The Patriarch approached Andronicus about the scandal of the marriage. He asked if he could speak to Simonida about it.Andronicus refused 'with the curtness that is a weak man's substitute for strength'.

He bade the Patriarch give them his benediction, and then they would depart. Milutin had three grown up children. He had divorced his third wife Anna Terter of Bulgaria so he could marry Simonida.

Germaine Greer would expect that a king of Serbia would have no difficulties in finding adult mistresses, and would have no sexual interest at all in Simonida. She would be wrong.

Milutin did not wait. St Simon preserved her life so that at the age of five or six she could be given to a husband old enough to be her grandfather who, by consummating the marriage too soon, damaged her uterus and rendered her infertile.

Rebecca West, who had been a feminist in the time of the suffragettes, then goes all Germaine and says that Andronicus could not be blamed.

The Ottomans were so terrible that there was nothing a Christian king could do but swallow the vices of other Christian kings.

Simonida went back to Byzantium at the time of the death of her mother Irene. She refused to return, declaring that she would be a nun. Her brother forced her to go back to Serbia.

In an icon Simonida is seen being crowned by an angel. Rebecca West thought she looked tense like a cat under an unwanted caress. She was full of that lack of peace that passes all understanding.

If Rebecca West is to be believed, Simonida left a legacy of malice and hatred. Her name has connotations like those of 'Bloody Mary' for us. She said any Serbian peasant will tell you that Queen Simonida was an evil woman though he knows nothing else about her.

My husband had never heard of her. But the Communist state under Tito agreed with Henry Ford that history is bunk, and my husband certainly thought so.

Simonida's wiki article agrees that Simonida was rendered infertile by a paedophile husband but says she has a saintly reputation. A Serbian astronomer who was educated in the post Communist era named an asteroid Simonida after her.

The rape of Simonida may have held off the Ottomans for a whlle but in 1453, Byzantium did fall to the Ottomans who proceeded to rape children of both sexes on the altar of the cathedral of Hagia Sophia which was soon afterwards reconsecrated as a mosque.

Serbia had long since fallen to the Ottomans, back in 1389 when King Lazar of Serbia lost his life in battle on the field of blackbirds better known as the plain of Kossovo.

Until 1877 Serbia was part of the Ottoman Turkish empire. No wonder it was often spelt Servia. Like Iraq, also ruled by the Turks, the unit of currency was the dinar.

My husband picked up spoken English with no difficulty but he could never spell it. When I saw the note he had written about 'Christmas dinar', I wondered if this was the Serbian equivalent of the sixpence we used to put in Christmas puddings.

Rebecca West wrote that all children in the Byzantine empire must have had nightmares about the Tartars or Mongols with their destructive raids, 'little yellow men like living flames of hell.'

Yet when the Emperor Michael Palaelogous wanted them as allies against the Bulgars he sent their leader beautiful icons and the gold vessels to be found in Orthodox churches and his own illegitimate daughter Euphrosyne as a bride. She was well under ten years old.

When the entourage reached south Russia, the intended bridegroom was dead so his son took her instead. He saw the pearls on the headdresses of her attendants and guessed that they were charms agaisnt lightning.

The Emperor sent his other illegitimate daughter Marya even further afield to marry the grandson of Genghis Khan.

Rebecca West said it is only by falling into the most savage irony that we can refer to women as 'the sheltered sex.' Then she backtraced and said that if child marriage was as bad as the modern world pretends, 'the white race would be extinct by now.'

She was writing BLGF in the 30s and 40s so we should expect her to believe in separate human races. She said that after all, Margaret Beaufort had been 13 when Henry Tudor -later Henry vii-was born, and she lived to be a vigorous old lady with scholarly interests.

Yes, but it was touch and go. Henry nearly lost his life through birth trauma. She was expected to die herself, and thought it was a miracle she didn't. In any case she was 'spoyled' as the Tudors put it. She was rendered infertile.

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do not remember much about Gloria Steinhem except that she came to my notice when she published and was damned for " Revolution From Within."


As to her trying to publish pornography for women I think that the truth of the matter is that pornography is for wankers i.e. those who can not make intimate emotional relationships with the opposite sex and are either normal and sexually frustrated and thus very angry with women - because it normally is men who are being emotionally damaged by our society - or who are not normal and have such bizarre demands that nobody wants to have sex with them or indeed even be in the same room as them ... Those who are capable of intimate emotional relationships are in fact having them : why on earth would they be in need of pornography ? ... But in a sense women rather obviously are perverted by our society in a different way - because the number of romantic novellas and films being consumed by women more or less matches the number of pornographic ones consumed by men ... and what is one of those favourite female fantasies ? ... Being an innocent teenager abducted by a handsome forty-something sheik and whisked off on horseback or by private jet to live out the rest of your life with numerous of his other wives in a luxurious secluded captivity ... ? ... Explain that one to me please ...
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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:38 pm    Post subject: myra Reply with quote

Myra Gale Brown was born in the southern USA in 1944. She was too young to remember WW2. But she saw the 'Duck and Cover' films that told American kids that an atomic bomb from the USSR could hit them at any moment, 'with warning or without warning.'

She belonged to the first generation of kids who had regular school drills in which they had to dive under their desks as if this would save them from radiation poisoning in the event of an atomic strike. It put the fear of God into sensitive children.

Knowing that everything could end at any moment did not make Myra restless or eager to live for the day as it did with some. She longed for stability. She described herself as 'serious minded.'

She persuaded her parents to have another child when she was ten. He was probaly called Rusty Brown for a joke. The family called her Rusty's 'deputy mom.'

All she wanted to think about was homes and cooking and a garden to grow roses in. She was practical about what had to be done in a house, perhaps because that was the role she saw grown women filling.

She had no interest in being a teenager or going to high school. Her father JW Brown must have been a bit less conventional. He played bass for his first cousin Jerry Lee Lewis, who looked as if he would be the new Elvis, after Elvis was drafted.

Jerry was the wild pianist of rock and roll who stood on his piano or set it on fire. He had been expelled from Bible school for playing hymns at a rock and roll tempo, accompanying himself for the vocals as he always did.

This did bother him. He had grown up in a shack. The great solace for poverty in the South was religion. Not that that is what he called it He said that the Bible never mentions religion. What was important was sanctification.

It was a time when preachers such as his cousin Jimmy Lee Swaggart said that Rock and Roll was the Devil's music, and that people should be arrested for playing it. It was hard to understand Jerry's Last Days babble. Records exist where he asks if the Devil can save your soul and wildy demanding to know if he had the Devil inside him.

JW Brown must have known that while Jerry was incredibly talented, he was also unstable. He was only 22 but had been through two marriages already, one to preacher's daughter Dorothy Barton and another to Jane Mitcham, the mother of Jerry Lee Lewis Jr.

If Jane complained that he ignored his son, he accused her of lying and being crazy. He had taken his sister from a shack to being able to buy all the dresses in her size in the store.He swanned round in a Cadillac.

Jerry came home with his cousin and saw Myra doing her maths homework at the kitchen table. Myra might have been expected to be afraid of older men as she had apparently fallen prey to a rapist in the past.

But she loved Jerry's music and decided that she liked him as a person. She didn't notice his cold hard eyes.

Knowing what he was like, Myra's father told Jerry that he and his wife were thinking of sending her to boarding school. They weren't happy with how he encouraged her adoration.

Jerry moved fast. He told Myra he had loved her as soon as he set eyes on her. He had been to a court house over the state line in Mississippi with a female friend aged 27. She had forged Myra's signature on a wedding licence.

This would allow him to marry Myra. Myra asked if you didn't have to stand up somewhere and say ''I do'' to be married. Jerry said they would do that the next day.

Myra still believed in Santa Claus. She believed in Jerry too. This was what she had always wanted.

They drove across the state line and went through with a wedding in the court house. No one noticed that she was not the woman who had been there the previous day.

When they presented Myra's parents with a fait accompli, their first reaction was to go ballistic. Her father threatened them both with violence. He saw Myra as a juvenile delinquent rather than an innocent lured into making a terrible decision.

He also threatened Jerry that he would have him put in jail for incest and bigamy. Jerry hadn't divorced Dorothy until after he married Jane, and he hadn't finalised his divorce from Jane yet.

But they simmered down. They allowed Myra to leave home and of course to leave school and to go off with Jerry. She took her clothes in her dolls' house as she didn't have a suitcase.

Elvis was scared of flying.He had never been to Britain, and he never would go. But Jerry had what was expected to be a sell out tour in the UK in 1958.The British press was always sour about Americans. His backing group advised him not to take Myra.

Jerry was counter suggestive. He did take her. Her father and Rusty went too.As they descended from the plane, a reporter noticed a little girl in sunglasses like Jerry's. He held his microphone out in front of the TV cameras and said, ''Who are you, Miss?''

''I'm Jerry's wife'', said Myra. She knew at once from his aghast expression that she had said the wrong thing. ''And how old are you?'' he quavered.

Jerry quickly answered that she was 15, a lie that he thought would smooth things over. It didn't.

A girl had married at 14 in the UK as late as 1951, probably because she was pregnant. It was in Northern Ireland which had a separate parliament at Stormont.

In the mainland UK it would have been neither socially acceptable nor legal to marry at 15. It was time for the British press to go ballistic. Reporters now mobbed the Ritz where they stayed, and were further outraged when Myra said through a crack in the door, ''Go away. Jerry and I are in bed.''

Once it was revealed that Jerry had been lying and that Myra was his 13 year old first cousin once removed, the police and children's services began to wonder if they should step in. Myra told the press that in America, you could marry at ten, 'if you can find a husband.'

Some garbled reports had it that Jerry Lee Lewis had married his nine year old sister. At his first concert, he was booed and pelted with all sorts of objects by a baying crowd shouting, ''Go home, cradle snatcher.'' We didn't use words like paedophile then.

Myra didn't attend any of the concerts. She stayed in their suite in the Ritz, watching children's television. Finally, the manager asked them to go. There were too many people clmbing up to the roof and gawping through the skylights.

The papers said Jerry should be deported. He left of his own accord first, after giving a last defiant press interview bragging about how many cars and houses he owned and alleging his critics were 'just plain jealous.'

He never cottoned on to what the scandal was about. He said ''I plumb married the girl, didn't I?'' it was not as if they were living in sin. He later said he was 14 when he married Dorothy Barton, which was another lie.

Many years later he told Michael Aspel that Myra had been 12 when he married her. He thought this would be more acceptable. He must have thought there was a superstitious objection to unlucky 13.

The scandal followed them back across the Atlantic. No attempt was made to separate them but Jerry was banned by radio and television stations, and his dazzling career dried up.

It did sound ridiculous when a reporter addressed little Myra as 'Mrs Lewis.' Once the divorce from Jane was through, they had another wedding ceremony which they hoped would put things right.

Instead TV comedians joked that it was a double ring ceremony. Hers was a teething ring. They joked that Myra couldn't accompany Jerry to a gig because it was past her bedtime.

Myra was furious. She thought, ''How dare they laugh at us?'' She alwys felt that she was an adult but that others couldn't see it. She believed she was the adult in the relationship. Jerry was so disorganised, like a child.

Jerry would bawl out his friends for using strong language in front of Myra. He wanted his wives to be pure and perfect. He lamented that none of his wives had been virgins, not even Myra as she had been raped.

When a fight broke out among his backing group, Myra threatened to call the police. Jerry knocked her to the floor, saying he would kill her if she ever said anything like that again.

Jerry would be gone all day and all evening and then come home wanting hot food and hot sex. Myra was 14 when she gave birth to Jerry's favourite son, Steven Allen Lewis. Steven drowned in a swimming pool aged 3. Myra said she was burying her son when she should have been graduating from high school.

She described her life with Jerry as simply 'the pits.' In the entire marriage he spent three evenings with her. But she was not surprised when he came home in the early hours and woke her by punching her three times in the head because she had not prepared a meal for her master. She lifted her arms to fend him off, striking him, perhaps accidentally. He then punched her in the face until it was black and blue. He told their daughter Phoebe, ''Your Mama's gone crazy, punching herself in the face.''

Myra divorced Jerry in 1970. She said she had had to endure all kinds of physical and mental abuse imaginable.

On the rebound she married someone surprisingly nice, and worked in real estate for over 30 years. Jerry married again too. His fourth wife Jaren was found dead in a swimming pool in 1982 just before the divorce settlement was about to be worked out.

In 1983 his fifth wife Shawn Stephens was found dead in the bedroom after 77 days of marriage. Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that she had ugly bruises up her arms and had broken nails and blood and dirt on her hands and her hips. When Jerry came into the room, he had scratches on his hands. Jerry had paid for a private autopsy.

It would not be surprising if he had got away with murder once or twice. He shot one of his backing band in the chest although he lived to sue. In 1976 he was found outside Gracelands with a gun. He had come to challenge Elvis as to who was the real king, and to blow him away.

He had had the nickname 'the killer' since he had half strangled a teacher as a boy. He is now married to his seventh wife Judith Brown who is also his carer. Judith had been married for 24 years to Rusty Brown, Myra's brother. So Jerry has now become his own brother-in-law.

Myra said that when Phoebe was 13, she knew what she put her own mother through. No child of 13 should be married.

If she knew a girl of the same age about to make the same choice now, she would say,''Don't do it little girl! Stay in school; go to university; train for a career.'' But things have changed so much in fifty years. It was another world then. it would be nice to think that Germaine would agree.

Myra's 2016 book,'The Spark That Survived' is a personal memoir and also a guide on how to recover from misfortune and your own terrible choices.

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PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2017 8:51 pm    Post subject: disconnect Reply with quote

Pornography is for wankers in the literal and metaphorical sense. There's such a disconnect between a woman watching 'Gone With the Wind' or 'Son of the Sheikh' and a man watching 'Huns Fecking Nuns' or 'Gorilla Orgy' that one fears men and women will never be able to find common ground.

I blame the Fry's Turkish Delight adverts for misleading gullibe teenagers. You can see from posts on the net that teenagers mistake kerb crawlers for mysterious strangers who are going to waft them away to ...to where exactly?

I looked for Greer's 'The Whole Woman' in Cwmbran library where I noticed it before but some selfish bastard checked it out before me. While I'm waiting for it, I've put up some more posts about forced and child marriage and honour killings not being as great as Germaine said. But I'll see what else she has to say later unless I'm too distracted by Atos which may well happen.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: kastur Reply with quote

Kastur Kapadia was born in the sea port of Porbandar in April 1869 to Gokaldas and Vrajkunwerba. Gokaldas had been mayor of Porbandar and he belonged to the merchant caste. He had a trading house that sent shipments of cotton and grain to Africa and Arabia.

Porbandar had been a city state known for its encircling white walls shining in the sun. But the British had levelled the limestone walls. Several religious sects had taken refuge in Porbandar, Jains, Parsees, Muslims, different flavours of Hinduism.

India was perhaps the worst country in the world in which to be born a woman. Even in wealthy families, female infanticide, by a variety of methods, was quite common. It usually happened on the day of birth.

So Kastur who had one older and one younger brother, was unusually lucky to be born to doting and prosperous parents. Generally, from the moment she was born, a girl was seen as a supernumerary, another mouth to feed , who would make no contribution to the family income.

Kastur was unusual in that she was considered to be enchanting, She was very pretty, and was able to develop an independent and fearless personality.

Her home was comfortable and well furnished, but far from ostentatious. There was no garden or courtyard where children could play. So Kastur had to go out to play in the street. One of the most hyperactive children in the street was Mohandas Gandhi known as Mohan or Mohania. He was always twisting dogs' ears.

Constantly trailed by his nursemaid Rambha, he was still able to sneak into the temple, move aside the golden statue of a god and sit in its place.

Before long, Mohan started school but learnt mainly to call the teacher all sorts of names. Kastur was learning too but not in school or kindergarten. Her playing in the street was soon curtailed. Boys and girls past infancy were not supposed to play together.

Kastur had to learn the skills required of a conscientious wife. The training couldn't start too soon. Girls could be married in infancy and would be expected to marry before reaching puberty.

The goddess Sita was held up as a role model. She remained steadfastly loyal to her husband in the most unpromising circumstances. A more robust role model was India's warrior queen the Rani of Jhansi.

I don't know if Kastur was taught sums or to recognise numerals written down but she was not taught to read and write. Her mother and all the girls and women she knew were illiterate. Almost all Indian women were.The only exceptions were princesses who had private tutors or were sent abroad to be educated.

As she grew, it was no longer seemly for Kastur to play with Mohan Gandhi. But the Kapadias had a high opinion of the Gandhis. They too belonged to the merchant caste. 'Gandhi' means grocer. But two Gandhis in succession had risen to be prime ministers of a princely state. They were known for probity.

When Mohan's father Karamchand Gandhi came to the Kapadias' house to suggest a marriage between his son and Kastur, they happily agreed. Mohan had been engaged to two other little girls in succession but they had both died. Infant mortality was high even when infanticide is not factored into the equation.

In 1876, the engagement between Mohan and Kastur was formalised. Kastur aged seven was brought in, richly attired from the women's quarters. A Hindu priest brought in a large brass plate and piled it high wth fruit, flowers and gold ornaments.

He pronounced a blessing over it. He then placed it on Kastur's head and blessed her. Kastur didn't understand what was happening but she was given lovely presents, and she had no objection to that.

Mohan knew nothing about it. He later worked out that mysterious things he had overheard when he was seven were about his engagement to Kastur, but no one told him about it.

The priest might have expected to be called back to officiate at the wedding shortly afterwards, and that Kastur would immediately move into the Gandhi home down the street.

Child marriage was justified on the grounds that as a girl would have to live as part of her husband's extended family, it was best to acclimatise herself to it at an early age.Another reason was what Mohan later called 'a morbid anxiety about female purity.' He asked if women had any say in male purity.

Katherine Mayo's critique 'Mother India' published in 1927 is unfortunately riddled with racism and she had an imperialist agenda. She particulary had it in for Hindus, and admitted in private that when recounting cases of child marriage, she had often changed the religion of the family from Muslim to Hindu.

So when she quoted sources from the 1890s of girls of seven cohabiting with much older husbands, and who died of internal injuries the day after the wedding or 'crawled to hospital on her hands and knees' or in one case quotes a doctor, 'I had never seen a creature so fouled. Her internal wounds were alive with maggots', you don't know whether to take it seriously.

As a result of this book child marriage was outlawed in India and also the UK in 1929. But it continued. No one was going to call the police.

In the 2000s, Sue Lloyd-Roberts came across a mutiple wedding in a garish tent in the desert of Rajasthan. She wrote that about fifteen young girls were dressed in 'crimson nylon dresses with garlands around their necks and decorated with strings of glass jewels which encircled their heads and ended threaded in a nostril.'

None of them looked more than 16. She observed 'a 'child bride who can be no more than six years old, dresed like a doll in scarlet and gold [who] stares with kohl-encircled eyes, uncomprehending as the events unfold around her.'

The six year old stumbles through the wedding ritual of encircling the sacred fire. She howls as her mother-in-law drags her off to her new home.

Sue interviewed Manemana who was eleven. She said ''I liked the dress.It was pink and red with bits of gold on it. She [her mother] told me it was a special day and I was so excited....I was six and there were other girls my age and a bit older. All the boys were older and there were some men. We had to walk round the fire which was scary. But Mother guided me so it was OK.Then [she] started crying and gave me to a strange woman and said ''Goodbye''. I wanted to go home but she ran away and I didn't go home for two years.''

She said she cried and cried. ''I didn't want to leave home but they made me. As soon as I got to my husband's home, my mother-in-law made me work for her.''

She said ''I don't want to talk about my husband.'' Two years later, her 20 year old husband decided he wanted a more sexually mature woman and threw her out. She doesn't want to marry again.

Sue asks her father how he could allow it. He gives her an unashamed hard stare. He says he has five daughters and can't afford to feed them all.''Girls are married at a very young age. Older men usually like young girls and the girls are expected to accept it. It's the tradition.''

Kastur's parents were quite unusually indulgent in that they put the wedding to Mohan off until just after her 14th birthday. Mohan was 13. The Gandhis had moved to Rajkot, 125 miles from Porbandar shortly after the engagement.It was a journey of a few days before the railways.

The Gandhis came back to Porbandar for the triple wedding. Mohan's brother Karsandas aged 16 was going to marry 13 year old Ganga, and a cousin was going to marry another local girl.

Gokaldas had written out the wedding invitations. His wife took one to the temple and laid it at the feet of their family god. Kastur had an ornate cedar wood chest full of clothes and a teakwood chest for her wedding jewellery.

Three days before the wedding, she was given a beauty treatment, covered in pithri. Mohan's father came late. He had been in an ox cart crash, and was quite badly injured. Gokaldas announed to the gods what was happening and where they were, including the positions of the planets.

Kastur's mother had put the red dot on her forehead. Kastur and Mohan took the seven steps around the sacred flame.

''Oh that first night!'' wrote Mohan later, ''Two innocent children all unwittingly hurled themselves into the ocean of life.'' At first they were too shy to look at each other.

Mohan wrote that his brother's wife had coached him in what to do. 'I do not know who coached my wife.' He said he was nervous but no coaching was really necessary. The memories of the former life are sufficient. He meant that they remembered how to do it from their previous incarnations.

Kastur had never been out of the city of her birth before. Going to Rajkot was like going to another universe. For the sake of decency, she and Ganga rode in a different carriage from their husbands.

Mohan's sister Raliatben demanded the customary presents from her brothers before allowing them over the threshold. Then his mother Putlibai put a measure of rice on the floor which each of her daughters-in-law had to step over.

Ganga went first. She was younger than Kastur but had a senior position as the wife of an older brother. Kastur was expected to work for her mother-in--law but Putlibai was not difficult to please. She had been influenced by Jainism, and was so laid back that when told a deadly scorpion was crawling over her foot, she scooped it up quietly and put it out of harm's way.

For some arcane reason, since her marriage Kastur was known as Kasturbai.Mohan was passionate about Kastur and was determined to be faithful to her. But he wasn't too sure she was going to be faithful to him.

He thought she should not leave the house without his permission. 'I took no time in assuming the authority of a husband.' But it was the elders of the joint family that Kasturbai was anxious to ingratiate herself with. Hindu women didn't veil like some of their Muslim neighbours, but the younger women in the household modestly drew their saris over their faces in the presence of elders of either sex.

'The useless and barbarous purdah' of the area meant that married couples were not permitted to utter one word to each other during the hours of daylight. Putlibai would make one of her frequent vistis to the temple, taking Kasturbai with her.

After dark, Mohan would tell her off for going out without his permission. She said, ''Do you really expect me to obey you instead of your mother?'' When Mohan imperiously ordered Kasturbai about, she did not challenge him openly. She just didn't do what he wanted. Mohan 'got more and more cross'. Sometines they did not speak for days.

Mohan considered himself to be a coward. He was terrified of ghosts, snakes and burglars. Kasturbai put him to shame. She feared none of these things.But although Mohan was no brighter or more talented than she, he could blind her with science.

He had passed the entrance exam to a high school and was out of the house all day attending school. Instead of listening to the teacher, he fantasised about Kasturbai.

Kasturbai's parents were missing her. She went back to Porbandar and stayed for six months.

It was a relief to be the cosseted daughter of the house again. When she returned to Rajkot, she was amazed that Mohan who had tried without success to turn her into the most submissive of wives, now wanted to make her the most emancipated of women.

He wanted her to learn to read and wrtie. Kasturbai was shocked. It seemed unnatural. What if Putlibai and Ganga found out? Would it cause bad blood? Would they think she thought she was better than they were?

Mohan began to teach her the alphabet. All the lessons had to happen secretly after dark in their bedroom. By this time, Kasturbai would be exhausted from a day's hard housework.

Kasturbai didn't refuse to try. But she didn't really want to learn.

She was 'not impatient of her ignorance.' In fact she put up passive resistance, or what we might call pathalogical demand avoidance. In any case, Mohan was too randy not to agree that they should stop the lessons and go to bed.

Kasturbai never learnt to read or write anything except elementary Gujarati. Mohan took the blame on himself, saying that if his affection for Kasturbai had been absolutely 'untainted by lust, she would be a learned lady today.'

While Kasurbai had been away, Mohan had fallen under the influence of an older Muslim schoolmate Sheik Mehtab whom Kasturbai disliked. But he didn't need Mehtab to lead him astray. Mohan stole gold from his father's pocket, and money from needy people.

He also thought it was daring to smoke ciagarette butts and drink wine on the sly. At school the boys chanted:

'Behold the mighty Englishman
He rules the Indian small
Because being a meat eater
He is five cubits tall.'

Mohan and Kasturbai had never eaten meat in their lives. Nobody of their caste did.

Sheik Mehtab persauded Mohan that it was a patriotic duty to eat meat to strengthen himself to resist colonial oppression. He secretly arranged for Mohan to have a meal of bread and goat's meat. That night Mohan had a nightmare. A live goat was bleating in his stomach.

Mohan confided in Mehtab that he didn't have enough experience to know if Kasturbai was as sexually responsive as most women. Mehtab said that perhaps she had someone she liked better.

This made Mohan more jealous and possessive than ever. Mehtab also arranged for Mohan to visit a brothel to widen his experience. But Mohan was unable to perform and the woman showed him the door 'with insults and curses.'

When he confessed his misdeeds to Kasturbai, she was more shocked about eating meat.To her, it was the equivalent of cannibalism.

She must have been relieved when her parents summoned her back to Porbandar for another six months sojourn.

Mohan's father had never really recovered from the fall from the ox cart on the way to the wedding. He was going downhill fast and had a fistula. When Kasturbai returned, Mohan had developed the ritual of bathing and feeding his father every night, and then massaging him. He loved to do it.

In the summer of 1885, Kasturbai found out that she was pregnant. Months later Mohan was massaging his father. But all the time he was fantasising about sex with Kasturbai. Kasturbai had never 'played the temptress' but
Mohan didn't need any encouragement to be randy.

He persauded his uncle to take over the massaging, and rushed to his bedroom where Kasturbai was asleep. He woke her, and was soon hard at it.

A servant called for him to come quickly. His father was dead when he reached him. The Victorians thought that sex in pregnancy was inadvisable and wrong, and Mohan was no exception but he hadn't been able to control himself.

Had things been otherwise his father would have died in his arms. Now it was his uncle who had had that privilege.

Four days later Kasturbai went into premature labour and produced a 'poor mite' who lived only three or four days.

Mohan blamed himself. He put it down to intercourse late in pregnancy or, in superstitious moments, to a divine punishment for carnal lust at the moment of his father's death.

But it would have been a high risk pregnancy anyway. The birth was always likely to be premature. Sue Lloyd-Roberts recorded a girl of 15 being rushed into casualty at the Mahatma Gandhi [!] hospital in Hyderabad. She was having convulsions and writhing in pain'.

The gynecologist said wearily, ''She is a classic example of what happens when you have a baby too young. She has high blood pressure and because her body is not yet fully developed, her pelvic passage is too small and the baby will get stuck. We shall have to carry out a caesarean.''

I had a left wing male acquaintance whose daughter was pregnant with a sickly foetus that would have to be operated on in the womb. Trying to cheer him up, I said at least his daughter was in her early 20s which was the best time to give birth.

He astonished me by saying he had thought the best time for a girl to have a baby was when she was 14. He had been told this by an aid worker from the developing world.

Germaine is not the only left wing person to come out with this drivel that everything done in developing countries must be right because they are closer to nature.

This is actually quite racist. It's like saying that the natives can work in the fields, squat for a minute, bring forth a piccaninny, put it in a sling and carry on working. It's as if people in the developing world don't need health care, and are in no danger of suffering serious medical issues like the rest of us. Yet these people think they are 'right on.'

I'm glad other people backed me up when I recoiled, by saying a 14 year old wouldn't have wide enough hips. The best age biologically is between 20 and 22 when you're young but not immature and your body hasn't started rotting yet.

The doctor told Sue, ''Look what happens to these child brides.' Most of them were anaemic. She gestured to a baby only four pounds in weight. He would be lucky to survive. She said that 50% of babies born to children are more likely to die than those born to older mothers.According to the latest census, 30, 000 girls in India have given birth by the time they are 15, some for the second time.

After the death of Mohan's father the family lost money but Mohan studied law. He had less and less in common with Kasturbai as he began higher education. They quarreled but did have a healthy son Harilal when they were 18.

Six months later Mohan was about to sail for the UK to study at the Inns of Court. He was summoned to a meeting of caste elders and forbidden to cross the dark waters. No one of his caste had done it before.

He said he would go anyway. The headman declared that 'this boy is an outcaste from today.' His sister Raliatben always considered him to be an outcaste after that.

Kasturbai pleaded, ''Don't go.'' He was not showing much consideration for Baby Harilal who would not know him when he came back. Mohan's attitude was that the law course in London would give him a 'long and healthy separation from his wife.'

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting - you leave it for others to work out that this was Mo Ghandhi ?

In the film they are depicted recounting their marriage ceremony.

The above piece struck an interesting note - a dissonant one - in that you bring up those almost paedophile arguments about how pubescent girls are ready for sex and pregnancy as from first ovulation - or even worse that more or less from birth babies and children should be involved in the sexual activities of adults e.g. that " the family that plays together stays together " ... in modern times a lot of the explanations given for this kind of abuse of children for the sexual gratification of other members of the family use some kind of spurious Darwinian argument ... in the 18c in association with the Neo-Classical Philosophies about " Nature " and " The Noble Savage " they might have made arguments such as Margaret Mead made e.g. when sexually abusing slaves ... Now I would argue that your determining the ideal age for pregnancy to be around twenty one is not in the vein of 18c Neo-Classical Republicanism's Naturalism but is plausibly in the vein of 20c Modernist Republicanism's Scientificism - surely ? ...

... I tend to think the same way e.g. I think that Capitalism - or whatever - is seriously abusing our human biological cycle or rather women's fertility : the present society is doing something seriously weird in encouraging women to be far more sexually active and available for the gratification of multiple men than ever before whilst suppressing their fertility, postponing pregnancy towards the end of their natural period of fertility then as it fails boosting it artificially and making medical interventions during pregnancy and after childbirth in order to remedy the extra problems which are created ... Is this a pattern which I detect in which prosperous societies deter women from marriage and pregnancy but compensate them with sexual licence whilst poverty stricken societies press them into service in this respect as early as possible but also display punitive attitudes towards female sexuality other than for the purposes of males ? ... Women's Lib then has proven to be illusory - women have been liberated for male purposes not female - and whereas before women at least got to keep their biology now they even find that being re-shaped by men for men - ?
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:41 pm    Post subject: a most dangerous semi-repressed sex maniac? Reply with quote

After she gave birth to Harilal, Kasturbai was often known as Kasturba or Ba. Because Mohan had been expelled from his caste, she was not able to go home to Porbandar where everyone was talking about the scandal.

The Gandhis had fallen on hard times. Putlibai and Kasturba dutifully served their menfolk decent food and then ate rice and milk themselves. Kasturba's only extravagance was making sweets to send to Mohan in London.

Putlibai died just before Mohan returned, and the family put off telling him until he landed at the dock and asked, ''How is Mother?'' Mohan had become a very fussy eater. He had had to eat a certain number of meals in the inns of court to qualify as a barrister. He kept to soggy cabbage, and ate bread and jam in his rooms.

He was more interested in food than in his studies. Putlibai had allowed him to go the UK only on condition he take a vow before a Jain monk not to touch wine, women or meat during his student years.

He was a vegetarian only out of loyalty to his vow. But through dining in vegetarian restaurants he met idealistic European theosophists and other fringe thinkers. He met women who were nothing like the well trained housekeepers at home, such as Annie Besant and Helena Blavatsky. Only then did he become a vegetarian by conviction.

He was told that Putlibai's dying wish was that he should be re-admitted to his caste. He went through all the humiliating rituals although he thought they were nonsense. But then the elders refused to re-admit him anyway.

He and Kasturba quarreled about finances and what he should do. Jad Adams thinks he did beat her up. He certainly threw her out of the house. Her parents now had no option but to allow her back to their home in Porbandar.

Mohan later felt guilty about this, not considering that she might well have been delighted to be allowed back into her parents' home. Later she agreed to return and became pregnant again. Mohan was never close to Harilal, and things would not be much better with his second living son Manilal.

He was offered a rather poor temporary job, representing an Indian Muslim merchant in South Africa. His career was getting nowhere fast at home so he accepted it.

He did not expect to be away for long but he became caught up in defending the Indian merchants of Durban against the racist legislation introduced by Afrikaners. He was away for three years before returning to pick up Kasturbai and the boys.

When they landed at Durban they were kept in quarantine for ages. Afriakaners wanted the ship to be sent straight back to India. It was not a great time. Afrikaners pushed Indians off the pavements which they were not allowed to use in law.

Mohan had thought he could become an Englishman in London. Now he dressed like a Parsee whom the Afrikaners most respected of all Indians. He insisted that Kasturba and the boys wear shoes and stockings or socks. He made Kasturba walk in front of him like a model on a catwalk until he was satisfied that she could stride along in shoes with panache.

Previously they had all eaten sitting lotus fashion on the floor with their own individual plates. They had eaten with their fingers. Mohan now imposed the tyranny of sitting at a table on chairs with their legs dangling and using knives and forks.

Kasturba commented sardonically on what pains they had to go to, to be accepted as civilized. Mohan's clients, friends and admirers came round, and Kasturba waited on them. They gave her presents of jewellery. Mohan was into renunciation by this time and wanted to return the trinkets.

Kasturba wanted to keep the jewellery for the boys' wives, saying, ''Young things like pretty things.'' Mohan said he didn't want the boys to marry young and definitely not to material girls.

Kasturba said this was a fine reward after she had worked her fingers to the bone, 'toiling and moiling' for him day and night. In the end as he couldn't win the argument, Mohan just overruled her and returned the baubles.

Their worst bust up was over emptying and cleaning chamber pots, traditionally the work of untouchables. Mohan wanted everyone in the family to join in this distasteful chore, even for untouchable guests.

When Kasturba baulked at this, he grabbed her by the arm, dragged her to the door and tried to push her out. ''What do you think you are doing?'', she demanded, ''I have no parents or relatives in this country. Close the gate and don't let us be seen making a scene in the street.''

Mohan immediately came to his senses but she had to give in on the main point. It's even said that Mohan further offended Kasturba's sensibilities by adopting an untouchable girl Rani.

Kasturba has traditionally been blamed for being a bigot on this point. But there is quite off putting evidence that Mohan himself had offensive attitudes to untouchables.

Kasturba gave birth to two sons while in South Africa, Ramdas and Devedas. Mohan delivered them himself but didn't bond with them any more than he had with the two older boys.

Kasturba was treated by a doctor for a medical complaint which was almost certainly a gynecological problem. It involved heamorhaging.

Mohan later wrote of her principled stand. The doctor wanted her to drink beef tea for her health, but she refused. She had never ingested any meat product and was not going to begin with the flesh of the sacred cow.

Mohan said she refused although Hindu theologians tried to convince her that drinking beef tea was acceptable in the circumstances. Mohan said it was her choice, but it is hard to believe he did not pressurise her.

When their youngest son was ill and in danger of dying, Mohan refused to allow him to eat meat even when doctors said it was essential to his recovery. Mohan said, ''Even for life itself we may not do certain things.'' The boy did survive in this case.

Mohan was a stretcher bearer for the British during a Zulu uprising as he had been during the Boer War. He had a contemptuous attitude to the native Africans but was disturbed by what he saw. 'It was not a war but a man hunt.' The sadistic treatment of the Zulus may also have aroused disquieting sexual feelings.

He took a vow of sexual abstinence. It might have been for Kasturba's sake as her gynaecological history made further births inadvisable and he did not approve of contraception. But also he wanted to be free to pursue spiritual and political goals. Family life was a distraction.

He had an ashram now, a spiritual commune. Kasturba and the boys were now downgraded from family to five followers among many. Mohan wanted all his married disciples to live like brother and sister. He segregated men and women and would not let couples bathe together.

He bathed with his female disciples but that was different. He kept his eyes shut. He made one of his sons take a vow of celibacy for some years after he was found kissing a girl. I think he made him shave his head too.

When the son was 17, he married a 14 year old girl. Mohan said that his son's marriage meant nothing to him.

He had long deplored 'the cruel custom of child marriage.' His own experiences in youth had definitely given him some hang ups. Food and sex are closely linked in the human psyche. He imposed his fad for food that was either tasteless or tasted disgusting on his disciples. He recorded in loving detail the consistency of the contents of his bowels.

In 1914 the family returned to India. Mohan became convinced that the British should be made to 'quit India.' But he was even more convinced of the importance of the spiritual regeneration of everyone.

He wrote his sons letters telling them exactly what to do in pernickety detail, pointing out how good it was for them to endure patiently Ba's bad temper. His grandson Arun thought it was he who was the bad tempered parent.

He was proud that he showed no favouritism to his sons. When somebody suggested that they should be awarded scholarships to prestigious schools, Mohan gave them to two other boys whom he considered worthier.

Harilal was unlucky in business. Everything he touched turned to dross. When a third party suggested Mohan bale him out, he refused. He said he had always treated his sons as friends and equals from the age of 16.

This was not true. Mohan had always claimed to respect all religions equally. He had readings from the Koran at his commune. His grandson Arun was shocked to discover as an adult that Mohan had forbidden his own father Manilal to marry a woman he remembered from infancy as 'Auntie Timmy', because she was a Muslim. Her real name was Fatima.

He had also shifted responsibility on to Kasturba, saying, 'Ba would be heartbroken.' Arun did not believe this. He remembered Kasturba as extremely tolerant. But Kasturba was upset when Harilal became a Muslim, taking the name Abdullah.

He had probably only done it to annoy his father. Kasturba persuaded him to convert back again.

Mohan enjoyed a spiritual marriage with two female disciples from the UK and a possibly homo-erotic friendship with a devoted admirer. He had an enema twice a day and would greet female disciples with the words, ''Have you had a good bowel movement, Sister?'' There is controversy about whether he also enjoyed giving enemas to his female disciples.

It's often said that he drank his own urine and also cows' urine. I'd love to think it was not true. It's the sort of thing people say with more enthusiasm than accuracy.

It really does appear that he tested his vow of abstinence by sleeping under the same covers as naked young women, including his great niece. One of his sleeping partners was a 12 year old girl.

He has recently been described by a compatriot as 'a most dangerous semi-repressed sex maniac'. That's what child marriage can do to you. He couldn't have a balanced approach to sex at all.

Mohan was embarrassed when people called him the Mahatma, the great souled one. He said 'my Mahatmaship is worthless.'

After arriving back in India he went native to the extent that he went round in a loin cloth and little more. In 1930 he was in London for the Round Table Conference.

A reporter asked if a loin cloth was suitable garb to meet the king. Mohan said, ''The king was wearing enough for both of us.'' He joked that the king wore plus fours.''These are minus fours.''

He was asked what he thought of Western movies that he had watched in British cinemas. He didn't like them. Over the last decade, the hemlines of Western women's skirts had been creeping up. By 1925, they were at the knee.

Mohan thought the new fashions for Western women were indecent. Yet in his propaganda films, he is almost naked. The loin cloth was sometimes augmented with a shawl in cold weather.

Jad Adams' study of Mohan is called 'Naked Ambition.' Mohan was not a complete fool. His humble attire was strategically chosen.

Nehru's daughter Indira spent much time with Mohan as a kid. Later, as prime minister, she was of course known as Mrs Gandhi. She had been married to a Feroze Gandhi.

She was not related to Mohandas Gandhi but she knew it was strategic to allow people to think she was. My ex-mother had assumed she was his daughter.

A reporter asked Indira what her memories of Mohan were, expecting her to say something about wisdom or deep inner peace. Instead, she said, ''What I remember most is his anger.''

When she was 13, she began experimenting with make up. This had triggered some unwelcome memory in Mohan about 13 year olds and sex. He had dragged her upstairs to scrub her face.

Kasturba was active in the civil disobedience campaign and was arrested more than once. Mohan picked up his ideas from all over the place. One of his influences was Kasturba. She had shown him how a woman can resist in a man's world. In the same way, a brown man could win in a white man's world.

This didn't stop him taunting Kasurba as an old woman for illiteracy when she slipped up in spelling or grammar. From that moment, Kasturba renounced books. She said they were no use for 'an illiterate like myself.'

Mohan and Kastur were both prisoners of the British in February 1944. In a concession that did not work out to Kasturba's advantage they were in the same prison.

Kasturba had a heart attack. Her sons came to visit and wanted her to try the new treatment, penicillin. Mohan made them feel guilty about their concern. He was like an anti-vaxxer.

He said, ''Why do you want to drug your mother even on her deathbed?'' This was begging the question that she need be on her deathbed. She was slipping into unconsciousness. Mohan assured the doctor that she would never have agreed to the treatment.

After Kasturba died, Mohan sat with the body for some time. He said how happy he felt. Make of that what you like.

An outraged blogger has claimed that when Mohan was dangerously ill some years later, he accepted penicillin himself. That may be so.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 8:26 pm    Post subject: dev Reply with quote

In 'The War on Women' Sue Lloyd-Roberts wrote that more potential girls are now disposed of in India by foeticide than by the traditional method of infanticide.

She met two sisters, Anjali and Vinisha aged 13 and 11 who were having the usual beauty treatment before their weddings. They already had swirling patterns of henna on their hands.

A brass band proclaimed the coming of the bridegrooms on horseback. The girls were tense. Vinisha blurted out in irritation, ''Of course I'm nervous. Wouldn't you be? We haven't even seen our husbands, let alone met them''. She loved her school and her friends and her home. Now that life was behind her.

''There will be no chance of going to school at my in-laws' place. I'll just cook, do the housework and pleae my husband. I shall have to cover my head with a veil and do everything my mother-in-law says.'' As she won't be going to school she won't be exposed to educational campaigns about contraceptives, healthy eating and health care in general.

In 2014, media outlets reported parents withdrawing their daughter aged 15 from school so she could marry a 40 year old man. The one unusual thing was the stated reason. Her mother was worried about the epidemic of rape and sexual assault. If she wasn't married quicky she would probably be raped, and who would marry her then? Apparently rape and sexual abuse in marriage are different somehow. They cause no scandal.

Rapists in jail helpfully told Sue that after committing rape it used to be the usual practice to set the victim on fire or gouge her eyes out. They believed the recent crackdown where rapists are sentenced to death woud be counter productive. The offender would have a stronger incentive to murder the victim.

Sue asked herself how women had become so degraded in a country where there are four goddesses in the top ten of the gods most devotedly worshipped, where there have been a woman prime minister and president. I've often wondered the same thing.

It's as if two worlds co-exist. There are privileged women in India who study, and practise medicine or law or become actresses and live life to the full. But as Leon Trotsky nearly said, alongside the twenty-first century, lives the twelfth.

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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 9:05 pm    Post subject: philippe Reply with quote

According to psycho-historians, the future Louis xiii of France had the most extraordinary upbringing - or perhaps it was normal at the time. Quoting his doctor's report, they said at the age of two, he went round making everyone 'kiss his cock.' It seems unlikey that a two year old could have forced adults to do this. Perhaps it was what they wanted.

He also allegedly was able to have a good look at his female servant's private parts - not that they were very private - and remarked that 'she had water in her cunt.'

He stood between his nanny's legs. His father joked, ''Look at Madame de Montgelas' son. She has just given birth.'' 'He immediately went and stood between the queen's legs.'

In infancy he was engaged to a Spanish princess. Spanish princesses have the title 'infanta'. After this, people would ask him in fun, ''Where is the infanta's bundle?'' 'He immediately put his hands on his cock.'

Apparently, he was precocious in other ways too, playing the violin at eighteen months.

At the age of seven, he had to graduate from crudity to innocence and say that children were conceived through the ear.

He was nine when his father Henri iv was assassinated. At first, his mother thought it was he who had been killed. She shrieked, ''My son!'', surprising everyone as she showed little affection for Louis and had not embraced him for seven years.

Once she was put right, she ordered that Louis should continue to be birched daily, regardless of his behaviour. It had already been happening since he was two and a half.

His coronation day was not allowed to be an exception. He whimpered that he would rather do without so much pomp and honour if he could be let off.

At 14 he married the infanta who had finally come from Spain. She was confusingly known as Ana of Austria. She was a Spanish Habsburg, but we all know of their Austrian connections.

He tried hard to consumamate the marriage that night, possibly in front of witnesses. But the salient fact was he wasn't hard. He struggled to produce a little something, and some urine trickled out.

This was in 1615. Apparently he was so traumatised by the humiliation that he couldn't bring himself to have another heterosexual bonk for many decades, and everyone was wrong footed when his son, the future Louis xiv was finally born in the late 1630s.

Conventional historians treat all this with some caution. Playing the violin at eighteen months definitely doesn't ring true.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


( I had to chop up that link to a book because it became a single line ruining the above pages - stick it back together.)

I was trying to think about your theme and glooged " sisters in enlightenment " - it turned up the March sisters but that puts me also in mind of Jane Austin's women as friends and sisters and of course the Bronte sisters. But what do you have in mind with this thread.?

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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 1:23 am    Post subject: everybody's somebody's fool Reply with quote

Loretta Webb was born in a one roomed log cabin in what she called 'Butcher Holler', not far from the Van Lear coal mine near the town of Paintsville Kentucky in 1932. 'Holler' was the local pronunciation of hollow. The hollow was a high valley in the Appalachian mountains.

The black miners worked together in the mine with their white colleagues but had to live in another valley, enchantingly called Niggah Hollow. Loretta's father Ted had started working in the mine at a relatively late age. He hated it but he did it to support his wife and children.

The miners were apparently paid in tokens called scrip pennies instead of money that would be accepted everywhere. So they really did owe their souls to the company store.

During the Depression he did not even have that security. But he worked on projects set up under Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal. Loretta said there were not many squirrels left in the area. 'We must [have] eaten them all during the Depression.'

The family couldn't afford wallpaper so her mother Clara glued pages from newspapers and catalogues to the walls. Loretta was called after the actress, Loretta Young, whose picture was in a newspapper cutting on the wall. But 'Clary' couldn't afford to go to the cinema. The kids only ever saw Hitler and Stalin in news print on the log wall.

It is obvious from some of her pictures that Loretta has Native American ancestry. Her mother was partly Cherokee and she believed her father was too.

Otherwise, they were descended from the Scots-Irish who went up into the mountains to avoid being pushed around by the state, and retained several archaic forms of speech such as 'press' for cupboard. They didn't understand long words; some of them didn't know who the president was.

They listened to preachers who had worked in the mine, shaking their remaining fingers at the Devil, but smoked a weed called 'Life Everlasting' which was probably cannabis, until they saw ghosts.

They learnt to play dumb when the feds came looking for moonshine during Prohibition. Some of these hillbillies had never seen flushing toilets or lifts or electric lights but they were better equipped than anyone to survive the Depression. They hardly noticed they were poor.

Loretta had serious illnesses as a child. Her mother walked or carried her down to the hospital in Paintsville every day because they couldn't afford the fees for her to stay overnight. At one time, the doctor may have considered amputating her leg.

According to her story she was given up for dead as a baby. She survived but her development was delayed. She had learnt to talk but now regressed to never saying anything.

Once the mine re-opened, the Webbs moved into a house with four rooms and a verandah. Loretta found her voice when her mother kept having more babies.

She rocked the babies on the 'porch' and sang to them so loudly, her father said,''Loretty, you're going to bust them little babies' eardrums.'' Her mother taught her a tradtional song about the sinking of the Titanic. She sang solos in church.

She was still 'bashful' and didn't have much to say to strangers. In the one room schoolhouse which was worse than something in the Wild West, she was helpful and practical but had great difficulty in reading and writing. She probably had undiagnosed dyslexia when no one had heard of it.

So she gave up trying, and prided herself on 'doing anything to be mean.' 'Mean' obviously means naughty in Appalachian dialect. It was a point of pride to remain stoical when subjected to torture with a horrendous implement called a paddle which 'hurt like crazy'. These torture sessions sometimes happened several times a day.

Strangely enough, Loretta enjoyed school. The last year was for 14 year olds. There was no question of high school. And the 14 year olds were working with material more suitable for ten year olds. This was no secondary education.

Loretta loved it so much that she repeated the final year and was still in school at 15. She made a pie to take to a pie social, an evening entertainment at the schoolhouse.

An ad hoc auctioneer was taking bids for the pies. He was a local man who had been away fighting during the war years and was considered wild. He bid for Loretta's pie himself, spending several dollars on it. But his stomach started 'foundering' when he tasted it. Loretta had mistaken the salt for sugar, or so she said.

He introduced himself as Doolitltle Lynn. He was also known as Mooney. He had come in the hope of playing Spin the Bottle with some of the other senior girls, but he'd rather take Loretta home.

Loretta was daunted by the appearance of his jeep. She thought it looked like something from Mars. They had no vehicles like that in Butcher Hollow. They had no surfaced roads, and had to wade through the mud.

Doolittle took her home and surprised her by expecting a kiss. Apparently he collided with an overhanging branch on his way back to the jeep for there was no municipal lighting in Butcher Hollow.

Loretta skipped merrily into the house, 'singing away.' But when she told Clara that Mooney Lynn had brought her home, her mother said,''I don't want to hear this again. He's a wild man.''

After warning her to have nothing to do with Lynn, the Webbs put up no objection when he kept coming round on an intensive courtship mission. They kept the other children in the back room so Doolittle could brag about what he had done in the war, while Loretta listened dumbly.They just came in to offer him a drink.

It was the Christmas season. Doolittle marked it by giving Loretta a doll which was not the most obvious choice for a girl who was already 15. She didn't know what he meant when he said that by next Christmas she would have a real doll.

As he had a jeep he could take her to places she had never imagined before, an ice rink and another place that was considered a bit rough and risque. Her father was not happy to hear they had been there.

In a typical way parents have, he became so angry at the thought that his child had been to a dangerous place where she might have been hurt,that he had to relieve his feelings by hitting her, ensuring that the thing he feared, would come to pass.

This was unusual. It was not a routinely violent family. Clara then sent her to stay with a relative, hoping that distance would cool Doolittle's ardour.

Shortly after her return, Doolittle appeared at the house. He said he had been given a big pay cheque. They could now afford to marry. Why didn't they do it the next day?

They had been together a month. Loretta agreed but said he would have to ask Ted. Ted was on the verandah. He delegated responsibilty to Clara. Clara sent him back to Ted.

After Ted and Clara had gone to bed, Loretta and Doolittle confronted them together. Ted said that Loretta was 'awful young' to 'think of getting married.'

Doolittle said he knew that, but he would take 'real good care of her.' It didn't apparently occur to her parents that they had a responsibility to save her from herself, or that they could change her mind without actually forbidding the marriage as such. They could have dampened her enthusiasm by telling her what Doolittle's demands would include.

Ted and Clara gave their grudging consent. Ted had two conditions, that he would never hit her and never take her away from the mountains. But Ted would never be able to enforce compliance with his conditions.

Ted and Clara were obviously unhappy as they cried all night and couldn't bring themselves to look at the happy couple. Clara said, ''This is something you'll regret for the rest of your life.''

The next day, Loretta and Doolittle went down to the courthouse to be married by a judge. Loretta was trying to look grown up in her mother's hat and her aunt's shoes. She said, 'I was the ugliest bride you ever saw.' Doolittle signed the register as 'Oliver Vanetta Lynn.' Loretta said, ''Who's that?'' She thought his real name was Doolittle.

They then drove off on honeymoon. Loretta said she didn't have much idea what a honeymoon was about. Although she had seen her mother pregnant at least five times, and Clara had breastfed some of the children until they were toddlers, Loretta apparently had no clue about how babies were made.

She said her parents had told her that they had found her by turning over a cabbage leaf. She believed them, and even at 15, had never had second thoughts on the likelihood of it.

Her first shock that day was when they reached civilization, and she attempted to use a public toilet. She was petrified of using a flushing toilet. She had never done it before, and decided she couldn't face it.

Her mother-in-law Angie had given her a nightdress. It was the firsr one she had ever had.

When they reached the 'cabin' where they were to stay, she put it on over the clothes she was already wearing. That was what she thought you were supposed to do.

Doolittle explained the mistake, and sent her back to change. She spent a long time warming herself at the radiator. She said in 'Coal Miner's Daughter' that Doolittle had a hard time getting what he wanted. He just about had to rip everthing off. She didn't know what he was doing.

She said, ''I went into a kind of fit, I guess.' She said, 'I could tell you things but they probably couldn't be printed. I was just so young.'

It sounds like marital rape, but she later clarified that he did not achieve penetration. The next morning she sent him to bring her back some of the communal breakfast from the refectory as she couldn't bring herself to face anyone.

She then greeted him, ''Shut the door, you little whore.'' She didn't know what 'whore' meant, only that it rhymed with door. He didn't react well. In fact he went ballistic, beating her up, setting a pattern that would be a constant in the marriage. He had broken one of Ted's conditions within just over 24 hours.

When they returned from honeymoon, he discovered that she must have had help with the pie. She couldn't acutally cook.

She did try, but he threw her offerings out over the verandah in disgust. Once, a dog came and sniffed at the mess, then walked away. Doolittle said, ''Even the dog won't eat your cooking.'' Loretta brought in a former school friend who made a lovely meal, but Doolittle threw it out of the door through habit.

Over their first weeks, Loretta learnt to endure sex, but picked up the 'old woman's attitude' that sex was fun for men but not for women. She wrote that she would have appreciated being treated with patience and gentleness, but even if it had happened, it might not have made much difference. 'I was too young to be living with a man. It's that simple.''

It was not until she was in her late 20s that she found out that it was possible for a woman to masturbate or have an orgasm. Doolittle bought some sex books for her to look at, but she couldn't understand them.

Loretta went for a consultation at the doctor's surgery. She felt so shy, lying on his couch that she pulled the sheet over her head. Even adults didn't know big words like 'sexual intercourse' in Butcher Hollow.

The doctor put his arm around Loretta and said, ''Honey, your problem is you're pregnant.'' Loretta didn't know what the word meant.

Doolittle found her inability to become an adult overnight, more than he could tolerate. He threw her out, telling her to go back to her parents.

One of her brothers found her plight hilariously funny. She had been abandoned while pregnant. What could be more amusing? Her brother laughed at her. She chased him through the fields, trying to hit him but couldn't get anywhere near him.

Loretta had found out that Doolittle was now having an affair with the woman he had hoped to marry before he decided he would have to take second best. Loretta's difficulties with written communication didn't prevent her writing the woman, whom she considered an immoral temptress, a letter warning her off Doolittle.

She even caught sight of the woman demanding that Doolittle give back her picture and her letters. Clara gave Loretta money to go to the cinema in a bid to cheer her up.

Doolittle followed after her in the street on the way back, making little jokes to break the ice. Loretta wouldn't speak to him.

Doolittle had an argument with the mine bosses. He went off to Washington State, a thousand miles away to work in the logging industry.

He and Loretta were supposedly reconciled. But if she joined him, it would be breaking the second condition that Ted had made.

Ted didn't want her to go so far away. He told her the trains often crashed, killing people. But Loretta could feel the baby kicking, and she had the old fashioned view that her place was with her husband.

Clara wrote a letter 'in beautiful handwriting', asking the guard to look after Loretta. Loretta was too shy to approach people on the train.She didn't want anyone to know she was pregnant.

She was afraid the baby would be born while she was asleep and be suffocated by the blankets. She was admitted to a hospital in Custer, Washington, where she 'had to take time to stretch' as she was so small.

Doolittle had wanted a boy. Loretta thought you always had what you wanted, so she was surprised that it was a girl. Doolittle told her he was happy it was a girl, an unusual attempt at tact. Loretta could see it wasn't true.

Loretta didn't feel she was trapped for life while she had only one baby,Betty Sue. A year later they were back in the mountains for a short stay. Loretta was wearing jeans but no shoes.

She was literally barefoot and pregnant - again. Her mother-in-law Angie and she were hanging out heavy sheets on the line. Angie predicted that she would have the baby that night. She did. This time it was a boy, called Jack Benny after a comedian.

It was only while she was pregnant with her third child, that Loretta found out how babies are made.The baby was a boy, Ernest Ray. At one time the hospital staff thought Loretta should have a ceasarean section but she was too young to sign the consent form. The nurses asked if she had any idea where her husband was.

She had no idea. He had gone hunting. Then the baby came of its own accord. The nurses told Doolittle that he couldn't take his second daughter out of the hospital until she was registered with a name.

He was so affronted at being told what to do,that the child wasn't given a name until long after the deadline. She was finally registered as Clara Marie, but always answered to Cissie.

Loretta had four chidren before she was twenty. She also nearly died of blood poisoning after a spontaneous abortion. She said she loved her kids but didn't have any time to enjoy them when they were little. She had to work so hard. One of her few relaxations was listening to country music on the radio, and singing along with it. She had done this since she was a child.

She had found out that Doolittle was an alcoholic, or as hillbillies said,' a drinking man'. He was also a womaniser.Loretta mostly blamed his conquests for 'trying to steal her man.'

She later wrote a song warning a generic rival to 'lay off my man if you don't want to go to fist city', immediately after acknowledging that he was 'no saint.'It's an interesting idea that women should have an automatic loyalty to other women whom they don't know, that there should be an unspoken agreement not to move in on another's property.

It is based on the premise that spouses own each other. The wonder was that Loretta wanted Doolittle herself. He was drunk most of the time, something she admitted only after his death. He let her go hungry, but required her services as a skivvy.

Angie had given him a rag for a dummy when he was a baby that had been soaked in whiskey. The attitude to childrearing in his family was that anything goes.

He expressed his annoyance with Betty Sue by tying her to a clothes line in the hot sun. Loretta was rushing round, trying to untie the knots. Or he would try to cure a son of what he thought was cowardice by hanging him upside down by his ankles off a bridge. As he treated Loretta like one of the children, he wasn't interested in hearing her views on the subject.

He said to her later,''I raised you the way I wanted you to be.'' Loretta was once conscientiously preparing green pickles. Doolittle came home drunk and was incensed that his dinner wasn't ready. He threw the glass jars of pickles at the walls, while Loretta tried to prevent the kids getting hit by the missiles or cut by the glass.

Loretta blamed her Native American blood for her inability to absorb alcohol. She drank a little drop and was falling about. She said that Doolittle half drowned her in a form of waterboarding in front of the kids. He told them he was sobering her up. And all the time, he was drunk himself.

Loretta worked as hard or harder than he did, but as she wasn't paid, he didn't see that she was making any contribution. Once, while the younger children were babies, he was being his usual abusive self. She punched him back, and knocked his front teeth out.

But she left the roots in, which were now exquisitely painful. As they knew no-one they could leave the kids with, they had to take all the babies as they went looking for a dentist.

It was remembering the love and esteem that her father had for her, that enabled Loretta to respect herelf when things were dire with Doolittle. Her parents has now moved to an urban environment, Wabash, Indiana.

She now had a sister younger than some of her own children, Brenda who would later be the cross over country and pop singer, Crystal Gale. Brenda had a quite different early environment from her siblings.She would be able to go to high school and have a better life.

Ted died in his early fifties of what miners called 'black lung'. The one time Doolittle praised Loretta, it was about her singing. He bought her a guitar which she learnt to play.

But when she said she didn't want to play or sing professionally, he told her he'd let her know what she wanted.

He forced her to face crowds by making her drink water until her bladder was full, so she would have to finish an act in a local venue so she could get to the ladies' room in time.

Once she had begun, Loretta did get a buzz from public performances. It was only when she was on the stage that she felt grown up and in charge of her life. She couldn't spell but she found and developed in herself a previously unsuspected creative side. She wrote her own songs. Many of them were inspired by Doolittle,few in a good way.

From small beginnings, a successful career grew. She played with her childhood heroes, the country singers she had heard on the radio as a child.

Country music often sounds quite dull or crude to me, and it seems to me that most of the tunes sound the same. But I don't have much of an ear for music. I'm just put off by themes conveyed in 'Sometimes You Have to Fight to be a Man' and 'Dropkick Me, Jesus, Through the Goalposts of Life.'

Some of it is better than others. Loretta was talented. She had a smiling, humorous persona onstage. It was easy to warm to her.

She wrote about the contraceptive pill. She had never taken it, but if it had been available when she was younger, she would have been 'popping them like candy'. Some radio stations banned her for suggesting that the pill was a good thing, and that it's a drag to be constantly pregnant. But the ban helped the sales.

She accidentally became pregnant with twins, Patsy and Peggy in her 30s. After that, Doolittle had the snip. By this time, Betty Sue was married. She also married at 15.

Her mother was always singing about country and the joys of a close knit family. But she was never at home. She was always touring. Doolittle was always chasing skirt. Betty Sue wanted stability elsewhere. She had her first child while the twins were babies.

Loretta Lynn came from nowhere to live the American dream.She bought a whole town Hurricane Mills where she had a mansion. She had worn home made dresses recycled from sugar bags as a child. It was no wonder she favoured long fussy dresses for her stage appearances. She could now buy whatever she wanted.

But as has been pointed out, once you wipe the stardust off, you are left with an uneducated child from one of the most isolated cultures in America, who married a man six years older who was crude and also unskilled and uneducated. It's a story of frequent and apparently mutual domestic abuse. At one time they were so hungry, they were eating dandelion nettles. And the child was a thousand miles from home. It could easily have ended in murder.

It nearly did. Doolittle knocked a stranger he found irritating into the sea from a pier in the Netherlands. He struck a dog so hard with a stick he killed it. Loretta had terrible headaches and nervous problems. Doolittle said he couldn't stand sick women.

He managed to make her write highly critically of their son Jack Benny in her first book. After both Doolittle Lynn and the son were dead, she admitted that she hadn't been expressing her own opinion.

The book and film 'Coal Miner's Daughter' make Loretta and Doolittle ride off into the sunset. But, as she said in the second volume, in real life, 'nobody rides off into no sunsets.' Doolittle didn't mellow.

He became convinced that she was as unfaithful to him as he was to her. He hid in the shower stall with a gun in case she came in with a man. If she had, he would have blasted them to Kingdom Come.

Yet she put up with him until he died of diabetes in 1996. If asked why she never divorced him, she said there were so many reasons. In her locale, you 'minded' your man. You made your bed and lay in it.

Loretta was baptised as a member of the cult like Church of Christ as an adult. This decision was based on a misunderstanding of a passage she read in the Bible. It meant the opposite of what she thought.

She made religious albums with her son Ernest Ray. They looked as wholesome as apple pie.

Yet it was not until she saw the TV show 'Leave it to Beaver' in the 50s that she realised that a happy family was even possible. She knew the show must be hopelessly idealised. Yet it was a revelation to her.

Jack Benny Lynn was killed in a freak accident at the age of 34. He fell from a horse while trying to ford a stream,knocked his head on a stone, lost consciousness and drowned. Although she knows her children think it is crazy, Loretta has invented a conspiracy theory about this.

She believes it was no accident. She thinks evil people killed her son. She believes in astrology and reincarnation. She has memories of being an Irish girl in a previous life.

She used to respect President Andrew Jackson before she found out how he pushed Native Americans around.'He wasn't on my side. Why should I be on his?' She has read 'white and red history books', and says, ''Let me tell you friends, they tell different stories about the same events.''

During the Vietnam War she stood up for Calle,the perpetrator of the My Lai massacre, perhaps out of confusion. She misheard his name as Kelly.When asked why she called him that, she said, ''They called Jesus, Jesus, didn't they?''

Loretta was a victim of poor general knowledge. Once she had made her fortune, she began to travel abroad. She thought the Germans were tidy and conscientious people. She was on a tour of a concentration camp without knowing what it was.

I suppose it was Auschwitz. When the English speaking tour guide said, '''This is where Jews were brought to be gassed'', Loretta shouted, ''What?'' in disbelief. She had lived through World War Two, and Doolittle had fought in it but she had never heard about this.

She had to rush out, and for a while, found it hard not to hate all Germans. She had only quite recently heard of the Trail of Tears when Native Americans were taken by armed guard away from the mountains and marched off to the West. But she had a vivid imagination. She had visions about it later.

She identified with Native Americans but didn't think an uprising on a reservation in the 70s was a wise move. She didn't think it would do any good.

She worked with the singer,Patsy Cline before the latter's death in a plane crash in 1963. At about this time, Betty Friedan wrote 'The Feminine Mystique' about 'the problem with no name.' Women were now marrying younger than their ancestors.

Middle class people aspired to graduate from high school at 18. But a woman now had kudos if she married at 16. So we now had married schoolgirls who didn't plan to do anything with their high school education on graduating.

Betty Friedan came into the ladies' room at a TV station while Loretta was there. Loretta didn't know who she was. She resented her for 'smarting off' at another woman who was washing her hands. Loretta loudly took the other woman's side,exclaiming how awful these uppity snobs were.

Within moments, they were on a talk show together, with David Frost. Betty Friedan spoke about the necessity of feminism. Middle class wives had comfortable but empty lives, dominated by ennui. ''What do you think of that, Loretta?'', asked David Frost.

''Of what?'', asked Loretta, jumping out of a doze. She hadn't been listening. The audience roared with laughter. She was later ctitical of mainstream feminism for ignoring blue collar women.

She was a bit confused about the meaning of feminism, saying she had never burnt her bras,as if that disqualified her from identifying with it. She made some pro-feminist statements, but in practice, appeared to be in love with a drunken brute who thought he had a right to tell his wife what to do.

As a young adult, Loretta said it was just 'plain wrong' to live together without being married. By the 70s, she had come to take the view that she shouldn't be telling other people what to do.

She could never bring herself to have an abortion, but she didn't like aggressive moralising about women who did. By the 2010s, she was being asked for her views on same sex marriage.

She said, ''I'm an old Bible girl, but each to their own.'' She couldn't recommend child mariage from her own experience. She said her life with Doolittle was one of the world's hardest love stories.

She appeared to think it was worthwhile but later said, ''I wouldn't live my life again if you offered it to me on a silver platter.' One of her nieces became a victim of domestic murder.

For a long time, Loretta put round the story that she was even more of a child bride than she really was. She claimed to have married at 13, which would not have been allowed in the state of Kentucky. No doubt, it was a way to make herself look like a quaint cultural remnant, something like the Last of the Mohicans.

Loretta Lynn supported Donald Trumps's successful bid for the White House. She said, ''He speaks to me.'' I think she may have campaigned for him.

I am not at all surprised. This is what I would have expected. But I can't explain why people of this background, fall for the narcissistic fool.

He would just exploit people like that if he could. Loretta probably finds educated people scary and uncongenial. When Trump bullshits in accessible language, he sounds like the kind of person she can relate to.

Betty Sue who collaborated on some of Loretta's songs, died of emphysema in 2013. Loretta had a stroke a few days ago. She is expected to make a full recovery although she is in her 80s.

She says her music is not political. Her mother was a Democrat, her father a Republican. She loves holidays in Mexico and is friendly to Mexicans. But she somhow hears in Trump's empty braggadacio the true ring of a solid, dependable leader.

Last edited by marianneh on Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:34 pm; edited 3 times in total
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