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Germaine is Not Much of a Sister
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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good read - sat here with Daf quoting bits from it.

When are we going to hit 5000 contributions and 1300 readers then.?
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Marianne,

an email to you - but does that address still work ?


David B. Lawrence,

From: David B Lawrence
Sent: 24 May 2017 08:26
Subject: Marilynne Robinson : The Death of Adam ... The Republic in Gilead





Dear Marianne,

I have to go out - but in brief : have you read The Handmaiden's Tale by Margaret Atwood ?

Some quotes from a New Republic essay below - for you to juxtapose with Germaine Greer and Gloria Steinhem ?


David B. Lawrence,


The Handmaid’s Tale Is a Warning to Conservative Women -

Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel lays bare the horrors of collusion with the patriarchy

BY SARAH JONES April 20, 2017

Like the Kingdom of God, the Republic of Gilead is both now and not yet. Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale conjures a theocratic dystopia—a version of the United States taken over by fundamentalist Christians after a terrorist attack on Washington. Women are now divided into rigid classes determined by an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Bible. Atwood’s protagonist, Offred, is a Handmaid—a fallen woman who is forced to bear children for righteous couples—and the book follows her sufferings under the Gilead regime. Atwood paints in garish strokes intended to shock: This new society calls homosexuality “gender treachery” and forbids women to read, own property, or choose their own clothing.

Since the novel’s publication three decades ago, Gilead has existed as a paper nightmare that gains or loses dimension based on the state of our national politics. Of course, we don’t divide women into classes of Marthas, Handmaids, Econowives, and Wives; we call them “the help,” “surrogates,” the working class, and the one percent. ... ... ... In the Tale, this paradox is exemplified not just by Serena Joy but by Aunt Lydia. Cruder and lower-ranked, Aunt Lydia is the hand that wields the cattle prod. She’s charged with the re-education of future Handmaids, and she accomplishes this by emphasizing both the high value of women and the necessity of their oppression. “A thing is valued,” she teaches, “only if it is rare and hard to get. We want you to be valued, girls.... Think of yourselves as pearls.” Serena Joy chose her life. Lydia is empowered to attack other women with a cattle prod. Both are proof that women are represented in Gilead’s power structure. If feminism is only about representation, choice, or some vaguely sketched notion of empowerment, it is difficult to say our Serena Joys and our Aunt Lydias are not feminists. ...
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PostPosted: Wed May 24, 2017 10:01 pm    Post subject: lady oracle Reply with quote

I haven't looked at my e mails for ages, not since my partner gave me a new computer. How long is that? I've never published my e mail address or yours. I haven't read 'The Handmaid's Tale' although I have heard of it.I thought it was some kind of futuristic science fiction.

I can't remember what gave me that false impression. I went through a phase of enjoying fantasy literatue such as horror and science fiction when I was about eleven.I went straight through, and never looked back.

I had to read Margaret Atwood's 'Lady Oracle' at university. It's an echo of the phrase from Shakespeare: 'I am Sir Oracle and when I ope my lips, let no dog bark!'

This of course was role reversal itself. The Oracle at Delphi was always a woman. Her prophecies were like predictions in a horoscope column; they were so vague, they could mean anything, and were, of course, worthless.

I think it's right, isn't it, that the dystopia of 'The Handmaid's Tale' is not like 'Brave New World', not exactly, because it's not as if it was something the world hasn't seen before? This is a scenario that has existed, and does exist, and will exist in different parts of the world at different times.

It's more depressing than frightening for that reason. I can't remember now which social engineer said, 'A woman's ovaries belong to the state'. We've seen Nazi baby farms. One of the singers in Abba came from one, but not the one you'd expect, based on her appearance. There have been rape camps in Bosnia since the book was published.

My friend Liz had a nightmare in which she was kidnapped by the anti-contraception campaigner Victoria Gillick. Gillick took her to a large country house in darkest Surrey.

She gave her a stark choice: ''We'll either kill you on the spot, or you'll have to stay here for nine months and breed.''

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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 8:46 am    Post subject: Shabaab Reply with quote

Most of us will have heard of Al Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group centred in Somalia. No sooner were the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram rescued than we hear that Al Shabaab has a similar racket.

It's making inroads into Kenya where it notoriously blew up part of a shopping mall, and has recuited young Kenyan men in the Mombasa area for training and brain washing. Some of the young men have had a change of heart, escaped and been deprogrammed.

Salama Ali has found out that they have also been targeting young women with false job offers for a more primitve purpose. Christians and Muslims alike are considered fair game.

Faith aged 16, was recruited for a false job in Malindi. She woke up in a small room with another woman. It was used as an impromptu rape camp. Later she was taken blindfolded to a clearing in a forest where she had to cook for Islamists with long beards.

She found that she had become pregnant. It would have been pointless to even guess the identity of the father. It could be one of a whole series of people who had used her on the same day.

She had to deliver the baby herself. As her grandmother had been a traditional midwife, she wasn't too clueless.

She later escaped from Al Shabaab with her daughter. As the child grew up naked in the forest,she would find it hard to adapt to city life. Al Shabaab won't miss Faith. They have an abundance of sex slaves.

If you're wondering in which context you've heard of Al Shabaab before, it may be that you read the story of how they stoned to death a 13 year old rape victim in a football stadium in Kismayo, Somalia in front of a crowd of a thousand people.

Sometimes, we have to recognise the limits of language. There are no words that suffice to describe these people. Words like 'hypocrisy' and 'evil' are too weak and colourless.

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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 9:56 pm    Post subject: from Riga with Love Reply with quote

The main industry in Latvia's capital city is allegedly sex tourism. But the local girls don't get a look in. They get ogled and harassed by stag parties from Cardiff.

But their former colonial masters from Russia have muscled in on their patch. The Russian girls are often younger and will accept less money, undercutting the locals.

Monitored by Sue Lloyd -Roberts, Aija found a web site looking for dancers.She typed in, 'I am 22, nice looking and have dance experience. What do I do to find work?''

A reply came immediately from Denmark: 'Hey Aija! You need no experience. You can start this week if you like.' She need only get a ticket to Copenhagen. If queried, she should say she was a tourist.

Aija was an attractive blonde who looked like a ballet dancer. But she was a 25 year old journalist. She said, 'I find it sad that so many girls from the Baltic States, get caught like this, tempted by the prospect of earning a living wage for the first time in their lives, and then end up destroying their lives.''

Latvian girls have been murdered in Denmark, in subterranean clubs and bars.Aija tok a taxi from the airport to Club 8 as instructed, tailed by Sue and a minder.

She first met a woman called Luna who took her passport for 'safe keeping.' Luna showed her the dormitory she would share with other girls, the sauna and the place where sex parties were held.

Aija said she came to dance. Was she to understand she was expected to provide sex for strangers? The answer was in the affirmative.

Before any clients could arrive, Sue phoned the Danish police to report a kidnapping and the threat of rape.

The police raided the joint and arrested everyone including the Hungarian sex slaves who were subsequently deported. No charges were brought. The pimps would just need to import a new shipment of slaves.

Natasha Pavlova was full of hope when she landed in Copenhagen in 1996. She phoned her mother to tell her she had a Danish boyfriend; they were going to marry; they were now looking for a place to live; Soon she would be able to bring her small son Andrei from Latvia to join them.

Her mother was delighted. It was never established if the boyfriend existed or if he was a pimp. It is known that Natasha's life ended in what the Danish tabloids called the Massage Parlour Massacre.

For months whenever the phone rang, little Andrei jumped up, expecting that it was his mother. For his grandmother hadn't yet scewed up the courage to tell him the truth.

Tatiana Kurova said, 'Women will go, no matter what because there is simply nothing to eat here. There are people living in unimaginable poverty,they see their parents live on crumbs of bread and they don't want to do the same.'

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:26 am    Post subject: bloodhounds Reply with quote

In the late 1800s Matilda Joslyn Gage revealed in 'Woman, Church and State' that women and girls were being trafficked in the USA. They became sex slaves in what were effectively rape camps for the convenience of the men who worked in the pinery and logging industries of Wisconsin and Michigan.

The camps were patrolled with shotguns and bloodhounds to prevent escapes and to recover any women who did escape. Congress later heard evidence which confirmed the allegations. But the book was banned. The authorities didn't want to do anything about the situation. Things have not changed much.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 6:48 am    Post subject: Nazir Afzal Reply with quote

White girls from chaotic and unhappy families in the Rotherham area were lured by British Pakistanis with promises and false love into a trap where they became sex slaves passed round by brown men. The abusers despised them because they were white and female.

But when the girls complained, it was they who were accused of racism. The children's services and other public bodies had been infected by the virus of cultural relativism.

This delayed justice for many years. A senior police officer Nazir Afzal took the subject extremely seriously, and did a conscientious job. For this, he has been labelled a race traitor and a coconut, brown on the outside, white on the inside.

Yasmin Alibhai Brown was shocked when a Hindu she had known since they were in Uganda before Idi Amin's purge, told her that she hates Muslims, not Yasmin herself of course, but other Muslims. Her daughter was harassed and sexually assaulted by Muslims when she was at university in a northern English town.

Yasmin Alibhai Brown is upset by the lack of empathy for the victims among the British Pakistani community. She says they should feel that they are 'our girls.'

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: mirpur Reply with quote

These Asian traffickers in young girls were racist. They would never treat their 'own' girls like that, would they? Don't be so sure. The difference is slight.

After the construction of the Mangla Dam on the Punjab-Kashmir border, a great swathe of agricultrual land in the Mirpur region was flooded. The government had to pay compensation to those who lost their homes.

The compensation often went on plane tickets to the UK where there was work to be found in the textile towns of the North of England. The connection between the two places goes back to the 50s.

For generations, the extended families back in Mirpur, want the daughters of families settled in northern towns to marry their sons so they too can get residency in the UK. What the girls think about the subject is not the issue.

They are treated as things.For some of these people, white girls are there to be public sex slaves. Their own girls are there to be private sex slaves. There is no other difference.

Nazish, a British Pakistani, told Sue Lloyd-Roberts, ''At home, it was all discipline and respect for the elders and very male dominated. I was even told I must respect the word of my brothers. I couldn't understand why my friends were allowed to go shopping on Saturday. I wasn't. I had to go with my mum and brother. It was so embarrassing, bumping into a friend or a boy from school.''

Her parents wouldn't let her out without wearing a headscarf. ''Every morning, I would dump my scarf in the bin at the back of the house and take out my make up and my file which I covered with pictures of my favourite pop stars and actors. I just wanted to be like the other kids.''

Her parents eaves dropped on her phone conversations, and were galvansied into action when one of them answered the phone, and a male voice asked to speak to Nazish. Nazish had done her GCSEs and was now studying for A levels. She hoped to be a doctor.

She thought nothing of it when her parents told her they were going on holiday. ''I was excited because whenever we went back to Pakistan for the summer holidays, Mum would buy a new salwar kameez, and sandals for me...All my uncles would be at Islamabad airport to meet us. We would spend time in the town of Mirpur and then at a farm owned by an uncle and aunt. They had a son of about 20...he used to say we'd be getting married soon, but I didn't take it seriously because everyone said he was a bit soft in the head.''

Nazish thought she was going to a cousin's wedding. And she was. It was the wedding of the 'wicked and scary' cousin she had thought was soft in the head. It was also her own.

''During the ceremony, my mother was gripping one arm and my grandmother the other. They were hurting me and telling me that unless I went through with it, my grandfather who has a weak heart would die. He would die of the shame they told me.''

The cousin husband spoke no English. He was illiterate. ''He would skip work and watch pornographic films with friends all day. He would come back and force me down and tell me he wanted me to do the things he had been watching. It wasn't love; it was rape. I would be clutching the sides of the mattress, waiting for it to end. Every time, he went with me, it was rape.''

Her mother-in-law was 'determined that her smart daughter-in-law from the UK would do all the work. It was a small farm with buffaloes. I had to look after the buffaloes. I had never seen a buffalo before!''

She added, ''I had to clean the house, do the washing up, wash the clothes, sweep the yard, clean the animals' shit and then cook lunch. I had to cook in pots on open fires. I had never done anything like that. I didn't even know how to light a fire, and I was burning myself all the time and my mother-in-law would yell at me.''

Nazish could not restrain her sobs as she remembered her father coming to Mirpur.

''It was a year after the wedding and I was five months pregnant. He had flown in from Bradford. He came into the backyard and saw me there with burns all over my hands and arms and tending to the buffaloes. I was in a terrible state, I hadn't had a bath and my clothes were dirty rags. I would go for days without washing. I wouldn't comb my hair or brush my teeth in the hope that my husband wouldn't come close to me. My father looked so shocked, and I gave him a look as if to say, 'Remember me? I am the one who dreamed of becoming a doctor?' But his shock did not last long. After all, this is all about family and honour and fulfilling his side of the bargain.''

When her son was a year old, Nazish fled Mirpur. In Islamabad she found a job as a nanny and English teacher in the home of a wealthy family. She and her son live in the staff quarters of the family's guarded compound.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:34 am    Post subject: shame and honour Reply with quote

In 2008 in Pakistan's province of Balochistan, three teenage girls aspired to choose their own husbands in defiance of tribal elders. While out in public with two older women, they were kidnapped by men of the Umrani trible.

The tribesmen roughed the girls up and then shot them. They then threw their still breathing bodies into a ditch and buried them under dirt and stones.

The adult women who had been chaperoning them, had also been kidnapped by the tribesmen. When they protested at the shooting and burial alive of the girls, they had the same treatment.

In July, the 'Pakistan Tribune' reported:

'None of the leading Pashtoon or Baloch leaders have spoken a single critical word on this tragedy so far, as they prefer to respect the tribal decisions of killing their own women in the name of honour.'

In August, Senator Yasmeen Shah protested at these horrific murders in Pakistan's parliament. She was interupted and shouted down by Senator Israrullah Zehri from Balochistan.

He said the killing or burial alive of women for honour should not be portrayed in a negative light. He asked members not to 'politicise' the subject. It was all about safegaurding tribal traditions.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I almost feel like begging you to stop - to lay off this subject for a while lest Y Repwblic is portrayed as racist or anti-Muslim or anti-Hindu or something ... but I know that I have never witnessed you being other than courteous to such persons* excepting that you have never ultimately refrained from criticising behaviour which is unethical - albeit that you can be quite tolerant of thoughts which are immoral ... For the benefit of those reading these posts who think that Marianne is anti-anyone : yes - she is and will damn everyone equally for bad behaviour regardless of their politics, religion, age, sex or an imagined gender, overstated nationality or supposed friendship ... So if any of you are feeling rather overlooked by her postings - please be patient : she only has so much time available - OK ?

*Marianne only ever really lets rip when damning her closest friends ... Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:30 pm    Post subject: pure land Reply with quote

I did think myself that if you read some of these posts one after the other, without looking at my other contributions, you could get the impression that I don't like Pakistanis, and that maybe the whole site had an anti-Pakistani stance.

That's not true. With one exception, I have always found them likeable and reasonable people. You know I've had friends and flatmates and indeed boyfriends from all over the world and, um, yes - I've made enemies from all over the world too!

I don't like cruelty or oppression or injustice. It doesn't make any difference to me about who dishes it out. I did have a British Pakistani friend who was rescued from her awful parents who had imprisoned her in her room, by a mutual friend who was like a knight from days of old.

I liked and respected her. I wasn't too impressed by her parents. They had wanted her to marry a stranger so he could get a British visa. The only reason she could live in the same city as her parents without fear, was that we had somhow given them the impression that her British boyfriend was a policeman!

I don't like lying, but it was a noble lie! When I had reached the age of 37, no longer young and impressionable, I first met my natural family, some of whom live in that area of the North of England where the British Mirpuris hang out.

It is true my relatives weren't keen on Pakistanis. Most of their white neighbours weren't. I didn't know why. I listened to them sounding off without comment as I didn't want to get into a war of words with people I was prepared to love, as I said somewhere else.

I just allowed my eyes to show consternation until they changed the subject. I had met their brown neighbours and found them OK. Because I am dark and had a Welsh accent a bit like an Asian accent, they were warm to me, probably taking me for one of themselves.

When I heard my relatives complaining about the Rotherham sex rings, I didn't know what the hell they were going on about. The story was unknown outside their local area at that time. I frankly assumed they were talking bollocks.

I know now there was truth in what they said, but there is a lot of shit spoken about 'the Asians' as the Whites always call them too.

As a matter of fact, I have five natural aunts who married as teenagers, and some of those marriages were abusive.

Under 'Israel and Palestine', I mention Christians and Druze who have had honour killings and forced marriages.

Perhaps there is one religion I do have a soft spot for. No, it is not Judaism as you might think from some of my posts, but Sikhism. I don't want to admit it, but some Sikhs have behaved like this too.

You will have noted that my overview of child marriage doesn't discriminate. I have examples from all over the place.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: the serbian yule log Reply with quote

Doesn't the Serbian nursery rhyme say, 'Pull down the minarets and mosques/Light the Serbian yule log and paint the Easter eggs'? Serbs have long memories.

Under the Ottoman rulers, many Christians including the Gnostic Bogomils converted to Islam to avoid paying taxes as Dhimmis. They became the Bosnian Muslims. They may not have had Turkish blood but they were seen as collaborators. Soon they were equated with Turks.

We think of rape of the women of the vanquished in war as a spontaneous act by soldiers who have become disinhibited. No doubt it often is. But in Bosnia in the 90s, it was a premeditated policy. The Serb soldiers under Milosovic wanted to clear territory of Croats and Bosnians. They were told to go into houses and rape all non Serb women.

Simone Veil said, 'Rape was perpetrated with the conscious intention of demoralising and terrorising whole communities, driving them from their home regions, and demonstrating the power of the invading forces.'

Soldiers admitted they were ordered to do this to boost morale. It was hoped that if three or four women arrived in a village with the news that the invading soldiers were raping all non Serb women, the entire population would flee.

A survivor said, 'They did it to humiliate us. They were showing us their power. They stuck their guns in our mouths. They tore our clothes. They showed the 'Turkish women' they were superior.'

One woman was put through this ordeal every night. She asked the rapist why he did it. He said, ''Because you are Muslims and there are too many of you.''

Both victims and perpetrators held the view implicity that a child took its identity from its father only. The Serbs were not interested in women who were already pregnant. They spoke of Serbian sperm conquering 'inferior Muslim wombs'.

The women were amazed that some of the rapists had been their own inoffensive neighbours in the past. 22 year old Azra was held down and raped by Dragan who had been the local policeman.

He said, ''We are at war now. There's no law and order anymore.''The Serbs would shout, ''Feck your Turkish mother'', and ''Death to all Turkish sperm.''

In a rape camp in a former school, Iefa was gang raped in a class room. The three assailants told her they were making babies. It would be an honour for a Muslim to have a Serbian child.

Kadira was in the same camp. She said that the women who became pregnant were kept there for seven or eight months, allowed nice things to eat, and regularly examined by a gynecologist.

Those who failed to conceive were beaten and ordered to confess what contraception they were using. At seven or eight months pregnant a woman would be released. It was thought she would hardly seek an abortion at that late stage.

Pope John Paiul ii enjoined them not to consider such a thing but to 'welcome the enemy into them.'

Victims and counsellors were incredulous. Mubera Zdralovic who was a rape counsellor in Zagreb, said, ''Does the Pope not understand? The foetus growing inside the woman is a living reminder of the horror she has suffered, like a wound that keeps on growing.''

Clearly none of the victims thought it was an honour to have a Serbian child.
Saneda said, ''I knew this wasn't my child. I knew what I went through. It wasn't a child born of love or from a respectable marriage. If anyone had tried to show it to me after it was born, I'd have strangled them and the baby too...If I'd had the chance to kill the child inside me, I'd have done it.''

Saneda had to be sedated to prevent her committing infanticide. The baby was taken to the UK and adopted.

Some pregnant Muslim women were driven across the border of one of the diminished territories still occupied by Muslims to show that the next generation would be Serbs.

30 year old Jasmina was one of the swollen bellied ones used to make a point. She was so ashamed that she wore a loose dress in case she saw anyone she knew. 'As it turned out they were all dead. All I had left as family was the enemy in my womb.'

The Serbs weren't 'just obeying orders', reluctantly. One of the prisoners in a rape camp was a twelve year old girl who has not been heard of since she was sold by a soldier who was later put on trial.

Many of the women were raped in public to encourage flight. It was all the more humiliating as before Communism, Muslim women had been veiled and were expected to stay at home, tending children.

The Communist regime dd its best to broaden their horizons but after the death of Tito in 1980, there was a great backlash. Returning to the old ways was thought essential for national renewal.

Pre-marital sex was forbidden. 'Rape was like death.' Many young survivors feared that they would get the blame, and could never be wives and mothers.

''Everyone does not believe we were forced'', said 18 year old Sevlata,''And they think that we are going to go with [the Serbs] again. We can't imagine marriage as a normal thing. We know that the man will always be suspicious.''.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:30 pm    Post subject: imam omderdic Reply with quote

Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, a Bosnian Muslim cleric, domiciled in Australia has now stood down. A wedding video has emerged made last year, in which he is presiding at a child marriage. Didn't I imply this could be expected in some communities in the former Yugoslavia?

What is more, he can be heard inclulcating the importance of spousal submission into the child bride. ''If something's all right with your husband, do it. If it's not all right with your husband, don't do it'', he said. It was not obvious that he was talking about sex, But whose decision would it have been in this marriage about whether the child should be subjected to sex?

As far as I know, Germaine Greer was unavailable for comment. A spokesperson for Australian law enforcement agencies, felt it necessary to state that child marriage is illegal in Australia. After all, not everyone had recieved and understood the message as yet.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 02, 2017 10:53 pm    Post subject: Porrajmos Reply with quote

Today is Roma Holocaust Memorial Day. On 2 August 1944, the 'Zieguenlager' [Gypsy] camp at Auschwitz was liquidated. It is recorded that 2,897 Gypsies, men, women and children were gassed on that day.

For long enough it was assumed that a distressing picture of a little girl at the double doors of a cattle truck, showed one of the many Jewish victims of the Nazis. But recent research has revaled that she was a Gypsy.

The Frank family made famous by the diarist Anne, were arrested in their hiding place in Amsterdam two days after the liquidation of the Zieguenlager. But they came close to surviving the war in Westerbork, a transit camp in the Netherlands. They were selected to be transported on the very last cattle truck that ever left Westerbork for Auschwitz.

The cattle truck was supposed to be taking a consignment of Gypsies to Auschwitz. But there weren't quite enough Gypsies to fill the vehicle so the pen pushers decided to throw in a few Jews to make up the numbers. Someone who knew Anne at Auschwitz, remembered how she wept to see Gypsy children lined up outside the gas chambers in the rain.

The Nazis' stance was not entirely logical. Given their Indian origins, no one had better Aryan credentials than Gypsies. But logic was never the strong point among our goose steping friends.

I know Croatia was a terrible place for persecution of Gypsies in these years. Even my Croatian father-in-law who fought with Tito, was perturbed that one of his relatives was going to marry someone from a village where the natives were said to be Gypsies.

To this day, Gypsies are usually segregated in Croatian schools, sometimes by being automatically consigned to the class for educationally subnormal children. My husband did not subscribe to this bigotry.

He started reading one of our children an English nursery rhyme which began ''My mother said...'', then he scanned the following words and saw the way it was going ie 'I never should/Play with the Gypsies in the wood', so he improvised different words.

In 2004, the children were telling him the story that my long lost and recently discovered family - at least the side called Hancock- were originally Gypsies. To him, it was like saying they were Zulus. In the Czech Republic, Gypsies will say, ''White people can get these benefits, but we can't.''

They don't think of themselves as white. They are generally brown. My husband said about my relatives, ''They might be English or Irish but they are not Gypsies. That is just Mummy's little joke.''

Gypsies have been persecuted in Britain too. It was once a capital offence to be a Gypsy in Britain. It was even a capital offence to associate with Gypsies.

But I imagine they have intermarried and interbred with other people, to the extent that they are now often fair skinned. Romany has ceased to be a living language in England. It is still spoken in Wales but has some Welsh loan words. Once my huband was apprised of this, he would say things like, ''Gypsy woman, you should be going round reading tea leaves!''

An acquaintance of ours subscibed to the romantic legend of wild free raggle taggle Gypsies-O. His dream was shattered when he was roped into a project to give adult Gypsies the gift of literacy. He said to senior colleagues, ''Hitler knew what he was doing with this lot!''

He justified this outrageous statement by saying that they treated their women like dirt. The same was true of his own ethnic group, and he personally had been a particularly disastrous husband. Perhaps it was a case of projection.

The 'Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' TV series did tell us that domestic violence was rife in the Gypsy community. A male person wrote to the papers in distress about Gypsy girls routinely marrying at 16 or 17 as seen on the show. He said they were effectively child brides.

It is perfectly legal to marry at 16 or 17 in the UK but it has become rare since the 1990s. Many NGOs castigate the UK for allowing people to marry before they are 18. They say we tolerate child marriage.

Much of the child marriage in Croatia and Serbia can be laid at the door of Gypsies too. The same goes for Romania. A British Conservative MP became fired up about a wedding video where the twelve year old daughter of the Gypsy King of Romania, was seen crying convulsively at her own nuptials, while the bridesmaid sang an impromptu song: ''Take away [groom's name]''.

A British journalist became wildly facetious about a Romanian Gypsy girl of 13 in the UK who had been informally married to a boy slightly older. Her mother could see nothing wrong with it. She had married at 14 herself.

Alarm was raised because although the marriage had no legal validity, if the kids thought they were married, it would encourage them to plunge into sex straight away.

It is true that some Romanian Gypsies in this country feel they are being persecuted because the state has come down hard on them for enabling child marriage at ages that even we don't permit. But they do not have a monolithic position.

TV reporters have spoken to Romanian Gypsies who have come to see the light, who say that child marriage is a terrible thing, and that girls should stay in school and be educated. I am just a little concerned that people are singling out Gypsies because they are powerless. Other ethnic minorities in this country who have pull, are allowed to get away with child marriage.

Last edited by marianneh on Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:59 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:31 pm    Post subject: gypsy joker Reply with quote

A Romany Gypsy told a researcher that when a Gypsy woman marries, she is 'scrutinised', to ascertain if she has retained her purity up to that point. In my innocence, I assumed this meant something like a verbal interrogation.

But it is much worse than that. Gypsies often retain the archaic custom of making a ritual of defloration by displaying a stained sheet. A teenage bride took issue with her Gypsy mother who said the evidence of her virginity would be there in 'black and white.' ''Red and white'', she corrected her.

Jesus wept! It's cringe making.

Because Gypsy girls are often scantily clad and use coarse language, telling crude jokes about sex, it is easy for country people as they call outsiders to get them wrong. Young Gypsy females are supposed to go out only in a herd of other girls or with an older chaperone until they are married.

They will often say it is fair that boys have more freedom. I was perturbed that while other children have to go to school until they are 16 and they now have to remain in some kind of education until 18, Gypsies generally leave school at eleven. The local education authorities are fine with this, although it must be technically illegal.

Sometimes, they want to drop out of school to avoid the racist bullying. A geography teacher who was quite a snob , was nevertheless upset when a Gypsy girl stopped coming to school in order to avoid the bullies.

I heard a Gypsy girl say that it was best to leave school no later than 14. Otherwise people would look down on you and think you are a sloven. A decent girl should spend all day washing and tidying the trailer, and especially dusting her parents' innumerable figurines.

Is intervention desirable or not? In Switzerland, the state until 1966 tried to impose integration by putting all Gypsy children in the care of the state. I've even heard a policeman in this country, advocating the same policy here. It would be a disaster, what Australian Aborigines would call a 'stolen generation.'

As a child I picked up the romantic image of Gypsies, presumably from TV and comics. It wasn't given any encouragement by my adoptive parents. They often threatened to sell my sister and me to the Gypsies; this must have been a variant on the canard that Gypsies steal children from country people.

That this was a cruel threat to make to insecure children who had already been parted from their real parents, did not occur to them. Once, my adoptive mother did pause to wonder aloud what earthly use I would be to Gypsies or anyone else. She would probably have to bribe them to take me.

I was politically correct before political correctness existed. I heard a girl in my primary school whine to the headmistress that someone had just called her a 'Gyppo.' The headmistress said briskly, ''Well, we know you're not a Gyppo, don't we?'' I thought she should have added, ''..and there would be nothing wrong with it if you were!''

When my adoptive father sneered at me, ''Eh, you look like a bloody Gyppo, mun!'', my face lit up, although I knew it was meant as an insult. Maybe this was under the influence of a children's programme 'Kizzy' which we saw on TV in 1978. Based on a novel by Rumer Godden, it was about a little girl who, at the beginning of the story, lives in a vardo in a field. I envied her although she was systematically bullied by other children.

Children just follow their elders' example. In 1979, Swansea Council seriously recommended that Gypsies who complained about the conditions in which they had to live, should be shot in the leg, and then killed if they persisted.

I was cross to see from a TV report that pubs had notices which said 'no van dwellers.' I appealed to my adoptive mother to share my outrage.

She took the landlords' side. ''It's Gypsies they don't want'', she said, emphasising the word 'Gypsies.' She obviously thought that hadn't occurred to me, and that once it did, I would see the justice of it at once.

My adoptive father was emphatic that he didn't like Gypsies, thinking they used their supposed mystic powers to manipulate people. If you refused to buy a sprig of white heather from a Gypsy, she would curse you, saying, ''May all your kids have warts!''

The Welsh government has tried to crack down on anti-Ziganism since 2008. There's a lot of it around. I've heard parents on TV screaming their hatred of Gypsies because they thought their children would give lice to their own kids.

Even if Gypsies own land, the local council will often evict them from it. John Major abolished the requriement for local authorities to provide Gypsy campsites.

This gives people scope to complain to local talk radio stations about illegal sites, whenever Gypsies move into an area. Some people have very strange ideas. I've known adults including my friend Judy to express belief in the mystic powers of Gypsies.

Judy said, ''She told me I would go abroad and I did!'' ''They say that to everyone'', I riposted.

Even my adoptive mother was a bit more clued up, recognising the cold reading techniques, such as looking at clothes lines and garages. I've heard of laundrettes putting up notices saying, 'no travellers', after having problems with an individual Gypsy.

People who normally say ''I'm not racist but..'', are not at all shy about enjoying anti-Gypsy rants. In the UK, people don't usually see Gypsies as an ethnic group. They see them as common people who have just made a nomadic life style choice.

My Croatian husband did see Gypsies as an ethnic group. He was amazed that Judy could have crazy rants about Gypsies, and in the next breath, deny that she was racist.

He said, ''Of course, she is racist if she talks like this about Gypsies!'' He warned me, ''If she thinks you're a Gypsy, she's going to stab you!''

One day in Abergavenny Bus Station, I heard a no longer young man shouting abuse into his mobile phone. He threatened to kill the other person, and also insulted him by calling him a Gypsy.

I was so concerned that I trailed him up the road. I saw two policemen on the opposite side of the road, walking in the same direction. I didn't know if they were on his case or not. If they hadn't been, I would have put them in the picture.

I heard them questioning him about his outburst on the phone. His demeanour had changed, entirely. He was almost like a spaniel as he tried to placate them. After he had gone, one of them turned to me and said, ''Yes, love?''

I explained that I had overheard the threats and if they had not been on his trail, I would have enlightened them. I said they shouldn't believe his excuses. They were right on, referring to the victim as 'the traveller'. They did see it as a case of racial abuse as well as making threats to kill.

As a kid, I thought I would love to be a Gypsy. I wrongly thought that they were wild, free and romantic. Now I have heard that the Hancocks of Pembrokeshire from whom I am descended, were Gypsies after all.

But I think this is unlikely. Ian Hancock who writes on Romany history and the holocaust of the Roma, is a Gypsy. Hancock is often a Gypsy name. Pembrokeshire is home to some well known Romany Gypsy families such as the Boswells.

But Hancock can also be a Flemish name, and there are many more people of Flemish descent in Pembrokeshire. I don't mind if we have Gypsy blood or not. But on the balance of probabilities, I'd say we probably don't.

Last edited by marianneh on Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:07 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


[ Marianne - care for a different view of The Woman in The Caravan ? ]


Limousines, horse-drawn carriage and huge turnout for funeral of 'Queen of the Gypsies'


My Big Fat Gypsy Funeral! White limousines, doves and £16,000 of flowers to say farewell to the 'Queen of the Gypsies'


Watch as the family of Ruby Pearl Marshall set fire to her caravan the day after her funeral
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:36 pm    Post subject: a pagan place Reply with quote

That's a sight I find quite disturbing, the burning of the caravan. It's obviously a remnant of Pagainism, maybe actually Hinduism. I know my history teacher's explanation of Sati was that a wife was seen as her husband's property.

Saving up all your life for a big wedding, that's so much like India too! I'm afraid these girls will be Cinderellas in reverse. They'll look like a princess for a day, and will then know nothing but drudgery.

You see horrible remarks on message boards about ostentatious weddings and funerals. The complainers think Gypsies can afford them because they don't pay tax. But they do have to pay tax.

Maybe some of my cousins in Pembrokeshire are being caught by the secondary school inititative, but I don't think so. Yes, if you stand up to bullies, you will often be treated as the culprit. It was ever thus.

We know now that Romany Gypsies came from India, and that Romany is closely related to Hindi. But Gypsy is short for Egyptian. They deliberately put around a romantic legend that they came from Egypt, and people mostly believed them. 'Gitanos' is form the same source.

Dafydd and I were discussing 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame.'I wondered aloud what Esmerelda was hanged for. ''Oh..for being a Gypsy!'', I answered my own question. Dafydd and I shook little fingers.

I've seen an expose of Hitler's last days in the bunker. He had just married Eva Braun. It was customary for Gypsy violinists to play at weddings. But as Adolf had put all the Gypsies in concentration camps, his young Nazi henchmen are playing violins instead - not particularly well.

Eva looks embarrassed or angry.I mentioned this to Roger. He said, ''Oh God, so he liked Gypsy music!'' I said I didn't know if he did or not but it was de rigeur at weddings.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not sure whether this thread is really about minorities or women now - but by mysterious accident youtube threw up a number of videos about Cardiff so I wonder if this fits -

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gbXNkdsRqEY - "The Girls of Grangetown" - PlainSimpleTom

Nice poem ? - " Strangetown " - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lbg77L0jpJw

I did not like this - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kFwpefWmEFE - A Rumour Is Spreading
Kyle Legall
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:11 pm    Post subject: Roma Reply with quote

Reporters and cultural observers were invited to the wedding of a Gypsy princess in Romania in 2003, rather like fascinated anthropologists, to sample the quaint traditions of the Roma community. It was a public relations disaster.

Florin Cioba, the Gypsy king, had ordered thousands of bottles of wine and more sucking pigs than you could shake a stick at. His daughter's bespoke designer wedding dress had been ordered from Italy. It wasn't disclosed where her tiara came from.

King Florin himself was to officiate at the nuptials in the role of minister, wearing his ostentatious toy like crown. He said it was a happy day for him. His youngest daughter was getting married.

The bridegroom, Birita Mihai was 15, the bride was reported to be 12. She had been promised to Birita at the age of seven for 500 gold coins.

A family spokeswoman confirmed that she had no say in the matter. She would have to leave school and concentrate on her job as a wife, helping her mother-in-law cook and clean and bring up her children.

Ana Maria Cioba, the princess bride, had been crying all day but no one cared about that. When the time came to say ''I do'', she shrieked, ''I don't!'', and stormed out in floods of tears.

The spirit of mutiny infected the bridesmaids who were booing and chanting, ''Away with Birita!'' They too walked out in sympathy.

Fifiteen minutes later, Ana Maria came back and went through with the ceremony, sullen and red eyed. It was rumoured among the guests that it was the parental threat of a good thrashing that had persuaded her to return.

In fact, her presence was not even required. The wedding would have gone ahead, with or without her.

Ana Maria's parents had married when they were both 14. They thought that that was how things should be.

Because of the publicity surrounding the wedding, people at home and abroad began to wonder why the Romanian state turned a blind eye to a wedding between a 15 year old boy and a 12 year old girl, given that the minimum age for marriage in Romania was 16, as was fairly standard in Europe. Weren't Gypsy children people with rights like everyone else?

Valentin Militaru, a 23 year old computer analyst said,''They are messing with a human life. Maybe that girl wanted something else out of life, not to marry before she was 13.''

Even Emma Nicholson, a British politician, sent a fax urging child protection officers to do their job. Embarrassed into action, the Romanian police said they were investigating claims of sex with a minor.

It would not have been difficult to prove the case. The family spokeswoman said that the less than happy couple had spent the wedding night together. It was part of the deal.

Ana Maria had not wanted to go through with it but was now resigned to her fate, and becoming meeker by the day. Furthermore they had presumably followed the old custom where a petticoat was displayed filled with blood, after which the bride was rewarded for her virtue by presents of gold coins hung on a string across her forehead.

I have to take it on trust that a female virgin usually emits blood after sexual initiation. As I committed the solecism of taking the plunge as an unclean menstruant, I wouldn't have noticed. Perhaps someone can tell me if it is an old wives' tale?

Apparently, in cases where there is no blood, a little deception is required. A pigeon is sacrificed, and its blood is displayed instead.

The authorities were tardy, but they did step in a month later to separate the pair. Romania had aspirations to enter the EU which was quite a popular club in those days. To deal with the issue, they have now made it almost impossible to marry under 18, let alone 16, even if your parents agree.

Strangely enough, the Gypsy king of Romania did a double take and began to declare his support of girls' education. He even said - disingenuously of course - that the ceremony had not been supposed to be a wedding but a Pentecostal blessing.

He also made some unexceptionable contributions to the furtherance of Roma rights. He criticised Sarkozy for deporting Roma from France, and spoke of how he had been deported to the USSR during the holocaust era.

Since his death, his son and successor has been saying all the right things about children's rights and girls' education, as PC as it gets. Isn't it curious how the same primitive and unhelpful customs are replicated throughout the world, for all the superficial differences between cultures?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Curious ... Exceptionally glad that you turned up to write again - I missed you and started to search for your home number but could not find it - I enjoy the things you write about : may I now play devil's advocate ?

Obviously the human race continues to procreate and thousands of years ago the choice of sexual partner - presuming people to be monogamous and marrying somebody their own age - in communities probably no larger than a hundred were limited to possibly three or four and the prospective partners would be closely related ... unless they practised exhanging or exporting children for this purpose to create marital.bonds between communities which as I understand it was a commonplace ... but as I suspect it young men tended to roam around and join other communities and young women may have been traded or abducted : but it seems more likely to me that as the core of society - tied down by either having babies or helping mothers and sisters with babies - young women stayed with their families and young men courted them.

On the radio as I write a news article about Niger which has the highest birth rate at over seven per woman and marriage as early as twelve. The government is getting very worried and campaigning for contraception in one of the world's poorest societies whose population is growing exponentially.

I wonder as to whether - given that it is our biology which bonds us to a partner - whether deciding that a boy and girl are to be married and putting them together from an early age might result in love between them and that is the basis of arranged marriages ( apart from families trying to concentrate property between them e.g. farmland which is of course directed towards providing for procreation.)
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