Friday, May 29, 2009

My sister has sent me the most fantastic photos, taken from out at sea, of an incredible lightning storm over Table Mountain. The flashes across the entire sky are in every sense of the word what my American students would describe as awesome and I can believe, just looking at these pictures, how primitive man, terrified out of his wits, came to believe in the existence of gods who had to be appeased simply because of the power they displayed, especially if a few medicine men, shamans, whatever you want to call them, used nature’s power to encourage fears and beliefs to their own benefits. I have tried two or three times to get into THE GOLDEN BOUGH and, after seeing these pictures, feel I would like to try again. Propaganda in favour of religious zeal is ubiquitous and has caused some pretty nasty goings on in this dangerous old world. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before but watching Mel Gibson’s film on the passion of Christ I couldn’t help but feel he really went over the top with the flagellation scene. If Jesus had been whipped to the extent Mel would have us, in his devout Catholic way, believe, I believe the man’s body would have been in such a state of shock he wouldn’t have been able to get up off his knees let alone carry his cross to Golgotha. Less would have gained more belief and sympathy from this quarter. As it was disbelief, rightly or wrongly, set in. Any medical backup to that theory?
Also from South Africa I inadvertently turned on a Youtube video about Durban and couldn’t believe how in such a short time since the black population gained their freedom this once beautiful city, my home town, has degenerated, no, worse, been turned into a giant polluted rubbish dump come cess pool. Evidently you cannot swim in the sea any more unless you’re prepared to wallow in human faeces. It is so very sad that the city’s streets are awash with garbage. The city is not even 200 years old, won’t reach that age until 2020 and I wonder what is going to happen before it reaches that landmark.
For some reason or other in passing I pulled a volume from my bookcase, Patrick Doyle’s biography THE GOD SQUAD (Published 1988) and a terrible indictment it is of the way an orphaned child of four in Ireland was “sentenced” to a number of years in an “Industrial School” and the terrified child’s treatment by the nuns – the beatings, the locking up in a dark room, and other punishments. There is one example of sexual abuse by a Mother Paul but only the one. Whether she abused any of the other children is not said. I don’t know what made me reach for this particular book. I have other reading matter to hand at the moment and in fact read THE GOD SQUAD some years ago of course but, coincidence, coincidence, what do I see on the news?
Victims of child abuse at Catholic institutions in the Irish Republic have expressed anger that a damning report will not bring about prosecutions.
The report, nine years in the making and covering a period of six decades, found thousands of boys and girls were terrorized by priests and nuns.
Government inspectors failed to stop beatings, rapes and humiliation.
The findings will not be used for criminal prosecutions - in part because the Christian Brothers successfully sued the commission in 2004 to keep the identities of all of its members, dead or alive, unnamed in the report.
No real names, whether of victims or perpetrators, appear in the final document.

The victims were among 35,000 children who were placed in a network of reformatories, industrial schools and workhouses until the early 1990s.
More than 1,000 people had told the commission they suffered physical and sexual abuse.
'Self-serving secrecy'
The five-volume study concluded that church officials encouraged ritual beatings and consistently shielded their orders' paedophiles from arrest amid a "culture of self-serving secrecy".
The commission found that sexual abuse was "endemic" in boys' institutions, and church leaders knew what was going on.

It also found physical and emotional abuse and neglect were rife in some institutions. Schools were run "in a severe, regimented manner that imposed unreasonable and oppressive discipline on children and even on staff". It found the Department of Education had generally dismissed or ignored complaints of child sexual abuse and dealt inadequately with them. As far back as the 1940s, school inspectors reported broken bones and malnourished children but no action was taken. The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, said he was "profoundly sorry and deeply ashamed that children suffered in such awful ways in these institutions".

"This report makes it clear that great wrong and hurt were caused to some of the most vulnerable children in our society," he said.
"It documents a shameful catalogue of cruelty: neglect, physical, sexual and emotional abuse, perpetrated against children."
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, said those who perpetrated violence and abuse should be held to account, "no matter how long ago it happened".
"Every time there is a single incident of abuse in the Catholic Church, it is a scandal. I would be very worried if it wasn't a scandal... I hope these things don't happen again, but I hope they're never a matter of indifference," he said.

"The recent Gender Equality Duty has mandated all public institutions to give due regard to proactive promotion of gender equality within their organisations. More importantly, a significant aspect of the Gender Equality Duty is the responsibility of public bodies to actively promote equality between men and women.”
The above is from British Actors Equity giving notice of an organized conference. When will people ever learn that “proactive” never works? It creates as many problems as it solves. Next play that’s produced at The Royal Court or the National please make sure that if there are ten parts for men there are also ten parts for women. The fact that six of the women characters have absolutely nothing to do with the play and in fact just get in the way is beside the point, they are being employed and earning their living and that’s how it should be. Right? The management might not think so having to pay the extra salaries, insurance etc., but there you are, it’s all for the sake of equality. You’re doing your gender equality duty, right? Do me a favour, please!
The world has gone stark raving mad.
PS: The Serbian Orthodox church is running an establishment for the rehabilitation of drug addicts – the treatment? Severe beatings!

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