Another acid attack, another stoning, another public flogging, another honour killing, another rape. Following on with my feelings, Blogged only a few days ago, about the way woman are treated, inhumane stories are everywhere. Coincidence? Coincidence is a strange phenomenon. Sometimes in the theatre or watching a movie, or reading a book on a plot turning by coincidence you will have people bound to say, ‘That’s too coincidental, contrived, I don’t believe it. But coincidence is with us all the time. Was it coincidence that one day I was waiting for a bus which just wasn’t coming and I swore in Zulu which nobody would understand and, of all the millions in London the man standing just in front of me was a Zulu. Was it coincidence that a friend from my schooldays just happened to watch a TV I was in, a programme he said he didn’t usually watch, but he saw and contracted me through the Beeb. Why was it he watched that particular episode and not the one before or the one after? Was it coincidence that one evening at the Festival Hall, at the interval I was going to turn right at the end of a short flight of stairs to go out for the inevitable cigarette and for no apparent reason suddenly turned left and there, half way along sitting in the front row was someone else I hadn’t seen since my Durban days. He lived and worked in Hull. Was it coincidence that he happened to be in London that one night, at the Festival Hall for that particular concert? And that we should both be sitting in he same part of the auditorium? Last week we bought a newspaper for the first time in ages and what was a headline that greeted me? “Mother beaten up after online date ‘gentleman’ turns into a thug,’ and ‘Web porn is making teen boys see girls as sex objects.’ Various petition sights contact me and I am only too happy to add my signature to a good cause. Just a couple of days ago I received the following, ‘Stop the horrific abuse of Chinese sex workers.’ There are evidently 4 to 6 million sex workers in China who have no Government protection and they face terrible violence with no help including abuse by the police themselves.
I read on the news that a Sunni cleric has told the black ghosts of Arabia not to turn on their air-conditioning because that will tell men they are at home and can lead to immorality. Good grief! They’re more hung up over sex than the Christians and that’s saying something. In Mississippi they have been debating a law which would make abortion and stillborn babies criminal offences subject to imprisonment. The thinking on the latter is that if the mother had taken better care of herself the baby would not have been stillborn. There are some pretty weird people in this world with the weirdest ideas, especially in the Bible belt.
In Papua New Guinea women have been burnt alive accused of witchcraft and in Africa there are concentration style camps for any woman accused of witchcraft. Thousands of protestors are demanding tougher action from Facebook over posts they say degrade women. More than 50,000 have tweeted in support of the FBrape campaign and around 5,000 have emailed brands whose advertising appears around the content. The campaign focuses on content that portrays rape and violence against women positively. Facebook has removed many examples already. A separate petition on line has gathered more than 220,000 signatures.
And finally, still on coincidence and the treatment of women, I am; half way through reading a ‘50’s American novel and suddenly come across this. I breach copywrite here. “He could perceive now with something of a shudder that he had never really had a girl for a friend. But what a queer way to grow up, what a really miserable attitude to have towards women. And it’s typical – that attitude towards women is damned typical. In this country anyway. Typical of this whole generation of bully-boy, movie-tough-guy, Hemingway idolaters. How we all hate women, really. Don’t know the first thing about living with them. Don’t really want to live with them. We prefer to take our social life with men. We only want the women when we need them. All we know is how to lay siege to them and afterwards get rid of them if we can; if not, tolerate them. Come, lads, another glass of whisky neat, then off on the great American sport: big breast hunting.” Coincidence I should read that at this time? In fact before I got to this passage I was about to give up. The writing may not be quite as bad as D.B’s of J.A’s but it’s boring enough with dialogue that is simply embarrassing. I’ve never heard people address each other or talk the way they do but then I didn’t live in America in the 1950’s. Maybe they did talk like that. The novel by the way is ‘The Philanderer’ by Stanley Kauffman, published by Penguin and like ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ subject of a criminal prosecution for alleged obscene libel, goodness only knows why and the result from a sensible jury of nine men and three women was an acquittal. Now I suppose I ought to endeavour to finish it though it’s tough going, hardly an inspired page turner.