User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

forward

Cedar Lounge
For lefties too stubborn to quit

offsite link A new collection in the Irish Left Archive ? non-electoral Political Posters 16:54 Wed Apr 16, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link Hard to keep up 16:18 Wed Apr 16, 2014 | doctorfive

offsite link May Day DCTU march 15:13 Wed Apr 16, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link What you want to say ? 16th April 2014 04:26 Wed Apr 16, 2014 | WorldbyStorm

offsite link More Left Unity Transfers?. From People Before Profit 22:41 Tue Apr 15, 2014 | irishelectionliterature

Cedar Lounge >>

Dublin Opinion
Life should be full of strangeness, like a rich painting

offsite link GOTTA LOVE THIS COUNTRY 18:11 Wed Apr 16, 2014

offsite link ?In light of our Christian Faith and the strong Christian values contained within our Cons... 11:08 Wed Apr 16, 2014

offsite link PLAYING OUT THE STRING WITH THE ANGLO TRIAL 18:16 Sun Apr 13, 2014

offsite link Care and Social Reproduction - Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 12 April 2014 09:58 Sat Apr 12, 2014

offsite link TUGGING THE FORELOCK 22:59 Tue Apr 08, 2014

Dublin Opinion >>

Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link Opening the Low-Low Corporate Tax Rate Door Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:55 | Michael Taft

offsite link April Edition of The Socialist Voice is Out Now Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:38 | Communist Party of Ireland

offsite link Sheehy Skeffington School, Saturday April 12th in Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse S... Mon Apr 07, 2014 09:15 | Irish Left Review

offsite link New LookLeft out now! Fri Apr 04, 2014 18:23 | Irish Left Review

offsite link National Competitiveness Council Twists the Evidence to Suit a Political Argumen... Fri Apr 04, 2014 16:50 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Human Rights in Ireland
www.humanrights.ie

offsite link A Franco-Irish discussion on marriage equality at NUI Galway Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:34 | Eoin Daly

offsite link Is Corporation Tax A Human Rights Issue? Tue Apr 15, 2014 16:48 | Charles O'Mahony

offsite link #DirectProvision14: Photography Exhibition ?One year on, and still no change? Tue Apr 15, 2014 09:38 | GuestPost

offsite link Today in Irish Legal History: The Kerry Babies and the Memory of Feminist Protest. Sat Apr 12, 2014 19:19 | Máiréad Enright

offsite link Legal professionals as ?bloodhounds? for white-collar criminality Fri Apr 11, 2014 14:49 | GuestPost

Human Rights in Ireland >>

The Death of Savita Halappanavar - Some Thoughts

category international | gender and sexuality | opinion/analysis author Saturday November 17, 2012 20:37author by john throne - facts for working peopleauthor email loughfinn at aol dot com Report this post to the editors

Savita killed by right wing Catholic laws and their boot licking politicians.

Savita would be alive now if it was not for the all male dictatorship of the Catholic hierarchy and their cowardly politicians.

by John Throne

I am Irish. I read of the murder of Savita in Galway with horror. She was murdered by the right wing Catholic hierarchy and their boot licking politicians. If it was not for the tens of thousands of Irish people who are marching in the streets and demanding a change in the laws I would be ashamed to be Irish.

Wendy wrote a very moving, educational and inspiring blog yesterday about shame and how it is used to intimidate and keep people, especially women, down. I cannot thank Wendy enough for writing it; for its content but also because it is obviously a very personal account of what it is like to be a woman and especially a revolutionary woman in this world.

It made me think of an event in my own life that had a profound effect on me and I'd like to share it with our readers.

Wendy talks about shame, the dirty controlling brutal shame. I am weeping here as I remember a scene with my mother. I went to visit her in her farm house in rural Donegal, Ireland. She was near the end of her life. She was different that night. She looked at me in a different way and spoke to me in a different tone from ever before. When she started to speak to me I realized why. For the first time she told me about my grandmother, her mother, who was hired out to a rich farmer. This was common in this part of Ireland in those days as poor people had children to feed and the land was beautiful but not the most productive. It was often referred to as the Hiring Fair System, a sort of indentured servitude.

My grandmother, little more than a child, was raped and made pregnant by this rich farmer who was much older than her. To cover this up, she was then traded off to a man, my grandfather, who was also much older than her. She was then raped again and again. Of course, these were not called rapes as by then the church, in this case a Protestant church, had approved the transaction.

After telling me this my mother said: "So you see the kind of people we are." She was so ashamed. I said: "Mother, your mother was a great woman. I wish I could have met her. It was those men and institutions in her life run by men, and upper class men, that were to blame for all she went through. You believe in sin, I do not, but in your terms they were the sinners, not your mother. She was a great women. I wish I could have known her." My mother looked up at me relieved at my answer but the shame was still on her. And it was even the more terrible because she loved her mother with all she had and yet she was told that she should be ashamed of her. I have to say and I am sorry to say it here because I may offend somebody but I detest and hate with all my being the male dominated religious institutions which control and rule by shame. And killed that poor Savita in Galway and kill millions of other women by their ways.

I wrote a book about my grandmother. It is called The Donegal Woman. Without an agent or publisher it was number two in the best sellers list at home in Ireland. It would have been number one but we ran out of copies at the height of sales. I had many launches of the book in small towns and villages and some big cities in Ireland, England and the US. In Ireland the launches in the smaller towns and villages were mainly attended, usually around 80% or more, by older women. The book dealt in detail with the sexual oppression and economic oppression of women in rural Ireland in the early 1900's. I was worried that some of the older ladies would find it too graphic. Instead again and again I was thanked for writing it. As one woman said:"That was every women's story back then." My main regret is that I had to write it. That one of my female relatives did not write it. But they were held back by the shame too.

I remember one launch in a hamlet in Donegal. There were about 20 people there. Only two men and myself. All the rest were women in their fifties and up. The two men were there because we had done some smuggling and poaching together in my youth and they could use this to pretend this was why they were coming to a book reading, and about a woman too. More shame.

The discussion proceeded and then a small woman with hunched over shoulders, hunched I venture to say by oppression and shame, just jumped into the discussion. "I hate worms you know." Everybody stopped and looked at her. There had been no discussion about worms. I never knew why she said this. She went on. "I was working in a big house. The mistress was good to me. But one night she was out and he just grabbed me and put me down." Then the lady stopped. It was clear she was afraid of what she was saying. More shame. Then she went on but in a different tone: "But nothing happened you know, nothing happened." Then this lady lapsed back into silence. Silenced again by shame. She never spoke for the rest of the meeting. just sat with her head down. She later insisted to another lady that nothing had happened but that she had never told what she had told to the meeting to anybody else before.

Thank you again Wendy for your commentary.

John Throne

Related Link: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com
author by kevinl - none publication date Mon Nov 19, 2012 00:48Report this post to the editors

i have been meaning to get that book John ,ur words ring v true ,i have read ur contributions hear with interest. Vaguely
remember being present when u were presented with a stereo or ghetto blaster? before u headed off to ..work with the "international",
I was being groomed by the m tendancey at the time but frankly it was never going to be my bag .Anyhow I digress will get ur book as asap
best wishes .....

 
© 2001-2014 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy