World War II has proven its self to be the bloodiest and most horrifying conflict humanity has ever seen. The consequences of this conflict have been stamped on the conscious of every human on this earth, and we will not forget it. Over sixty million people were killed, millions more were injured, entire populations of people were displaced, whole states were destroyed with their boundaries redrawn and women suffered unprecedented levels of sexual violence at the hands of marauding armies. With the liberation of the concentration camps, the complete impact of economic and political destruction across Europe realized and not to mention the millions of displaced people the post-war era recognized, the full and damaging effects of this conflict were illustrated. These effects were not only political and economic, but also psychological, with populations of people reeling from persecution or attempting to repress the crimes their fellow man committed. World War II is something hard to forget.
In many ways, World War II has become a defining moment for Western culture and democratic values that emerged in the post-imperial era. The ideological plight against Nazism and the spread of empire threatened these premises. As General Eisenhower stated in his address to American troops on D-Day, World War II was an ideological crusade, a crusade to restore democratic values and civilisation in the known world in face of this monstrosity and threat.
With humanity wounded and reeling from this traumatic stain on human memory, the establishment of the United Nations in the ensuing years, an amped-up model of the failed League of Nations, reflected this greater hope for humanity. It reflected humanities attempt not only deal with the horrors of this great conflict, but to prevent such abuses from ever occurring again.
The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, The Convention on Refugees (signed by Australia in 1951), The Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Geneva Conventions under the broader banner of International Humanitarian Law (parts altered in the post-WW2 period) all exist as a result of this conflict and are an attempt on behalf of civilisation to set standards for the treatment of human beings.
Yet, this is something the Australian government has decided it is exempt from. Since the Howard-era, we have continually violated not only the Convention on Refugees, but also the Rights of the Child, The Declaration on Human Rights and The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We have done this (and I say we, because as an electorate we are truly pathetic at keeping our politicians accountable) by the incarceration of refugees, asylum seekers, ‘boat people’ or ‘illegals’ if you want to get wanky about it - in concentration camp-like facilities, commonly referred to as offshore processing centres. With routine and regular patrolling of these centres, the UNHCR has concluded repeatedly that none of these processing centres have ever reached the standards ratified in the Convention on Refugees. Adjectives with harsh connotations such as ‘gulag’ or ‘concentration camp’ are used to describe these places – these pits on this earth with poor sanitation, poor access to mental and physical healthcare, food, education, the added bonus of vulnerability to sexual and physical violence and the cumulative physiological and psychological problems these vulnerable people have, all paint a very grim picture of not only their day to day living conditions, but what Western civilisation has fallen to and the inherent irony in calling ones self ‘civilised’ or a propagator of Western hegemonic power.
This all becomes more so relevant if we take into account the recent news coverage about Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his questioning of Australia’s commitment to the Convention on Refugees ever since elements of his ‘boarder protection policy’ were rebuffed by the Senate. This revolting specimen of a human also had the nerve to suggest that Australia has the upmost respect for the Convention. This is where I would like to call bullshit. As demonstrated above and by EVERY UNHCR report EVER, Australia had more respect for the Convention in the 1950s (awkward, I know), even when our racial policy left a lot to be desired we were better at ADHERING TO INTERNATIONAL LAW. Government action since the Howard era in relation to refugees has not only succeeded in creating a xenophobic, uninformed, complacent and dare I say inherently racist attitude toward refugees in the community, they have also managed to thoroughly violate the Convention on Refugees, time and time again, with little to no accountability. You can say what you want about the Greens as a ‘fringe’ party, but they have a more sophisticated attitude towards the treatment of human beings as opposed to our two majority parties, which, you could argue, are left in a shit fight to the bottom in the post Howard-era political climate of ‘we have to stop the evil refugees from fucking up Straya’s way of life’!
It is here that I offer a solid ‘fuck you’ to Tony Abbott, Scott Morrison and every other vile individual involved in the Ministry for Immigration or the Prime Ministerial position that indulges it – Regardless of their ‘illegal’ status, of their method of coming to this country or your throbbing desire to break the traffickers model, you have no right to treat people in this manner. You have no right to avoid due process, you have no right to subject individuals to sexual assault and you have no right to treat monsters in Australian society to a better standard than these people, whose only apparent crime is threatening your chances with the empathy-lacking dregs of Australian society. You do not get to suggest on election eve, that you will restore Australia to a ‘great nation’, when your continual abuses of basic rights will most probably continue. You do not get to scream your respect for international law or your conviction for your solid Roman Catholic faith when your actions differ so tremendously from your words. You do not get to suggest we are a civilized or developed nation when our Minister for Immigration was recently accused by the Australian Medical Association of child abuse.
The troglodyte had the nerve to suggest that when Labor continually blocked government proposals in the most recent sitting of Parliament, that it was a ‘two-fingered gesture’ to the Australian people. I would argue differently. I would argue that the clusterfuck that is our Minister for Education did that when he attempted to repeal the Gonski reforms. I would argue that our Minister for Foreign Affairs did that when she managed to simultaneously piss China off AND failed to heal the rift with Indonesia. I would also argue that Abbott has also done this with his questioning of international law, which will not only damage Australia’s relationship with other countries, but also our prospects of functioning within the United Nations. This ‘two-fingered gesture’ has been given to some of the most vulnerable people on this earth, more so testament to the fact that many people in this country cannot see past the privilege that Western society has endowed upon them. To have the benefits of civilization, we have the duty to enforce these ideals as well, and we have failed monumentally at it.
Mr Abbott, your government, and past governments, have given the biggest ‘two-fingered gesture’ of them all to the Australian people. You have dragged our name through the mud. You have connected our name to some of the most heinous violations of international law our generation will ever see. I’m not Christian, but I do sincerely hope that there is a special circle of hell reserved especially for people like you.
An open letter to all those who think feminism is destroying the world,
Go fuck yourself.
This evening, in a self-inflicted act of torture, I clicked on the following link that happened to come up on my Twitter feed.
The article, penned by a self proclaimed ‘right female’, attempts to discuss (a term used very loosely) the ‘vulgar’ ‘liberal feminists’ and their attempt to raise money for women seeking abortions now that the crack down on clinics in Texas has begun. An estimated 20 000 women will lose their access to abortions across the state, with one third of the clinics already closed. Now, whilst I will be the first to admit that it is imperative that as a society we offer safe abortions to women, these laws don’t seem to be much other than the GOP’s increasing attempts to restrict women’s reproductive autonomy all in the name of ‘pro-life’.
The article suggests that these women are attempting to forsake their own safety by opposing this legislation, the GOP’s so called innocent attempt to avoid another disaster such as Kermit Gosnell from occurring. For the uninitiated, Kermit Gosnell is a former American physician who ran an abortion clinic in Philadelphia. He was arrested in 2011 for multiple counts of murder. Many poor and immigrant women suffering at his hand, with anesthesia admitted in vastly high quantities and sub-par medical treatment dictating the clinic norm. As well as this, the spines of many late term foetuses that came out alive were snipped. It would be correct to suggest that this horrific incident is the product of the failure to regulate this physician - between 1989 and 2010, Gosnell was the subject of many complaints to the Department of Health, which repeatedly pointed to his lack of commitment to running a safe and sterile clinic. He repeatedly hired ill-equipped staff, staff with a lack of qualifications and he refused to call paramedics when a procedure took a turn for the worst.
However, to suggest that this is in any way related to the size of the broom closet in a Texas clinic (in, might I add, otherwise sterile and reputed medical facilities) or the distance away from a hospital - is completely flawed. Health departments should be encouraged to actively investigate complaints and to impose regulations on clinics. I would argue that it would be more effective to suggest regular surveys of patients opinions and to suggest regular inspections of these clinics to make sure that they are up to standard. But no, logic apparently doesn’t prevail, especially when female reproductive autonomy is concerned.
It is ultimately flawed to suggest that these women will not fall victim to another Gosnell, as Gosnell came from a climate that has been replicated by the GOP. He preyed on the most vulnerable of women, with their vulnerability exacerbating what is usually a stressful situation. Cutting down the numbers of abortion clinics is not going to stop this problem from occurring, it will only enable it further. Abortion will always exist, so long as pregnancy exists and women who do not want to have the said pregnancy exist. Whether you provide these places readily for them is one thing, but to deny thousands of women access to these clinics and potentially cost them thousands of dollars in the process is wrong - and yes, you will fuel the black market of abortion scenarios, which, might I add, I am quite sure wouldn’t look too good on your political resume. I would also argue that opposing affordable healthcare, preschool and raising the minimum wage doesn’t help much with this climate either, but lets save that for another rant, shall we?
Back to the article! The author of this piece quite clearly lacks basic cognitive skills, because she has completely missed the point of the fundraiser. This reform means that many women are without the finances to access a safe abortion, and the fundraiser is attempting to raise the said funds to make sure that their situation is as bullshit free as possible - something the GOP has MONUMENTALLY failed at.
As well as this, she refers to their worship of the vulva and the vagina as ‘tasteless’ and ‘vulgar’ - I would argue that her apparent attempt at slut shaming is also ‘tasteless’ and ‘vulgar’, but I digress. The author suggests that the feminists should be offered an anatomy lesson, because APPARENTLY we cannot tell the difference between a vagina and a ‘living, developing baby’. To quell any fears, we can tell the difference between a vagina and the internal ‘baby making’ ‘predestined female’ function of the uterus, we just like to conflate the two in a discussion around reproductive autonomy which ULTIMATELY involves our entire reproductive tract. And in case basic biology and reproductive knowledge is lost on the right (maybe the result of their abstinence only sex education?), the foetus comes OUT of the vagina. The vagina is an integral part of the process of conception and childbirth, mmkay?
Now, let’s get onto why I think their ‘saintly’ attempt at securing safe abortions for women is bullshit. The woman utilises inflammatory language such as ‘babies’ to give the foetus personhood and to emphasise the suggestion that all women who want an abortion in the second or third trimester are abortion loving harpies. As well as this, she points to the appalling idea of convenience and easy access - quelle horreur! Yes, they want to access abortions and not have to pay thousands of dollars or have to potentially take time off work - You are going to create a situation of desperation, of Gosnell, which we want to avoid, remember? Yet, the rhetoric of the right still remains. Autonomy advocates are scared, and rightly so. After the 2012 elections and the last year riddled with ‘pro-life’ rhetoric, the GOP hasn’t exactly made a stellar reputation for its self in a) understanding how sex works b) how rape works and c) how and why abortion happens. Yet, this comes with recent news about the GOP’s new consulting firm aimed at reaching out to women. Are you at all shocked that a MASSIVE population of women of all ages (especially young) and all ethnicities are alienated by your party? Honey, it’s not a communication issue. You have made your anti-choice stance VERY clear. No amount of money thrown at a consulting firm will increase your appeal to the women of America. I would argue that the problem is inherent to your party platform, which has consistently pandered to the religious right for the better part of the last twenty years.
Oh and by the way, fuck you. I’ll admit, that wasn’t my most eloquent moment, but it is warranted. You have the nerve (like every other faux humanitarian concerned person on this earth) to reference Malala Yousafzai in your little diatribe against liberal feminists. This young woman was shot by the Taliban for advocating autonomy and education for girls, something you class as ‘what really matters’, unlike accessible abortions and the cost of birth control. It is here that I suggest that you are suffering from full fledged cognitive dissonance, because a large part of why many young women get abortions is because they would like to continue with their education - carrying a foetus and ultimately having children tends to put a spanner in the works. I would argue that Malala’s crusade and ours are linked, because they both connect to one of the fundamental principles of feminism - that being female autonomy. Something that a gynophobe like you isn’t likely to get.