WTF? A Poem?


A bunch of racist sexist homophobic nutbarsGOP nazis
spreading shit like this is somehow okay
in the land of the free, home of the brave?

Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) pretends
to prevent race-based abortions, steals from
the civil rights legacy to curb choice

and slams Planned Parenthood in its bid
to serve adherents of white supremacist ideas.

How interesting that Malcolm X and MLK
supported women’s reproductive freedom.


c. 2012-02-06 Politics’n’Poetry

A Celebratory Kind of Day!

Today is the day that replaced Imbolc, an ancient celebration of the goddess, Brighid. Imbolc marks the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox. Today is the Feast Day of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  And, today is the birth day of Birth Pangs!

Last year, a group of “radical,” “militant” and “feminazi” feminists who hang out at the Bread and Roses discussion boards launched Birth Pangs, an irreverent and relevant blog that keeps a close eye on the anti-choice, aka fetus fetishist, aka compulsory pregnancy, aka zygote zealot crowd. Demonstrating that feminists do, indeed, have a sense of humour, Birth Pangs sheds a slightly satirical light on the ludicrous, illogical and just plain ridiculous arguments and ideas of those who would have women barefooted, pregnant and back in the kitchen.

Pop by for a visit. Stop in and say hi. And don’t worry, the feminists don’t bite. (Well, not very hard, anyway!)

And here’s an Imbolc poem, a gift to the scruffy band of feminists who dare to challenge and inspire.

Horoscope: Ground Hog Day

Brighid, ancient Hag,
in winter brings new life,
kindles sacred fires to melt Earth’s blanket.

She travels with you, as long ago
when she moved among Galatians and Brigantians.
Long before Patrick danced green among the Celts
Brighid quickened life.

Old Brighid, young Maiden, Mother, Crone
hides within Christianity’s cloak, blessing houses
with candles blessed at Candlemas, the cross-quarter feast day
to celebrate winter’s passing halfway through,
her fires lighting houses, whole communities.

Sainte Brighid, even after decanonization,
even after her fires were snuffed, still
lives. Christianity celebrates the purification
of their blessed virgin, Mary. A ground hog
carried Brighid’s memory across an ocean.

© 2008 BW

Feminists unite!

Oh, my! Look at what the evul feminazis are up to now!
Congrats pale and prole of A Creative Revolution for an organizing job well done!
Remember nominations open January 25 so that gives you time to cruise the blogosphere to see which of those radical, bra-burning, hairy-pitted, uppity vagina warriors you’d like to see acknowledged.

Iraqi Refugees Forced into Prostitution

I guess oil is soooo important that women and girls lives don’t really matter to GWB & Co…
The Independent on Sunday ~~ June 24, 2007
‘50,000 Iraqi refugees’ forced into prostitution
Women and girls, many alarmingly young, who fled the chaos at home are
being further betrayed after reaching ‘safety’ in Syria
By Nihal Hassan in Damascus

It’s Monday night in a dingy club on the outskirts of the Syrian
capital. Two dozen girls are moving half-heartedly on the dance floor,
lit up by flashing disco lights.

They are dessed in tight jeans, low-cut tops and knee-high boots, but
the girls’ make-up can’t disguise the fact that most are in their
mid-teens. It’s a strange sight in a conservative Muslim country, but
this is the sex business, and it’s booming as a result of the war in Iraq.

Backstage, the manager sits in his leather chair, doing business. A
Saudi client is quoted $500 for one of the girls. Eventually he beats
it down to $300. Next door, in a dimly lit room, the next shift of
girls arrives, taking off the black all-covering abayasthey wear
outside and putting on lipstick and mascara.

To judge from the cars parked outside, the clients come from all over
the Gulf region – many are young Saudi men escaping from an even more
conservative moral climate. But the Syrian friend who has brought me
here tells me that 95 per cent of the girls are Iraqi.

Most are unwilling to talk, but Zahra, an attractive girl with a bare
midriff and tattoos, tells me she’s 16. She has been working in this
club since fleeing to Syria from Baghdad after the war. She doesn’t
like it, she says, “but what can we do? I hope things get better in
Iraq, because I miss it. I want to go back, but I have to look after
my sister”. Zahra points to a thin, pubescent girl with long black
hair, who seems to be dancing quite happily. Aged 13, Nadia started in
the club two months ago.

As the girls dance suggestively, allowing their breasts to brush
against each other, one winks at a customer. But these girls are not
just providing the floor show – they have paid to be here, and they
need to pick up a client, or they’ll lose money. If successful,
they’ll earn about $60, equivalent to a month’s wages in a factory.

There are more than a million Iraqi refugees in Syria, many are women
whose husbands or fathers have been killed. Banned from working
legally, they have few options outside the sex trade. No one knows how
many end up as prostitutes, but Hana Ibrahim, founder of the Iraqi
women’s group Women’s Will, puts the figure at 50,000.

I met Fatima in a block of flats operating informally as a brothel in
Saida Zainab, a run-down area with a large Iraqi population. Millions
of Shias go there every year, because of the shrine of the prophet
Mohamed’s granddaughter. “I came to Syria after my husband was killed,
leaving me with two children,” Fatima tells me. “My aunt asked me to
join her here, and my brothers pressured me to go.” She didn’t realise
the work her aunt did, and she would be forced to take up, until she arrived.

Fatima is in her mid-20s, but campaigners say the number of Iraqi
children working as prostitutes is high. Bassam al-Kadi of Syrian
Women Observatory says: “Some have been sexually abused in Iraq, but
others are being prostituted by fathers and uncles who bring them here
under the pretext of protecting them. They are virgins, and they are
brought here like an investment and exploited in a very ugly way.”

Further viewing: Nihal Hassan and Nima Elbagir’s report will appear on
‘More 4 News’ at 8pm tomorrow

Canadian-led campaign unites women’s organizations on six continents

On the first anniversary of P’n’P entering the Blogosphere comes a call to sign on to the Nairobi Declaration:

Drafted by representatives of women’s rights organizations from six continents and endorsed by leading international human rights advocates including Stephen Lewis, former UN Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, the Nairobi Declaration is founded on the experiences of women and girl survivors of sexual violence and the expertise of activists and jurists who are helping them rebuild their lives. At the Declaration’s core is the belief that justice for women and girl survivors of sexual violence will never be achieved if reparations programs are not informed and directed by those they are meant to serve. The Nairobi Declaration aims to correct the systemic flaws of national Truth and Reconciliation initiatives and existing reparation schemes and to inform those being developed by the International Criminal Court.The Nairobi Declaration asserts that reparation programs must go beyond mere compensation and restitution. According to the Declaration, adequate reparation and remedy must:

  • Empower women and girls, support their efforts to rebuild trust and relations and foster their participation in social reconstruction. Decision-making about reparations must include victims as full participants.
  • Address social inequalities and discrimination in existence prior to conflict, which lie at the root of violence against women and girls in times of conflict.
  • Promote social justice and encourage the transformation toward a fair and equal society.
  • Emphasize the importance of truth-telling in order to allow women and girls to move ahead and become true citizens. Abuses against women must be named and recognized in order to raise awareness about these crimes and violations, to positively influence a more holistic strategy for reparation and measures that support reparation, and to help build a shared memory and history.

Reparations should provide women and girls with the tools to rebuild their lives not as they were prior to war or conflict, but in ways that address and transform sociocultural injustices and structural inequalities that predate the conflict,” says Ariane Brunet, coordinator of the Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations. “Women and girls’ right to reparation is not only about restitution, compensation and access to judicial redress, it is about women playing an active role in repairing the social fabric and building afresh a just and equal society.”

The Nairobi Declaration is the first stage in a long-term international campaign on gender reparation. It is intended as a tool to be implemented by States, multilateral agencies, regional agencies and national entities, such as Truth and Reconciliation Commissions.

Read the Nairobi Declaration

Sign the Nairobi Declaration

Quebec Election: Disappointing for Women

Fewer women in the National Assembly will not be good for women from the new minority government in Quebec.  We know that the more women are represented over 30 percent in political institutions,  the better their issues are handled.  With that critical mass now gone, it will be interesting to see what happens for women in Quebec.  From the Inbox:

Last night’s Quebec election means there are fewer women in the National Assembly. Of Quebec’s 125 provincial seats, only 31 now are held by female MNA’s –or 24.8 per cent.

At dissolution, Quebec had been first in Canada, with 38 women of 123 occupied seats or 30.89 per cent.

Prince Edward Island’s legislature now is 25.92 per cent female: and Ontario’s 25.24 per cent female. An election coming Oct. 10, 2007 in Ontario is an opportunity to improve women’s poor record in politics in Canada.

Louise Paquet, of Le Collectif feminisme et democratie, forwarded the new Quebec number. She will issue a more detailed report later today.

Update on Support for Oaxaca

I’d like to suggest we have a March 8 (International Women’s Day) blog posts to support the women of Oaxaca, Mexico.  Perhaps someone who knows how to make a button or banner would be willing to create one for it…


This, from the Inbox…


2 March 2007




Dear friends,


The Global Women´s Strike thanks you for supporting our COMO/APPO sisters in struggle in Oaxaca, Mexico. The letter you have signed is on our webpage with all the signatures we received:  More signatures come in every day.


So far we have sent US$1,000. The women have decided to put this towards the hospital bill of the family of compañero Marcos García Macedas, who was shot by police and is struggling for his life.  The van in which he was traveling was hit 177 times, four bullets hit Marcos. The bill is US$10,000 so far. Another operation is needed which will cost about US$5,000. Please send a donation if you can.


As you know, in an attempt to defeat the COMO/APPO movement, the government has thrown hundreds of people into jail.  The struggle to get rid of the repressive governor Ulises Ruiz and free the prisoners continues!  On 6 January, Day of the Kings, 300 children marched to demand the release of their parents. On 17 January, marchers assembled at the Monument to Mothers.


The next mega-march of women has been called for 8 March, International Women’s Day.


Our sisters in Michoacan – who were with us when we met the Oaxaca women and who have participated in Global Women’s Strike activities for years – are also in a big struggle against violence and corruption by party officials. A separate email will give their account of the situation there and what support is needed.


Please send letters of protest in support of the Oaxaca movement against repression to the following politicians:


President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa

Residencia Oficial de los Pinos

Casa Miguel Alemán Col. San Miguel Chapultepec,

México DF, C.P. 11850

Tel: +52 (55) 27891100

Fax: +52 (55) 52772376

We have no email for him, please send a fax


Licenciado Francisco Javier Ramírez Acuña

Secretario de Gobernación

Bucareli 99, 1er. piso Col. Juárez, Delegación Cuauhtémoc

México D.F., C.P. 06600

Fax: +52 (55) 5093 3414

We have no email for him, please send a fax


Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza,

Procurador General de la República

Av. Paseo de la Reforma #211-213 Col. Cuauhtémoc, Delegación Cuauhtémoc

México D.F., C.P. 06500

To send an email on line:


Dr. José Luis Soberanes Fernández

President of CNDH

Periférico Sur 3469, Col. San Jerónimo Lídice

10200, México, D.F.

Tel: 631 00 40, 6 81 81 25

Fax: 56 81 84 90

Free long distance call: 01 800 00 869



Lic. Ulises Ruiz Ortiz

Ex governor of the State of Oaxaca

Fax: + 951 5020530


Please send us copies of your letters at:



U.S.-trained Iraqi Police Rape Women

February 23, 2007

Armed, Trained and Funded by the US
Iraqi Police Commit Rapes

The international news media is flooded with images of a woman in a
pink headscarf recounting a shattering experience of rape by members
of the Iraqi National Police. Most of the coverage has focused on her
taboo-breaking decision to speak publicly about the assault, but has
ignored the context for understanding-and combating-sexual violence by
Iraqi security forces.

As Iraqi women's organizations have documented, sexualized torture is
a routine horror in Iraqi jails. While this woman may be the first
Iraqi rape survivor to appear on television, she is hardly the first
to accuse the Iraqi National Police of sexual assault. At least nine
Iraqi organizations (including Women's Will, Occupation Watch, the
Women's Rights Association , the Iraqi League, the Iraqi National
Association of Human Rights, the Human Rights' Voice of Freedom, the
Association of Muslim Scholars, the Iraqi Islamic Party and the Iraqi
National Media and Culture Organization) as well as Amnesty
International, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq, and the Brussels
Tribunal have documented the sexualized torture of Iraqi women while
in police custody. And as this case attests, sexual violence is woven
into the fabric of the civil war now raging across Iraq. According to
Iraqi human rights advocate and writer Haifa Zangana, the first
question asked of female detainees in Iraq is, "Are you Sunni or
Shia?" The second is, "Are you a virgin?"

Next week, MADRE, an international women's human rights organization,
will release a report that documents the widespread use of rape and
other forms of torture against women detainees in Iraq by US and Iraqi
forces.* The report includes testimonies of numerous rape survivors,
collected by the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI). Since
November 2005, OWFI has conducted a Women's Prison Watch project and
has found that, "Torture and rape are common procedure of
investigation in police stations run by the militias affiliated with
the government, mostly the Mahdi and Badr militias," according to
their summer 2006 report.

These are the same sectarian Shiite militias that are prosecuting
Iraq's civil war, the same militias that stepped into the power vacuum
created by the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and the same militias
that have been systematically attacking women in their bid to
establish an Islamist theocracy. Since 2003, the political leadership
of these militias has been handed control of the Iraqi state by the
US, while the militants themselves have waged a campaign of
assassinations, rapes, abductions, beheadings, acid attacks, and
public beatings targeting women-particularly women who pose a
challenge to the project of turning Iraq into a theocracy. As the
occupying power in Iraq, the US was obligated under the Hague and
Geneva Conventions to provide security to Iraqi civilians, including
protection from gender-based violence. But the US military,
preoccupied with battling the Iraqi insurgency, simply ignored the
reign of terror that Islamist militias have imposed on women.

By early 2005, as the "cakewalk" envisioned by US war planners
devolved into the quagmire that has become the Iraq War, the US began
to cultivate Shiite militias to help battle the Sunni-led insurgency.
According to Newsweek, the plan was dubbed the "Salvador Option,"
recalling the Reagan Administration's use of militias to bolster
right-wing regimes in 1980s Central America. But by late 2005, once
the Iraqi militias had become notorious as thugs and sectarian death
squads, we stopped hearing so much about the military training that
these groups had received under the command of Colonel James Steele
during John Negroponte's stint as US Ambassador to Iraq.

Neither have we heard about how the US allowed the government it
installed in Baghdad to hand control of the country's security forces
to the militias. Today, the Mahdi Army controls the police forces of
Baghdad and Basra , Iraq's two largest cities. The Badr Brigade is
headquartered in Iraq's Ministry of Interior, which directs the
country's national police, intelligence, and paramilitary units. And
the United Nations special investigator on torture is reporting that
torture in Iraq is worse now than under Saddam Hussein.

It's no surprise that we're hearing allegations of rape against the
Iraqi National Police, considering who trained them. DynCorp, the
private contractor that the Bush Administration hired to prepare
Iraq's new police force for duty, has an ugly record of violence
against women. The company was contracted by the federal government in
the 1990s to train police in the Balkans. DynCorp employees were found
to have systematically committed sex crimes against women, including
"owning" young women as slaves. One DynCorp site supervisor videotaped
himself raping two women. Despite strong evidence against them, the
contractors never faced criminal charges and are back on the federal

Contrary to its rhetoric and its international legal obligations, the
Bush Administration has refused to protect women's rights in Iraq. In
fact, it has decisively traded women's rights for cooperation from the
Islamists it has helped boost to power. Torture of women by police
recruits armed, trained, and funded with US tax dollars is one symptom
of this broader crisis.

*Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-based Violence and
the US War in Iraq will be available at after March 6,
2007. For more information about the report, please contact MADRE at or 212.627.0444.

Yifat Susskind is communications director of MADRE, an international
women's human rights organization. She is the author of a book on US
foreign policy and women's human rights and a report on US culpability
for violence against women in Iraq, both forthcoming.

A shorter version of this article originally ran on

The Nightmare of Afghan Women

According to this, from TomDispatch, our mission in Afghanistan is not a lot different from the USian one in Iraq.  And, women are not better off as a result.

Tomgram: Ann Jones on the Nightmare of Afghan Women

This post can be found at

Afghanistan remains the forgotten war and yet, in an eerie lockstep with Iraq, it seems to be following a distinctly Bush administration-style path toward “the gates of hell.” While almost all attention in Washington and the U.S. media has been focused on the President’s new “surge” plan in Iraq — is it for 21,000 or 50,000 American troops? Just how astronomical will the bills be? Just how strong will Congressional opposition prove? Just how bad, according to American intelligence, is the situation? — Afghanistan is experiencing its own quiet surge plan: more U.S. (and NATO) troops, more military aid, more reconstruction funds, more fighting, more casualties, heavier weaponry, more air power, more bad news, and predictions of worse to come.