Northernheckler's Blog

A Yorkshireman's adventures in the big Smoke

Facebook stories on Delhi Murdered Woman are not all they seem

A lot has been put on line already about the horrendous gang rape, and murder of  an Indian student in Delhi.

Many of you will have come across variations of this post which is pretty much “viral” on Facebook :

Screen Shot 2013-01-03 at 21.20.35

The post shows what appears to be, pictures of the Indian student – on the left lying in bed seriously ill after her assault, and on the right, wearing modern indian style clothing, and looking very attractive.

The accompanying text includes a graphic account of  the most violent rape imaginable – it’s all over the internet if you want to read it – I’m not going to repeat it again here.

Naturally many thousands – if not millions – of Facebook users, have shared this, and shared their disgust at violence against women in general, and this despicable crime in particular. It’s hard really to think of a reason why you wouldn’t want to share that.

Except … this is a woman who’s name has not been released. Which does make me wonder whether they would release a picture of her – which would make it pretty pointless concealing her name.

After a bit of scouting around on Google – I discovered very quickly that the picture on the left, really is a picture of the victim of a serious assault. It’s one Christo van Eeden a South African MAN – who was beaten by his mother’s ex partner in August 2010  Woman’s ex attacks her son

The picture on the right is interesting too. Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor has been relatively quick to point out that it’s not the girl in question. He claims that it’s a picture of an Engineering Student from Kerala Delhi gang-rape: Victim’s purported photo is of Kerala student, claims Tharoor .

 This may well be true – but what he doesn’t flag up is where the originators of the Facebook picture are likely to have found this picture. Well they could have found it in any one of hundreds of websites such as this one Desi Indian Aunties which feature the picture. (Scroll down to the bottom it’s the last picture in the October section)

The terms “Desi” and “Auntie” – appear to be a name for a particular brand of mildly pornographic pictures of Asian women, dressed in indian dress. This particular web site cites its purpose as follows  :

“This Blog is specially for aunty lovers and contains hot indian actress, celebrity, models, sexy babe, Real Life Photos of Desi Indian Girls and Aunties downloaded from internet posted by some one else. We are just helping to save your time and avoid searching everywhere.”

It is by western standards very mild pornography. Some of the sites which contain the picture are a little more explicit.

But let’s remember the Facebook posting  says :

“And oh yeah
SHE WAS A GIRL

But don’t worry
She wasn’t your sister
She wasn’t your daughter
But she could be. The brutality has to stop right here guys

Is this how we treat our women?”

And yet – the people who have faked this picture have gone to the trouble of downloading a picture from a website which promises “Hot Masala navel” and carries links to user submitted pictures like this one :

indian woman

It carries with it the following caption

(He wishes !)

(He wishes !)

It struck me having discovered this about the photographs that the graphic account of the rape was quite possibly ripped off from somewhere else too. I couldn’t find any evidence of that – but if it is accurate it begs the issue of where has it come from. Has it been made up ? Or is it based on police accounts of the incident.

If it’s based on police accounts then immediately it makes me wonder what on earth the police are playing at releasing such graphic descriptions in to the public domain before the alleged perpetrators are brought to trial. One Indian newspaper, the Daily Bhaskar is already attributing to the police, stories relating to the youngest of the six accused who is reported to be a juvenile :Delhi gang-rape: Juvenile raped victim twice; was most brutal among 6 men

“He might walk free in three months but he was the most brutal among six men who gang-raped the 23-year-old medical student in South Delhi on December 16.”
“According to the Delhi Police, the juvenile raped the student twice. Once she was unconscious, he extracted her intestine with his hands and suggested she be thrown off the moving bus sans her clothes, says the chargesheet that the police are supposed to file in court today.”

The police have released this information ? Really ? I do wonder – because extracting her intestine with his hands – even by the callous extremes of this crime – seems to a little far fetched.

All of which leads me to believe that chances of the people accused of this hideous crime getting a fair trial must be pretty close to zero. The world has already judged them guilty using trial by Facebook, after consideration of not very well fabricated evidence. If they were to be released in Delhi tonight there is every likelihood that they would be lynched.

And how would that kind of justice serve the dead woman, or those close to her ?

Even assuming that they really are guilty ?

The world is being found wanting over this case.

< Would you believe the first pingback i had on this was from a site which just lifted the text quoted from the ‘Aunty Lovers’ site. I despair sometimes >
< And several days later I find that today – 7th Jan – More than 9 people came to this site by searching for ‘Hot Indian Aunties lying naked on bed pics’ – sheesh ! >

January 3, 2013 Posted by | news, women | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pro-Life AND Pro-Choice

[ Since publishing this, there’s been quite a bit of movement from the Government – See links at bottom of post ]

I’m continually disappointed at the failure of those people who approve of abortion (who call themselves “Pro-Choice“, and are called “Pro-Abortion” by their opponents) and those people who do not approve of abortion (who call themselves “Pro-Life” and are called “Anti-Choice” by their opponents) to engage in any kind of constructive discourse which takes any notice at all of each other’s positions regarding abortion.

The “Pro-Life” argument is this : Human Life is sacred, and to take it away deliberately is an act of murder. Human Life begins at conception, therefore an abortion is the deliberate taking of life and is therefore an act of murder. That is why they oppose abortion.

The “Pro-Choice” argument is this : Human life may well be sacred – but the mother’s life is the one principally affected in the case of an unwanted pregnancy. Human life begins at the moment of birth, and an unborn child is therefore not alive, and an abortion is nothing more than a medical procedure to remove what is technically a part of the mother’s body. This is why they support a woman’s right to choose whether she has an abortion or not.

Now is it just me ?

I can see that there is an eloquent logic in both of these arguments. They are both reasoned positions, they are both admissible arguments, irrespective of whether you agree with either position. I find it easy to respect the thinking behind each of these arguments.

So why can’t the Anti-Choicers or the Pro-Abortionists ?

It’s really not so difficult to understand these arguments, but each side gets ever more deeply into the dismissing the other sides claims as “madness” or even “evil”.

It frankly bores me. There’s no attempt at accommodating each others position, no attempt at a move out of the impasse, no thought of synthesis or reconciliation – just ridicule and venom in equal measure, to and from both sides.

It seems very clear to me that the key issue separating the two sides of the argument is not over whether the mother or the child’s life is more important. It is about whether life begins at conception, or whether life begins at birth.

It seems though that neither side seem to want to address this fundamental difference of opinion. This saddens me.

It saddens me further that it seems highly likely to me that neither position is true. Human Life clearly does not start at birth – since births can be induced prematurely, and babies can be delivered by section, all without harm to the child – if performed at the right time. It’s also unlikely that Human Life begins at conception – other than in an abstract sense. Is a group of cells a person ? Does it have conciousness ? Does it possess – dare I say it – a soul ? I think it’s unlikely.

So the question of exactly when a foetus or embryo becomes a human being is an important one to ask. Unfortunately it’s not one we’re likely to get a definitive answer on – it involves complex moral, religious, and philosophical considerations, as well as complex issues of science and human biology. We might as well argue about angels dancing on the head of a pin.

For me though the argument around abortion becomes simpler when I consider this. Human Life clearly begins at some point between the moment of conception, and the moment of birth – which is quite a long time for a margin of error.

To me abortion doesn’t seem quite right. It seems that when we carry out abortions we are carrying out actions which are at least ethically questionable, and which many people find undesirable.

Neither though does it seem quite wrong. I can not believe that an abortionist, or a woman who has an abortion, is a murderer. They are clearly entering into a procedure in the firm belief that they are not taking a life, and there are many reasons why they should do so.

When it comes to the anecdotal heart string pulling stories that are wheeled out both for and against abortion, I think I’ve encountered most variations of them in my life.

I’ve had female friends who’ve had abortions, and never regretted it for a second, and I’ve had those who’ve spent the rest of their lives feeling guilty. I’ve known those who’ve considered abortion and rejected it, and been delighted with their baby. I’ve never known anyone say out right that they’ve regretted NOT having an abortion – but I’ve seen a few who don’t need to say it – it’s written all over their face frequently.

I could tell you wonderful stories – like my cousin who was told she was expecting a Down syndrome child, and advised to terminate the pregnancy. She did not – and her baby is loved by all the family – and doesn’t have Down syndrome.

A fairy tale ending – but not all of the stories have a happy ending. I’ve taught children with some of the most severe disabilities throughout my career – and though I’m particularly attuned to valuing the lives of all of these children however disabled they are, I also see some of the almost unbearable suffering that some of them endure – and see parents struggling to cope, year after year. I could not judge those parents if they decided to abort the pregnancy of  a potentially disabled child.

I could tell you a story of a girl, abducted by soldiers in Africa, forced to become a sex slave, who then escaped to England, only to be pimped into prostitution on arrival and abandoned when it was realised she was pregnant. She had her baby who suffered severe brain damage and will have severe medical problems and learning difficulties throughout his life. She loves her son dearly but who could have blamed her for terminating that pregnancy ? And who can fail to be moved by her faith and strength of character in choosing not to abort ?

So I find that I’m someone who is pro-Life – I don’t like abortion. I want to promote life, not end it. Though many pregnancies are unwanted, most children are wanted – and I’d hope that my own daughter would be able to feel confident that she could have a child that she would be helped to provide for, should she find herself in the position of having an unwanted pregnancy – she’s 15 at the moment.

I’m also pro-Choice though. I don’t think these decisions are easy, I accept that I may be right or wrong on these issues, and I accept that there are situations which make the issue so complex that it is nigh on impossible to come to a reasoned conclusion one way or another. And I realise that ultimately it will be the woman carrying the child, who will need to make that decision – and will need to live with it afterwards. If that’s the decision my daughter came to, my wife and I would support her and help her all the way.

That the issue of abortion has risen to the surface on social media and in mainstream press in the last couple of days or so seems almost entirely due to the amendments proposed to the upcoming Health Bill made by Conservative MP Nadine Dorries, and Labour MP Frank Field which propose amongst other things, to prevent the existing agencies Marie Stopes, and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service giving counselling and advice to women considering abortion, on the grounds that as paid providers of abortion services they have a conflict of interest, and are not independent. It has been reported – notably in the Guardian Ministers back anti-abortion lobby reforms  that the Government intend to implement this part of the proposals without legislation, in favour of independent advice – provided by agencies as yet unknown – but it’s widely thought that anti-abortion group Life will be invited to form part of this.

It’s understandable why this has caused a storm. On the one hand it seems entirely reasonable that women considering abortion should be able to avail themselves of as much advice and counselling as they can. On the other it seems ludicrous to brand esteemed organisations such as BPAS and Marie Stopes as biased, in comparison with the lop sided argument they are likely to receive from Life.

I feel that in any open debate this would not be seen as a way forward – there are many sources of truly independent advice which considers all options : The Brook charity for instance is one such source that is widely respected, and BPAS and Marie Stopes could well argue that they already provide impartial advice.

The thing is though that this is not going to be an open debate. It’s going to be tagged on to the much larger – and potentially much more important – debate regarding the Tory proposals to change the NHS. ( See Kerry McCarthy MP’s blog regarding this : Right to choose -v- right to know ) Any time spent discussing changes to abortion law in parliament, will be time not spent discussing the rest of the proposed legislation.

So we now come to see the real political opportunism that Nadine Dorries and Frank Field are using. They’ve managed to bring their proposals to such a state that they could potentially threaten to de-rail the Tories’ show piece legislation that is the Health and Social Care Bill. They know that MPs from all sides of the house will be clamouring to debate and de-rail their proposals on abortion. They know also that David Cameron’s government, can ill afford to waste time on this side show to the main event. They have thus apparently been successful in extracting a concession from the Government in the shape of the proposal to alter the provision of counselling and advice.

Both Field and Dorries are mavericks in their parties, Dorries in particular is a grandstander who delights in being controversial

While Pro-Choicers everywhere seem to be chomping at the bit to denounce them as mad fruitcakes, the pair seem to have pulled off a remarkable coup – extracting a change of policy without legislation from the Government, presumably in exchange for leaving the way clear in the commons to push through the changes to the NHS.

If you really believe in choice you might want to consider whether the new bill will give any of us greater or less choice in our lives, or indeed those of our unborn children

UPDATE : Since writing this it would appear that David Cameron has done a U-Turn on the promise to change the regulations on provision of counselling, without legislation. He’s now saying that this is NOT on the cards, and that Tory ( & Lib Dem) MP’s will be advised to vote against the amendments (although still allowed a free vote) – If they are debated . Quite how much time this will leave for debating the rest of the bill is by no means clear.

Full Details in this Guardian Article : Downing Street forces U-turn on Nadine Dorries abortion proposals . This analysis of the situation is also rather enlightening Abortion advice from Nadine Dorries is classic backstreet politics

 

This all leaves things in a rather uncertain state – perhaps the only certain thing is the Guardian’s assertion that

“The U-turn, stemming from No 10’s frustration about the health department’s handling of the situation, is another embarrassing blow for the health secretary, Andrew Lansley.”

August 30, 2011 Posted by | politics, Uncategorized, women | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Recipe for Hemicrania Continua

Around six years ago, my wife started getting excruciating headaches for no apparent reason.

Bromo-Seltzer advertisement for headache medic...

Unfortunately Bromo Seltzer didn't manage to quite get my wife into a ta ra ra boom de ay frame of mind

They seemed to be non-stop, and whatever she took for them, they never disappeared completely.

Six years later they still haven’t disappeared, and my wife, now out of work, disabled, and almost always in pain because of a condition diagnosed as Hemicrania Continua, is due to be admitted for surgery on Wednesday of this week, in a bid to alleviate her difficulties.

I’m hoping to blog about this over the next few days and weeks to let people know how she gets on, how our family gets on, and to bring her disabling condition – Hemicrania Continua – to the attention of a wider audience – that they may understand it more thoroughly, and hopefully help society become better disposed towards helping people who have it.

So what is Hemicrania Continua ?

Well the dry medical definition is that Hemicrania – or HC – is a rare form of “primary headache” – that is a headache for which no cause can be found – it is that it is. (and if that sounds as if it doesn’t make much sense then do please tell my wife about it !). It’s related to other forms of primary headache conditions such as Cluster Headache – CH . Cluster Headache is usually several extremely severe headaches coming rapidly one after another in a very short time. Although attacks can be very frequent, or perhaps not so frequent, there are periods of respite in between.  Hemicrania is a usually a left sided constant bi-lateral headache – it’s down one side of the head only and may vary in intensity, but is usually ever present. It’s a disabling condition, many sufferers have to give up their jobs, and medication used to treat it can cause a large number of side-effects – some of them very unpleasant.

I could – and will – tell you more about HC  later – but for the time being I’ll leave you with this recipe for Hemicrania Continua from Liz – a Hemicrania Continua sufferer who posts on the Ouch website – Ouch is the Organisation for the Understanding of Cluster Headache – and acts as an umbrella group for all rare headache conditions. Please do visit their site.

Here’s the recipe :

Recipe for Hemicrania Continua

Take some labour pain – increase the strength a little

Add: a burning sensation
a strong feeling of weakness
nausea
some vomiting
sensitivity to light and sound
blocked nose on affected side
blurred vision
slurred speech
drooped and watery eye on affected side

Stir well

Now pull the pain through the corner of your left eye until it goes right through your head so you can feel the pain of it coming out the other side.

Send stabs of strong sharp pain through the top of your head from time to time.

Boil well for at least 72 hours

Simmer for 12-24 hours

Boil again for 12-24 hours

Simmer again for a few hours

Boil again for 12 hours

Repeat this for the rest of your life occasionally swapping sides.

Oh by the way, I forgot to say, while you are doing this you must cook, clean and shop for yourself and go out to work.

Does that sound like fun ?  No ? That’s right, it’s not !

Please check back here to see how my wife and our family get on.

June 27, 2011 Posted by | Disability, Election 2010, Family, Uncategorized, women | , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Calm down dear, or why I don’t like PMQs

Angela Eagle

Angela Eagle MP

To say I’m interested in politics is something of an understatement, yet I’m not someone who necessarily enjoys some of the more high profile political rituals we have.

Prime Minister’s Questions for example.

It drives me up the wall. Petty point scoring on both sides which leaves key issues completely unexplored, and commentators saying who “won” and who “lost”

To me that’s not politics. True political debates takes more than a few soundbites and glib put-downs to make an argument, and the strength of an argument, lies in just that – the strength of the argument – and not the smart arsed manner in which a party leader can make a joke at his or her opposite number’s expense.

Yesterday was a case in point.

I jumped in my car hurriedly trying to find somewhere to buy a sandwich for lunch before heading back to work. Along the way I chanced to hear on BBC 5 Live, a fair bit of Prime Minister’s Questions. On this occasion it was Ed Milliband‘s turn to have David Cameron on the ropes, belligerently grilling him on lack of economic growth, and rising hospital waiting times – among other issuess. To which David Cameron responds, by resorting to the time honoured tactic of not answering the question about the particular statistic he has been questioned about, but picking another more sympathetic statistic to present so that he can claim that the leader of the opposition is talking rubbish.

It irritates me. In a sensible discussion all of the different indicators could be discussed in an adult manner which attempted to shed some light on the issues at hand. Instead there are merely attempts to embarrass each other – which in David Cameron’s case are increasingly turning into opportunities to act like a smug condescending upper class former public schoolboy. Which I fear is what he actually is.

This was very apparent in the ‘headline’ incident of the session – when the Prime Minister told Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Angela Eagle, to “Calm down dear”.

I could scarcely believe what I was hearing, the ill mannered smugness and contempt with which he delivered this put down came across very unpleasantly indeed. He realised straight away what he’d said, and tried to pretend he’d been talking to Ed Balls – on the radio it seemed is if he could well have been – but on television it’s clear that he was not : David Cameron tells MP Angela Eagle: ‘Calm down, dear’ .

To me the remark was evidence of his deluded sense of superiority to the opposition members, and to female members in particular, and to women and people who do not share his priveleged upper class male background. It casts him in the role of the all knowing father speaking down to a naughty child. It’s a rude and obnoxious way to respond to an opponent, and if you’re asking whether it’s sexist, my answer is – of course it is !

Another reason why I don’t like PMQ’s

There are more reasons though – the follow up to this incident was all too predictable – the inevitable phone-ins on the radio – Was he being sexist ?, or can’t the Labour MPs take a joke ? The predictable comments – it’s PC gone mad ! etc etc ad nauseam.

On the BBC’s own website, comments seemed to give the impression that Ms Eagle got what she deserved since she had had the temerity to interrupt the PM : ‘Calm down dear’ Conservatives accused of sexism

and then today in the Guardian we have the former MP, and current GP Howard Stoate, who Mr Cameron was discussing at the time, weighing in with his claim that he was misrepresented Calm down, David Cameron – and get your facts right at PMQs and that “The prime minister distorted my views. He should stop using the health service as a political football”  – An article which has quickly been linked around the twittersphere to allow we Labour types to thumb our noses at the Tories.

In true PMQ fashion though we get scant dissection of the meat of the issues involved.

Mr Cameron chose to highlight Mr Stoate by referring to comments he had made earlier which he claimed supported the Tory plans to involve GP’s more in the commissioning and running of NHS provision. In his statement he said that Mr Stoate had ceased to be an MP because he had been defeated by a Tory candidate. Angela Eagle’s interjection was simply to state that this was blatantly untrue. He was NOT defeated in any election – he stood down as an MP – which in the context of the Prime Minister’s statement, was highly misleading. The Prime Minister knew why she was interjecting, he knew that she was telling the truth – but refused to correct the “error” – if that’s what it was, instead telling her to “Calm down dear”.

Mr Stoate for his part, seems unperturbed by the assertion that he was defeated – but more so by his feeling that the Prime Minister said that he had become a GP after he stood down. It’s very debatable whether the PM said this – certainly it’s not what I took from his statement, I think most people assumed that he’d been a GP all along. Which is the case.

Mr Stoate also is annoyed that he’s been misrepresented by the Prime Minister. Well that would fit the tabloid cycle of claim and counter-claim very well. Tit for Tat as it were. Except, read the article ! :

GPs do not fear the chance to reshape NHS services, they welcome it

As far as I can see Howard Stoate is saying precisely what the Prime Minister said, and it does make exactly the point that the Prime Minister wished to highlight.

Of course if  Howard Stoate had been defeated in the election as David Cameron said, than Labour could claim that this was in part due to his maverick ideas. He wasn’t though – which you’d think would work in David Cameron’s favour.

All in all, a fairly unsavoury and ultimately pointless crock of the proverbial.

So what is the point of PMQs ?

I’d like to see a political procedure which gives our politicians the chance to prove that they’re NOT pompous, ill mannered and sexist, rather than a routine event to reinforce the idea that they are

April 28, 2011 Posted by | Election 2010, news, politics, women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things that bug me – Part 2

Well I said I’d make up for lost time.

My second blog of the night – My earlier one can be found here : Things that bug me ! – Part 1 « Northernheckler’s Blog

Next thing I’ve seen that really bugged me  in the last few days was this pitiful article on the front page of the Daily Mail :England’s poor cancer detection and bad diet mean Slovenian women live longer which reports on the publication on the Government’s Health Profile of England 2009   http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_114938.pdf

This is just so absolutely typical of the Mail’s – “everything is terrible, and it’s all the fault of  Labour/David Cameron/Foreigners/Communists/Women/Fat people/Insert-your-own-scapegoat-here” approach to journalism.

One barely needs to read beyond the headline to sense the antipathy towards women, towards Eastern europeans, towards the National Health service, and towards the Government.

Reading on, it gets worse -

First we’re told “Health Care is so poor” – and yet this paper supposedly supports the Conservative party, whose support for the NHS is far from certain, and who definitely want to cut radically funding to public services.

It’s even worse than Slovenia – Slovenia ? Why Slovenia ? Could it be that it’s because we have some Eastern Europeans in the country at the moment, and it’s way of belittling them ? (Poland are noticeably further down the list than both Slovenia and England, but where would be the fun in saying that British women live longer than Polish women ?)

We’re given a picture of a fat woman, always the butt of so many jokes, tucking into what looks like a chicken take away. Doubtless we’re expected to believe she’ll wash it down with half a bottle of vodka, before dying of liver disease. Not that journalists ever have dodgy diets or drink alcohol.

Though the Mail picks up on the report’s concerns about alcohol related sickness and death, the claim that “deaths from chronic liver disease among women” are “driven by the rise in binge drinking” – are not at all borne out by the report – which cautions,

The method for calculating units of alcohol from drinks consumed has been revised since previous editions of the Health Profile of England. These revisions have been made to more accurately reflect the strength of some alcoholic drinks, and the way that these can be consumed. This makes comparisons over time between levels of alcohol consumption or binge drinking difficult.

but does suggest that

The proportion of pupils (aged 11-15) who had ‘drunk alcohol in the last week’ has continued to decrease since 2001.

The Mail’s version of the report though doesn’t bother with the good news, and carries on to make such utterly daft statements as :

“there was better news for English men – their life expectancy of 77 years and eight months is among the best in Europe, behind only Sweden, Italy, Cyprus and France”

Of course that won’t be much consolation for their poor old fat alcoholic unmarried female partners, as they face the final 5 years or so of their life without their already deceased men friends – still, could have been worse – they could have had their teenage pregnancies to a Slovenian

As a matter of fact the report itself  makes very interesting reading. It does draw attention to some of the biggest threats to the health of our population, but it also points out some of the major improvements that have occurred – such as for instance :

  • life expectancy at its highest rate ever – with male life expectancy amongst the highest in Europe
  • sustained reductions in infant mortality rates
  • declining mortality rates in targeted causes – cancer, circulatory problems, and suicides
  • reductions in the numbers of people smoking
  • improvements in the quality of housing stock

All of this data kept according to international comparators, in the public domain, and very open about the problems as well as the triumphs.

So why not do it some justice Daily Mail ? You have good reporters, intelligent people who can write intelligent articles that are accessible to a wide audience. Instead, again, you decide stir up resentment, disappointment, disillusionment, and anger – based on what ? Based on a biased and partial reporting of a very thorough report.

I just wish the Daily Mail would wake up to its influence and take some responsibility for its actions.

April 2, 2010 Posted by | blogs, news, politics, women | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My WonderWomen

In my office at the school where I work I have a self indulgent picture gallery. There are six photographs in blue IKEA frames of people that I consider to be “My Heroes” – for whatever reason.

Heroes are funny things – you don’t make a conscious decision to say “I’m going to choose a hero” – nor do you have quotas for race, gender, ethnicity etc, etc. Heroes just reach out to you and grab you emotionally, as someone you admire and as someone you think makes – or has made – the world a better place.

So it’s interesting for me to see how my heroes can be analysed according to various rational criteria – as opposed to the totally spurious ones by which I selected them.

Well – there are six heroes. There are three sportsmen. Two of which are footballers. There is one prime minister. There are two people from the North of England , there are two politicians, there are two white people, there are four black people. I have no idea about the sexual preferences of my heroes – and even less interest. I don’t know what this tells people about me – I’m a straight white northerner who likes football, and is interested in politics. My heroes are certainly a topic of conversation for people who visit me in my office, though .

Unfortunately, the comment that most of them make though is this : “Why aren’t there any women ?”

To which I answer – those are my heroes – I didn’t pick them – they picked me. I can’t help who they are.

Well this past week saw International Women’s Day, and at some point Twitter users were asked to nominate their “ #wonderwomen“ – their female heroes of all time.

Well I thought it was high time I did – so here they are.

It’s perhaps a slightly more contrived list than my original six heroes – but if I didn’t put these people in my heroes list before it wasn’t because they didn’t deserve it – it was just because of the vagaries of fate.

I think all these women are or were, wonderful people. Here they are :-

[ I’d like to ask any visitors who have their own blog to post their own #wonderwomen & to leave a link in a comment – thanks ! ]

(and if you want to see my male heroes you’ll have to wait !)

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Mo Mowlam – for all the work she did in Northern Ireland, all the while battling cancer – a wonderful person, tireless politician and first class human being

Janis Joplin – for her astonishing music, and being the wildest child who ever walked the planet. Too fast to live too young to die – but she did

Rosa Parks – Civil Rights campaigner who sat as a black woman in a white man’s seat on a bus and was arrested for doing so. Which is what she planned. Brave woman

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Ann Frank – a young lady persecuted by the Nazi’s who educated the world by writing down her thoughts – as all good bloggers aspire to. She was murdered in a concentration camp simply for being Jewish.

Barbara Castle – the fierce Labour politician who was a feminist before feminism was invented. Though a Labour loyalist through and through, she was nevertheless very much her own woman. The intelligent person’s Margaret Thatcher I certainly wish we’d had Barbara for PM instead

Joan of Arc – AKA St. Jeanne, the Maid of Orleans. A peasant girl who rose to lead the French to victory over England in the 100 years war, before being burnt at the stake for heresy at 19, and then made a saint. Also rumoured to be a boy . Saint, Sinner ? Boy, Girl ? Jeanne defied all stereotypes

March 13, 2010 Posted by | blogs, women | , , | 5 Comments

   

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