Recent Resources for Feminists
Global: Domination of oceans by corporate fishing vessels adds to burdens faced by women fisherfolk Print E-mail
 Thursday 24 November 2017

How Ocean Grabbing is Threatening the Livelihoods of Women Fishworkers

Making a living from selling fishes is getting harder as the seas are now dominated by huge corporate fishing vessels.

By Surangya Kaur

(Credits: I for Detail/Flickr)

With climate change and rapid privatization of the seas and oceans, small-scale fisherpeople are being denied food sovereignty and their right to livelihood. As this happens, fisher-women are suffering even more. They already face discrimination and lack of access to basic facilities, and as ocean grabbing increases, women are burdened further.

Women traditionally do not go deep into sea waters for catching fish. They are involved in fishing in lakes and nearshore waters in some countries and islands. A majority of women fish workers, however, engage in pre-harvest and post-harvest work. This includes collecting and preparing bait, mending nets and boats before the harvest, and processing and selling of fishes after they are caught.

Fish vending employs more women than men in India. According to Marine Fisheries Census of 2010, nearly 81.8% of the fisherfolks engaged in marketing of fish were women.

But making a living from selling fish is getting harder. The seas are now dominated by huge corporate fishing vessels, making it hard for the small-scale fisherfolk to access fish. The women who are making a living by selling procured fish are not able to get fish anymore, taking their income away.

Fish-working women in Kenya and other African countries involved in selling fish often face violence when they go out to harbours for procuring. In many cases, men demand sex in exchange for fish, a practice known as “sex-for-fish”.
Video: Sex-For-Fish Trade in Kenya - Christiana Louwa, World Forum of Fisher Peoples

Women also procure fish such as prawns from shores around mangrove forests. But mangroves are increasingly facing destruction. In Sunderbans, there was an oil spill in 2014, which killed aquatic life in the waters around it. Many aquaculture grounds are being constructed around mangroves which pollutes them. This leads to fish dying or migrating. As mangroves are being destroyed, the livelihood of women who rely on them is being threatened.
Video: Women Contribute to Half of All Production in Fisheries, But Not Recognised by Governments

Women constitute about 47 percent of fish workers, accounting for around 56 million jobs along the fisheries supply chain.(World Bank, 2012). But they are still facing great obstacles in getting recognition for their contribution. The work they perform in fisheries is mostly disregarded as an extension of housework, and not recognised in official statistics.

The fight for better rights for women has been a part of the larger struggle for the conservation of small-scale fisheries. In the 7th General Assembly of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples held in Delhi last week, the problems affecting women fish workers were discussed. Delegates from more than 40 countries came for these discussions and demanded national and international attention.

Nawal El Saadawi: Collective [feminist] efforts empower to overcome political & economic oppression Print E-mail
 14th November 2017

(sister-hood is an award-winning digital magazine spotlighting the diverse voices of women of Muslim heritage)
Also at:  Sunday November 19 2017

 Flickr / Jeanne Menjoulet

A letter to young feminists

by Nawal El Saadawi
I was asked to write a letter to younger generations of feminists and to give them my advice. I hate to give advice. I think nobody can 'advise' anybody else. We learn from our own experiences in our own lives. We pay the price of knowledge and awareness through physical and intellectual pain. We cannot learn without pain. We cannot liberate ourselves without paying the price of freedom. We cannot be creative without paying the price of creativity. The price may be high: prison, exile or even death.

But I do not advise young women or men to die or go to prison in order to be free and change the system of oppression. We can minimize the price of freedom by working and fighting together. Collective efforts through social and political organisations give power to powerless people, who are facing organized military, political and economic powers, at the state level and internationally.

1. Unveil your mind

We live in a world governed by power (not justice) under the capitalist, patriarchal, racist, religious system. The most oppressed sectors of society are women and the poor, who have refused to submit to slavery since the beginning of history.

Reading history illuminates and helps us to discover the origin and roots of patriarchy and other types of oppression and aggression. We need to undo what official educational systems did to us and unveil our minds by re-reading the ancient civilisations of Egypt, Iraq, Greece and others, to understand that the oppression of women and slaves is neither natural, divine nor eternal, but political and economic, and that therefore these can be changed through our collective organised efforts, locally and globally.

Revolutions of women and slaves were able to undermine the power of the patriarchal-class-religious system in every country: West and East, North and South. Every revolution faces a counter-revolution. The struggle goes on. The Egyptian revolution of January 2011 was composed mainly of young men and women. They were able to remove Hosni Mubarak, the head of state. They could not, however, change the capitalist-patriarchal system ruling the country. They did not undermine the power of the Islamic fanatic terrorist groups, and the global colonising powers which were supporting them, openly and secretly.

2. Connect, link and challenge
We need to link the global to the local. I like the new word 'glocal' which shows that we live in one world, not three or four, and that the global and the local are inseparable. I was born, and live in Egypt, but I have travelled all over the world during my years of exile to speak at conferences and teach my course, 'Creativity and Dissidence' at universities. I made the link between creativity and dissidence. You cannot be obedient and creative. I changed the concept of exile from a punishment to a reward. I gained knowledge from living in different countries and different cultures. We can overcome any hard or painful situation by making it fruitful and pleasurable, by changing the negative experience into a positive one.

I was able to survive prison. Every day, the jailer would inspect my cell and shout 'If I find paper and a pen in your cell, it will be more dangerous than if I find a gun.' I was able to smuggle a small eyebrow pencil and some toilet paper into my cell. I was able to hide them underground in a tin can. Every night, I brought them into my cell and wrote. In three months of being in jail I finished my book entitled Memoirs From The Women's Prison which I published after I was released. I felt as if the walls of prison vanished through the challenge and power of creative writing. If I have to give advice to younger generations I can tell them this: if you can transform a negative experience into a positive one, you can survive any torture or oppression.

I am living surrounded - physically and intellectually - by young women and men who read my books or attend my lectures inside and outside Egypt. They write emails to me, or phone me, or visit me at home. With their support I gather the energy to continue fighting and writing, and, above all, to continue to be happy, active, optimistic and productive. Hope is power and I never lose hope. Even in prison I was full of hope, and sure that I would come out alive, healthy and even more creative, and that Anwar Sadat, the president of Egypt who had put me in jail, would soon fall. My prison-mates did not believe it. He was powerful, wealthy and healthy. But he was shot dead just one month after putting us in jail.

I feel young amongst young people, although I am now seventy-eight years old. You can change the concept of age, and of time and place, of loneliness and divorce, of disease or even death.

3. Lose the fear of hellfire
We have illusions and fear inherited from early childhood. I lost the fear of hellfire because my father and mother told me there was no hellfire. Many children lose their common sense because of the fear of hellfire. Most children are born intelligent and creative. They look up to the stars and ask who created them. Parents reply, 'God created the stars'. The child then asks automatically, 'And who created God?' But nobody answers this question. Another child asks, 'Who created the sky and the earth?’ The teacher replies, 'God created the whole universe.' The child then asks automatically, 'And what did God do before creating the universe?' Now the teacher gets angry and says, 'He was preparing hellfire to burn whoever asks that question'. Many children stop asking questions after that.

My daughter and son asked questions from a very young age. I never stopped them. Some schoolteachers discouraged them with threats of hellfire, but I talked to the teachers and they stopped threatening my children. We should not leave the brains of our children to be crippled by fear. My daughter, Mona Helmy, gained a PhD in political economy but she resigned from her post to become an independent writer and poet. She published many books and led a youth campaign to give due respect to mothers in family naming traditions. Her campaigning helped to change the law. My son, Atef Hetata, graduated with honours from the college of Engineering but left this career to become a film director. He wrote and directed the feature film The Closed Doors which has won many prizes nationally and internationally. Both my son and daughter have paid a high price for their creativity and dissidence - but they continue to struggle, and they never give up.

4. Don't give up
This is my advice to younger generations, men and women all over the world. Many young feminists were disappointed after Donald Trump came to power in the USA, and after many other fiercely capitalist, patriarchal and racist figures like him took power in Europe and other places. We hear about terrorist attacks everywhere. In Egypt, some of the young feminists who participated in the January 2011 revolution in Tahrir Square are disappointed and have lost hope. They think the revolution has failed because of the backlash against women and progressive and feminist ideas and activities. But if we read the history of revolutions in France, Britain, Russia, America and other countries, we learn that the dreams of any revolution may take many years (or even centuries) to come true. In spite of the increasing counter-revolutions everywhere, and the growth of Salafi and Islamist groups, the daily attacks of Daesh and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, people never give up. Those who fight for justice and freedom will succeed in the end.

We need to change the conception of success. It is not money, nor fame, nor power: it is the ability to make the world a better place to live in. It is the ability to fail, to fall to the ground, but to stand up again and again, and continue the struggle. Failure is not a negative experience; it can be positive, if we can learn that failure is the first step to success.

Nawal El Saadawi is an internationally renowned Egyptian writer, novelist, medical doctor and fighter for women rights.

Australia: A Nation's YES via post votes overwhelmingly to end discrimination against Gay Marriage Print E-mail

 Wednesday November 15 2017

Why all Australians had a stake in the postal vote on same-sex marriage

By Penny Wong

Wednesday's "yes" vote is a momentous statement for LGBTIQ Australians – that we are accepted for who we are. That we, too, belong. That our love is equal.

Same-sex marriage: Political support
Federal politicians in favour of same-sex marriage have reacted with emotion to Australians voting yes to marriage equality.

Australians have recognised that our relationships have as much worth and commitment as everyone else's relationships. Our desire to make a public and lasting commitment to the person we love is as important and meaningful as everyone else's.

For those of us fighting for equality, this has been a deeply personal debate. The stubborn legislative discrimination excluding us from the institution of marriage was a clear statement about how our relationships were regarded.

This has been a very hard time for our community, the LGBTIQ community across Australia.

The worth of our relationships has been questioned. Our love and commitment to our children has been questioned. Our identity has been denigrated.

And when a part of our community is diminished in this way, whether it on the basis of ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality or other attribute, we are all diminished.

Those attitudes have been resoundingly rejected.

John Shakespeare

The Australian people have declared we belong, our love is equal, and those who argued for division and intolerance have been rejected.

So this campaign wasn't just important for LGBTIQ Australians. It's important for all Australians.
Celebrations at Prince Alfred Park in Surry Hills on Wednesday morning. (James Brickwood)

Thank you to the millions of Australians who stood up for fairness. Thank you for standing up for equality. Thank you for standing up for gay and lesbian Australians, the LGBTIQ community everywhere. Thank you for standing up for my family and for all our families. Thank you for standing up for the sort of Australia we believe in, one that is decent, one that is fair, one that is accepting and one that turns its back on exclusion and division.

We have now seen an outpouring of love and support from our fellow Australians. I hope we can all take from this a message of solidarity, of support, of decency from our fellow Australians.

Senator Penny Wong hugs Senator Richard Di Natale after the result in the same sex marriage survey at Parliament House (Andrew Meares)

All of us have been lifted by the support from unions, from business leaders, from farmers, miners and professionals; from the ordinary working men and women of Australia; from the national sporting clubs and their leading stars to the local clubs in towns and cities across Australia.

We have been lifted by support from the local cafes with "Vote Yes" signs in the windows, from the airlines and airports decorated with rainbows.

Woodleigh School students Cas Baptist and Indigo Rule react to the same-sex marriage survey result. (Simon Schluter)
I have seen it also in the thoughtful messages my partner Sophie and I received, in the kindness of strangers stopping me in the street to ask after our family and those who tell me in the lift or the airport terminal that they were voting "yes".

And as much as these interactions lift my spirits, I can also I see how much it means to our fellow Australians that they are able to show their support in millions of individual ways, to bring an end to discrimination imposed upon us by the changes to the Marriage Act in 2004.

Happy responses at Prince Alfred Park to the majority yes vote. (James Brickwood)

So the "yes" vote is not just a statement for the LGBTIQ community: it's a statement about the kind of nation we are.

A nation where the values of fairness and equality grow ever stronger.

A nation where acceptance and respect mean that all members of our community are made to feel safe and welcome.

Australians have voted for equality. They have done their part.

Now it is time for us to do ours.

The bill we will now debate is the 23rd marriage equality bill to be introduced into the Australian Parliament. And it is the first I have co-sponsored.

I have chosen to put my name in support of this bill because I believe it is the right bill to pass this Parliament.

The Australian people voted to remove discrimination – not to extend it.

It's time for us to get on with it.

It's time to remove discrimination from our Marriage Act.

It's time to legislate for marriage equality.

Senator Penny Wong is the leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Ireland: Catherine Corless awarded National Human Rights Award for exposing Tuam infant atrocities Print E-mail

 Thursday October 26 2017

Amateur historian Catherine Corless honoured with Human Rights Award for Tuam Mothers and Baby work

 Catherine Corless

By Saidhbh O'Callaghan

The Bar of Ireland has presented Catherine Corless its Human Rights Award relating to the discovery of the remains of 796 children on the site of a former mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

Amature historian, Catherine Corless has spent years searching through the records of the former Saint Mary's mother and baby home. Her research showed that 796 children, mostly infants, had died from 1925 and 1961 in the home run by Bon Secours.

Two local boys, Frannie Hopkins and Barry Sweeney, were playing in the field, 14 years after the home closed, where they discovered a hole covered by a concrete slab "full of skeletons... of children". After telling a local priest the site was covered over again, without any investigation into who was buried there or what had happened to them.

Corless had heard about the story, and began to investigate who had been buried there. After contacting countless people (Bon Secours Headquaters in Cork, Western Health Board, Galway County Council), and getting nothing, she finally began to get information when she contacted the registry office Galway.

Between 2011 and 2013, Corless paid €4 per death certificate of the children who had died while in the home.

She eventually came to a number of 796 children, whos deaths had been caused by a range of diseases, including tuberculosis, measles and pneumonia, as well as neglect and malnutrition. This meant that the child mortality rate at the home was extremely large compared to the rest of Ireland at that time.

After using a site map, she concluded that the most likely site where the children would have been buried was the sewage tank, which has been out of use since the 1930s.

Corless and some fellow local historians began to appeal to put a permanant memorial there for the children who had died. Despite a local paper (2013) and the Connact Tribune (Feburary 2014) running the story, it was not brought to national attention until May 2014 when, focusing on the mass grave mostly, journalist Alison O'Reilly interviewd Corless.

Without Corless's tireless and, until now, thankless work, this tradegy may have never came to light. Later today she will receive the Bar of Ireland Human Rights award, which she undoubtedly deserves for fighting for the 'forgotten children', who couldn't fight for themselves.

Accepting the award, Corless said; “I am truly honoured to receive The Bar of Ireland Human Rights Award. My work campaigning on behalf of the survivors of mother and baby homes continues and I hope that this special award will give even more survivors the strength to come forward to tell their story. With each and every testimony the truth is uncovered further and our campaign for justice to prevail is strengthened. I share this Award with the all survivors, this is for them.”

The Irish Times ~ Thursday October 26, 2017,

Galway historian Catherine Corless receives Human Rights Award

Children’s bodies found at Tuam mother and baby home should be exhumed, says Corless

By Olivia Kelly

Catherine Corless after receiving the Bar of Ireland’s Human Rights Award in recognition of her work in relation to the Tuam mother and baby homes. ( Brian Lawless/PA)

Galway-based historian, Catherine Corless has called for the exhumation of the bodies of all children buried at the mother and baby home in Tuam, Co Galway.

Ms Corless was speaking in Dublin on Thursday where she was presented with the annual Human Rights Award from barristers’ organisation the Bar of Ireland, for her work in relation to the home.

Her research led to the discovery of the remains of hundreds of babies on the site of the former institution for unmarried mothers run by the Sisters of the Bon Secours, and she continues to advocate on behalf of survivors.

A “terrible injustice” had been done to “innocent children” at the home she said, “both the people who went through the home and survived it and also . . . the children who died there” .

The Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes earlier this year announced that “significant” quantities of human remains had been found buried under the Tuam home site. The commission was set up in February 2015 after Ms Corless, published research that revealed death certificates for 796 children home with no indication of their burial places.

“I couldn’t get my mind around how the sisters could leave that home in 1961, close the gates when it closed down, with 796 children buried beneath in the tunnels in coffins, a lot of them in the sewage tank area as we now know,” she said. “What kind of mentality would leave that place without acknowledging that so many burials were there, so many precious lives were lost?”

She said she hoped the commission would make recommendations which would restore some dignity to the dead.

“The ideal would be to exhume those little bodies and just show them some dignity and reverence and to perhaps reinter them in the main Tuam graveyard which is only across the road.”

The commission must also provide justice for the survivors, she said.

“Hopefully the commission of inquiry will give them justice. All they want is an apology and an acknowledgment of what happened to them and their mothers.”

Paul McGarry SC, chairman of the council of the Bar of Ireland said Ms Corless had shown “incredible courage and determination” in her advocacy work on behalf of survivors of the home.

“She has worked tirelessly on their behalf and has shone a light on a dark period of our history, passionately represented the victims and their rights at all times, often in the face of adversity,” he said.

“She epitomises the very essence of a humanitarian and is a very deserving recipient of this award.”

The Bar of Ireland’s Human Rights Award is presented to a person or organisation who has shown exceptional humanitarian service. Last year it was awarded to the Irish Naval Service for its work on the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.
 March 08, 2017

Tuam “chamber of horrors” – babies starved, sold, experimented on

By Niall O'Dowd

The horrors of Mother and Baby Homes. Children sit in a tea room with a nun posing for a photo  (Adoption Rights Alliance)

At least 6,000 Irish children died in the now notorious mother and baby homes throughout Ireland, but the nightmare doesn't end there. Eighteen children, mostly girls, mostly mentally handicapped, were starved to death.

Details are emerging of the horrific stories behind some of the 796 deaths at the Tuam mother and baby home.

Irish leader Enda Kenny made an impassioned speech in the parliament yesterday calling Tuam a “Chamber of Horrors.”

He stated. “No nuns broke into our homes to kidnap our children.

“We gave them up to what we convinced ourselves was the nuns’ care.

“We took their babies (unmarried mothers) and gifted them, sold them, trafficked them, starved them, neglected them or denied them to the point of their disappearance from our hearts, our sight, our country and, in the case of Tuam and possibly other places, from life itself.”

Twelve of the 18 who starved were girls and there is a suspicion that some were mentally retarded. Bridget Agatha Kenny was two months old when she died as a result of marasmus, child malnutrition, on August 23, 1947. She is described as having been ‘mentally defective.'

She was one of 18 children whose cause of death was listed as child malnutrition or the official term “marasmus.”

Marasmus is a form of severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency. A child with marasmus looks utterly emaciated with ribs protruding. Body weight is reduced to less than 60% of the normal body weight for the age.

The new details raise the shocking specter of children dying of starvation in Ireland 100 years after the Famine.

Photo: Children in a playroom at a Mother and Baby Home (Via: Adoption Rights Alliance).

In 2014 it was revealed in a report compiled by Michael Dwyer of Cork University’s School of History 2,051 children from state-run homes were used as medical guinea pigs for the pharma giant Burroughs Wellcome during the 1930s. He came to this conclusion after trawling through tens of thousands of medical journal articles and archived files.

Dwyer told the Daily Mail in 2014, “What I have found is just the tip of a very large and submerged iceberg.

“The fact that no record of these trials can be found in the files relating to the Department of Local Government and Public Health, the Municipal Health Reports relating to Cork and Dublin, or the Wellcome Archives in London, suggests that vaccine trials would not have been acceptable to government, municipal authorities, or the general public.

“However, the fact that reports of these trials were published in the most prestigious medical journals suggests that this type of human experimentation was largely accepted by medical practitioners and facilitated by authorities in charge of children’s residential institutions.”

Children taking the air, accompanied by nuns at a Mother and Baby home (Via: Adoption Rights Alliance)

There were nine homes in all and it is now also a confirmed fact that between 1940 and 1965 Saint Patrick's, on the Navan Road in Dublin, and its sister hospital, Saint Kevin’s, “donated” the bodies of at least 461 deceased babies for routine dissection practice in all the major medical teaching institutions in the state, including Trinity College Dublin, The College of Surgeons and University College Dublin’s medical school.

No questions were asked where the baby bodies came from.

Following the excavation of “significant quantities of infants' remains” at the Tuam site of the Bon Secours’ Mother and Baby Home the case has been handed over to the gardai (police). The case of the mass grave, homed in two underground sewerage structures, was referred to the north Galway coroner by the Mother and Baby Home Commission of Investigation.

As more widespread investigations into burial plots and Mother and Baby Home records across Ireland are called for the Coalition of Mother And Baby home Survivors released a statement, a rundown of facts already known about the Catholic Church’s Mother and Baby Homes. Among them is the fact that the children in the church’s care were used for medical experimentation and drug trials.

In 2011, RTE’s investigative current affairs show, "Prime Time" revealed that hundreds of the bodies of babies born in Ireland’s Mother and Baby were sent from the homes to Irish medical colleges. They also reported that other children were vaccinated in the homes with experimental drugs and closely monitored for side effects.

According to Dwyer’s report from 2014, no consent was ever sought by the Mother and Baby Homes for these medical procedures. These vaccine trials were carried out on Irish babies before the drugs were eventually made available for commercial use in the United Kingdom.

  Nun sits with young boy and other children at a Mother and Baby Home. (Via: Adoption Rights Alliance)

Among those homes listed were Bessborough, in County Cork, and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea, County Tipperary. Both of these homes are included among the mass grave investigations being sought by survivors and campaigners.

The report states that other institutions where children may also have been vaccinated include Cork orphanages St Joseph’s Industrial School for Boys, run by the Presentation Brothers, and St Finbarr’s Industrial School for Girls, run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Dublin trials may have involved children from St Vincent’s Industrial School, Goldenbridge, St Joseph’s School for Deaf Boys, Cabra, and St Saviour's Dominican Orphanage.

A spokesman for GSK – formerly Wellcome – told the Irish Daily Mail: “The activities that have been described to us date back over 70 years and, if true, are clearly very distressing.”

Children at the Bon Secour Mother and Baby Home, in Tuam, County Galway.

At the time of the report Ireland’s Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny called for a countrywide investigation into these practices and the burial plots at Tuam, and other Mother and Baby Homes.

According to the 2011 "Prime Time" documentary, the Polio vaccine was developed during the 1950s. While this led to a decrease in such diseases as diphtheria, tetanus, and whooping cough, however this new drug brought on an increase in the amount of child research performed. Much of the research was consequently performed in children’s institutions through the 1960s. There are no records that show consent from the mothers in the homes. “It was clear from the report that there was no parental consent,” reports the documentary. “There was a violation of the physical integrity of the children.”

Before Dwyer’s 2012 report, a damning report by the Irish government’s Health Service Executive (HSE) found that the Irish Catholic mother and child homes had an infant mortality rate of 68% in 1943. The report shows that, according to the Register of Deaths, Bessborough Mother and Baby home during certain months in the 1940s the death rate among children living in the home amounted to a child dying roughly every second day.

More than 80 of the 472 infant deaths have malnutrition listed as the cause of death.

The reports also showed that as time went on, the standard of the death records kept decreased dramatically. It is the case that for hundreds of children listed it was unclear when exactly the death took place and it appeared that many were recorded at the same time.

The Guardian ~ Wednesday 8 March 2017

The Catholic church is ‘shocked’ at the hundreds of children buried at Tuam. Really?

By Emer O'Toole

The discovery of remains at a former home for unmarried mothers shows that Ireland is still in denial over a horrific legacy

Engineers use ground-penetrating radar to search the mass grave at the former mother and baby home in Tuam, County Galway. (Aidan Crawley/EPA)

It has been confirmed that significant numbers of children’s remains lie in a mass grave adjacent to a former home for unmarried mothers run by the Bon Secours Sisters in Tuam, County Galway. This is exactly where local historian Catherine Corless, who was instrumental in bringing the mass grave to light, said they would be. A state-established commission of inquiry into mother and baby homes recently located the site in a structure that “appears to be related to the treatment/containment of sewage and/or waste water”, but which we are not supposed to call a septic tank.

The archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, says he is “deeply shocked and horrified”. Deeply. Because what could the church have known about the abuse of children in its instutions? When Irish taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked if he was similarly shocked, he answered: “Absolutely. To think you pass by the location on so many occasions over the years.” To think. Because what would Kenny, in Irish politics since the 70s, know about state-funded, church-perpetrated abuse of women and children? Even the commission of inquiry – already under critique by the UN – said in its official statement that it was “shocked by this discovery”.

If I am shocked, it is by the pretence of so much shock. When Corless discovered death certificates for 796 children at the home between 1925 and 1961 but burial records for only two, it was clear that hundreds of bodies existed somewhere. They did not, after all, ascend into heaven like the virgin mother. Corless then uncovered oral histories from reliable local witnesses, offering evidence of where those children’s remains could be found. So what did the church and state think had happened? That the nuns had buried the babies in a lovely wee graveyard somewhere, but just couldn’t remember where?

Or maybe the church and state are expressing shock that nuns in mid-20th century Ireland could have so little regard for the lives and deaths of children in their care. The Ryan report in 2009 documented the systematic sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children in church-run, state-funded institutions. It revealed that when confronted with evidence of child abuse, the church would transfer abusers to other institutions, where they could abuse other children. The Christian Brothers legally blocked the report from naming and shaming its members. Meanwhile, Cardinal Seán Brady – now known to have participated in the cover-up of abuse by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth – muttered about how ashamed he was.

It may be time to stop acting as though the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of the Catholic church are news to us

The same year, the Murphy report on the sexual abuse of children in the archdiocese of Dublin revealed that the Catholic church’s priorities in dealing with paedophilia were not child welfare, but rather secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of its reputation and the preservation of church assets. In 2013, the McAleese report documented the imprisonment of more than 10,000 women in church-run, state-funded laundries, where they worked in punitive industrial conditions without pay for the crime of being unmarried mothers.

So you will forgive me if I am sceptical of the professed shock of Ireland’s clergy, politicians and official inquiring bodies. We know too much about the Catholic church’s abuse of women and children to be shocked by Tuam. A mass grave full of the children of unmarried mothers is an embarrassing landmark when the state is still paying the church to run its schools and hospitals. Hundreds of dead babies are not an asset to those invested in the myth of an abortion-free Ireland; they inconveniently suggest that Catholic Ireland always had abortions, just very late-term ones, administered slowly by nuns after the children were already born.

As Ireland gears up for a probable referendum on abortion rights as well as a strategically planned visit from the pope, it may be time to stop acting as though the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of the Catholic church are news to us. You can say you don’t care, but – after the Ryan report, the Murphy report, the McAleese report, the Cloyne report, the Ferns report, the Raphoe report and now Tuam – you don’t get to pretend that you don’t know.

Two members of my family were born in the Tuam home, lived short lives there, and are likely lying in that septic tank – sorry, in that structure that “appears to be related to the treatment/containment of sewage and/or waste water”. Their mother died young, weakened from her time in the custody of the church. Because of this I understand that otherwise good, kind people in Ireland handed power over women and children’s lives to an institution they knew was abusive. And I wrestle with the reality that – in our schools and hospitals – we’re still handing power over women and children’s lives to the Catholic church. Perhaps, after Tuam, after everything, that’s what’s really shocking.

Joy A. Palmer Cooper & David E. Cooper [Editors]: Key Thinkers on the Environment Print E-mail

Key Thinkers on the Environment [Edited by Joy A. Palmer Cooper and David E. Cooper]

Key Thinkers on the Environment is a unique guide to environmental thinking through the ages. Joy A. Palmer Cooper and David E. Cooper, themselves distinguished authors on environmental matters, have assembled a team of expert contributors to summarize and analyse the thinking of diverse and stimulating figures from around the world and from ancient times to the present day. Among those included are:
?    philosophers such as Rousseau, Kant, Spinoza and Heidegger
?    activists such as Chico Mendes and Wangari Maathai
?    literary giants such as Virgil, Goethe and Wordsworth
?    major religious and spiritual figures such as Buddha and St Francis of Assissi
?    eminent scientists such as Darwin, Lovelock and E.O. Wilson.
Lucid, scholarly and informative, the essays contained within this volume offer a fascinating overview of humankind’s view and understanding of the natural world.

Table of Contents

Alphabetical list of contents
Notes on Contributors
Confucius, 479-551 BCE by Yue Zhuang
Buddha, fifth century bce by Purushottama Bilimoria
Zhuangzi, c.370-c.286 bce by David E. Cooper
Aristotle, 384–322 bce by David E. Cooper
Virgil, 70–19 bce by Philip R. Hardie
Saint Francis of Assisi, 1181/2–1226 Andrew Linzey and Ara Barsam
Wang Yang-ming, 1472–1528 by T. Yamauchi
Michel de Montaigne, 1533–92 by Ann Moss
Francis Bacon, 1561–1626 by Paul S. MacDonald
Benedict Spinoza, 1632–77 by Paul S. MacDonald
Bash , 1644–94 by David J. Mossley
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1712–78 by Paul S. MacDonald
Immanuel Kant, 1724-1804 by Emily Brady
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1749–1832 by Colin Riordan
Alexander von Humboldt, 1769-1859 by Nicolaas A. Rupke
William Wordsworth, 1770–1850 by W. John Coletta
John Clare, 1793–1864by W John Coletta
Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803–82 by Holmes Rolston III
Charles Darwin, 1809–82 by Alan Holland
Henry David Thoreau, 1817–62 by Laura Dassow Walls
Karl Marx, 1818–83 by Richard Smith
John Ruskin, 1819–1900 by Richard Smith
Frederick Law Olmsted, 1822–1903 by R. Terry Schnadelbach
John Muir, 1838–1914 by Peter Blaze Corcoran
Anna Botsford Comstock, 1854–1930 by Peter Blaze Corcoran
Rabindranath Tagore, 1861–1941 by Kalyan Sen Gupta
Black Elk, 1862–1950 by J. Baird Callicott
Jacob von Uexküll, 1864-1944 by Carlo Brentari
Frank Lloyd Wright, 1867–1959 by Robert McCarter
Mahatma Gandhi, 1869–1948 by Purushottama Bilimoria
Albert Schweitzer, 1875–1965 by Ara Barsam and Andrew Linzey
Aldo Leopold, 1887–1948 by J. Baird Callicott
Robinson Jeffers, 1887–1962 by Michael McDowell
Martin Heidegger, 1889–1976 by Simon P. James
Eve Balfour, 1898-1990 by Erin Gill
Rachel Carson, 1907–64 by Peter Blaze Corcoran
Lynn White, Jr, 1907–87 by Michael P. Nelson
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, 1908-61 by Bryan E. Bannon
E.F. Schumacher, 1911–77 by Satish Kumar
John Cage, 1912-92 by Peter Jaeger
Arne Naess, 1912–2009 by David E. Cooper
John Passmore, 1914–2004 by David E. Cooper
Judith Wright, 1915-2000 by Nicholas Birns
Barry Commoner, 1917-2012 by Peter Dreier
James Lovelock, 1919- by Michael Allaby
Mary Midgley, 1919- by Elizabeth McKinnell
Murray Bookchin, 1921–2006 by John Barry
Thich Nhat Hanh, 1926- by Elli Weisbaum
Edward Osborne Wilson, 1929– by Phillip J. Gates
Yi-Fu Tuan, 1930- by Paul C. Adams
Paul Ehrlich, 1932– by Ian G Simmons
Holmes Rolston III, 1932– by Jack Weir
Seyyed Hossein Nasr 1933- by Sarah Robinson-Bertoni
Wendell Berry, 1934- by Jason Peters
Jane Goodall, 1934- by Marc Bekoff
Rudolf Bahro, 1935–97 by John Barry
Roderick Nash, 1939- by Gregory Graves
Val Plumwood, 1939–2008 by Nicholas Griffin
Patriarch Bartholomew, 1940- by John Chryssavgis and Frederick W. Krueger
Wangari Maathai, 1940-2011 by Mia MacDonald
J. Baird Callicott, 1941– by Michael P. Nelson
Bob Hunter, 1941-2005 by Thomas E. Hart
Susan Griffin, 1943– by Cheryll Glotfelty
Chico Mendes, 1944–88 by Joy A. Palmer Cooper
Barry Lopez, 1945- by Diane Warner
Peter Singer, 1946– by Paula Casal
Al Gore, 1948- by Thomas E. Hart
Vandana Shiva, 1952– by Lynette J. Dumble
Bill McKibben, 1960- by Thomas E. Hart
Pavan Sukhdev, 1960- by Paul Knights and Stijn Neuteleers
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