Saturday, 20 April 2013

It's about power

Over the last couple of weeks there has been so much it’s hard to make sense out of.
Sometimes it’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. Sometimes it’s not. One defining characteristic about 2013 is a level of brutality on a personal, organisation, governmental and international level.
Earlier this month we had the conviction and sentencing of Mick and Mairead Philpott for their part in the deaths of the six children. Then a subsequent news frenzy as rather than violence it was seen as the fault of a benefit culture by senior Conservative figures. Earlier this week it came out that Mick Philpott  was a Conservative voter an left bloggers alluded to the fact that it was his voting practices rather than his benefits that created the culture that resulted in the deaths of the children.
The inquest into Savita Halappanavar's death has unanimously delivered its verdict: her death was as a result of medical misadventure. A strong health young woman who was herself a medical professional died because the medical professionals around her would not give her an abortion whilst there was the presence of the foetal heartbeat despite and admission that the foetus had fatal abnormalities. Whilst senior clinicians protected themselves by citing the anomalies in the Irish law it was left to a midwife to tell the truth about why Savita was denied an abortion.  It was not because an abortion wouldn’t save her ... as it would have it was because of the country that Savita had the misfortune to be in when she had problems with the pregnancy. Savita’s death created outrage in India from feminists but supported by a wave of patriotic anti-West sentiment that turned a blind eye to the need for greater access to abortion for Indian women in India and more basic health care support for Indian woman and girls.
In the last twenty-four hours there is a new atrocity to focus on as a five year old girl is raped and physically abused in Delhi. The reports of the abuse, and the police investigations when she went missed is gut wrenchingly both horrific and tragic. As demonstrators demand that enough is enough, the police alienate themselves even more by reports of one of them slapping a protester.
The common thread is clearly the issue of power imbalances against women and children. Rather than issues about the state, this kind of inhumanity will continue as long as people think they can get away with playing life and death over others because no one will stand up and be counted in defence of others that are more vulnerable or simply do not have the power. In some ways you can argue that there are tough decisions to be made as no one wants to be accused with no comeback but unless more people stand up for what they believe in, then women and children will continue to die. Despite the fact that deeply violent and disgusting things have happened in India ... at least there is protest. All too often bad things happen in Britain and no one wants to know.

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