"She Shared the delusion of all writers, that things written are shared..."
So said Virginia Woolfe and at BlogHer I'm sitting in a session that's going to teach me ten types of web writing...I hope.
So said Virginia Woolfe and at BlogHer I'm sitting in a session that's going to teach me ten types of web writing...I hope.
From This is Zimbabwe. Copied below is their story. Please help support this very worthy campaign.
Information on how you can help the Dignity. Period! campaign, coordinated by ACTSA, is provided at the end of this post.
One of our bloggers wrote a little while ago about the Zimbabwean government’s crass approach towards the crisis that Zimbabwean women are facing in terms of shortages of sanitary products in the country. This isn’t simply a story about shortages of yet another type of product. Shortages of sanitary ware go to the heart of women’s rights: it’s an issue which raises questions of whether a woman is forced to stay away from work or school; whether she is putting her health at risk by picking up infections or, if she is HIV positive, whether those infections will literally shorten her life span. In short, a lack of affordable hygienic sanitary products translates directly into issues of women’s rights as well as women’s dignity. The story has been picked up by The Sunday Times (UK) again today. The article is cited in full below:
Celebrities back tampon rebels of Zimbabwe
SHE has been arrested 22 times, tortured so badly that her front teeth were knocked into her nose and had an AK-47 thrust up her vagina until she bled. Thabitha Khumalo’s crime: to campaign against a critical shortage of tampons and sanitary towels in Zimbabwe, one of the least talked about and most severe side-effects for women of the country’s economic crisis.
Now her cause has been taken up in Britain by celebrities including the actors Anna Chancellor, Gillian Anderson, Prunella Scales and Jeremy Irons.
Later this month they will launch “Dignity. Period!”, a fundraising campaign to buy sanitary products for Zimbabwe’s women. It will start with a night of entertainment at the 20th Century theatre in Notting Hill, west London, hosted by Stephen Fry.
So desperate is the situation that women are being forced to use rolled-up pieces of newspaper. Zimbabwe already has the world’s lowest life expectancy for women — 34 — and Khumalo believes these unhygienic practices could make it drop to as low as 20 because infections will make them more vulnerable to HIV. “It’s a time bomb,” she said. The shortage is forcing schoolgirls to stay at home when they start menstruating.
The crisis began in 1999 when Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare manufacturer, pulled out of the country because of the worsening economic situation. Zimbabwe then had to import products from neighbouring South Africa. But the collapse of the currency and the world’s highest inflation, now more than 1,000%, have made the products unaffordable to all but the elite.
In a country where the minimum wage is Z$6m (£17.14) a month, the cost of a box of 20 tampons is Z$3m. “Who in their right mind is going to spend half their earnings on tampons?” asked Khumalo. “As it is most people can only afford to eat once a day. Women are being forced to choose between their own health and the survival of their family.”
Khumalo, 45, general secretary of the Women’s Advisory Council of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and a mother of two, started her campaign after she saw a woman walking awkwardly on the street: “She told me she was going home from work because she had her period and could no longer afford sanitary protection or cotton wool.”
When an MP raised the issue in parliament, government ministers fell about laughing and dismissed the matter. Khumalo has tried to highlight it through public meetings and distributing scarves printed with demands for affordable sanitary wear. As a result she has been repeatedly arrested and beaten, but refuses to be deterred.
The following is a list of information and suggestions on how people around the world can help. If you have more ideas for what people can do to help the campaign then please send us your ideas and we’ll add them to the list:
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Help spread the word and thank you all for your support!
Recommended reading on this issue from bloggers around the world:
Saturday, July 22, the day of our big party. Fifty people, chez nous, for dinner and appetizers and drinks. FIFTY. And it was HOT. One hundred and nine up here on our hill and 119 not too far from here. I was pleased to hear that these were record-breaking temperatures because these are not numbers I want to repeat too often. Or ever.
The Middle East. It's a fucking mess. Terrorism is ugly, frightening and just plain wrong. But I believe that a country's response to terrorism should not be terrorism. This I believe. England lived with IRA terrorism for three decades.
As Israel continues to pound Lebanon, consider what the world's reaction would have been if England had pounded Ireland in a similar way. Consider that almost all Irish people are innocent of any terrorist thought or deed and then consider bombing those innocents. What would the world have said?
A chronology of major terrorist attacks in England over the past three decades:
— March 8, 1973: Two IRA car bombs explode outside London's Old Bailey courthouse and government's agriculture department headquarters, killing one and wounding more than 150.
— Oct. 5, 1974: Two IRA bombs explode in pubs in London suburb of Guildford; five dead, more than 50 injured.
— Nov. 21, 1974: Two IRA bombs in Birmingham kill 19 and wound more than 180.
— July 20, 1982: Two IRA bombs in Hyde Park and Regent's Park in London kill 11 British soldiers and wound more than 40, mostly civilians.
— Dec. 17, 1983: IRA car bomb explodes outside Harrod's department store, killing six and wounding about 100.
— Oct. 12, 1984: IRA targets conference of ruling Conservative Party, killing five and wounding 24, but narrowly missing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
— Sept. 22, 1989: The IRA bombs the Royal Marines School of Music in Deal, killing 10 soldiers and wounding more than 30.
— Feb. 7, 1991: IRA fires three homemade mortar shells at No. 10 Downing Street, British prime minister's official residence in London. No injuries. — April 10, 1992: Massive IRA truck bomb in London's financial district kills three and causes hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. — March, 20, 1993: IRA bomb hidden in garbage can in shopping district of Warrington, northwest England, kills two boys aged 3 and 12. — Feb. 9, 1996: IRA ends a 17-month cease-fire with a massive truck bomb in London's financial district, killing two. — Feb. 18, 1996: An IRA bomber accidentally kills himself aboard a London double-decker bus, five injured. — June 15, 1996: For first time, IRA targets a different English city — Manchester in the northwest — with a massive truck bomb, wrecking the central shopping area and wounding about 200. — Sept. 20, 2000: IRA dissidents fire rocket-propelled grenaded at headquarters of MI5 security agency. No injuries. I have no doubt that this post will anger many though that is not my intent. I am just trying to make sense of the day's news. Trying to put it into some framework that I can understand. But it's not working.
— Feb. 7, 1991: IRA fires three homemade mortar shells at No. 10 Downing Street, British prime minister's official residence in London. No injuries.
— April 10, 1992: Massive IRA truck bomb in London's financial district kills three and causes hundreds of millions of dollars of damage.
— March, 20, 1993: IRA bomb hidden in garbage can in shopping district of Warrington, northwest England, kills two boys aged 3 and 12.
— Feb. 9, 1996: IRA ends a 17-month cease-fire with a massive truck bomb in London's financial district, killing two.
— Feb. 18, 1996: An IRA bomber accidentally kills himself aboard a London double-decker bus, five injured.
— June 15, 1996: For first time, IRA targets a different English city — Manchester in the northwest — with a massive truck bomb, wrecking the central shopping area and wounding about 200.
— Sept. 20, 2000: IRA dissidents fire rocket-propelled grenaded at headquarters of MI5 security agency. No injuries.
I have no doubt that this post will anger many though that is not my intent. I am just trying to make sense of the day's news. Trying to put it into some framework that I can understand. But it's not working.
I'm just quoting Donna over at SoCal Mom and I'm late to the party as well. So, like Donna, I'm just gonna answer these questions but preface my answers with her words.
BLOG ME SELF-INTERVIEW (See the complete list of questions here.)
When did you start blogging and why? Or Talk about your blog. What can I learn about you in under 5 minutes?
I started blogging about 18 months ago after reading the NY Times article about Mommy Bloggers. Pitifully, before that time I knew little about blogs. I knew they were web logs but didn't truly understood how widespread they were. The only ones I knew how to find were political in nature...until that article. While my kids are grown and my blog is more a granny blog than mommy blog, I was comfortable with the honesty of the younger women and quickly starting reading them daily. Within a week I had my own blog.
How do you use blogging to build friendships?
Certainly it's easy to feel a comfort level with other women through reading their words and this ease makes real-time meetings much easier. It's as though you've already got the "where do you live, how many kids do you have, do you work, are you married" stuff out of the way, clearing the path for much more in-depth fun.
How would you describe your writing style?
Casual, sometimes like a diary and other times a bit more formal. Depends largely upon what I'm writing.
How do you feel about meeting bloggers in real life? Are you nervous? Will you have great expectations? What do you home to take away from the BlogHer experience?
I really am looking forward to meeting a lot of the women whose words I read with regularity. I don't feel nervous about meeting these women, but I do wonder whether or not they'll want to chat to me. I'm the age of most of their mothers. But then I think, hell, my daughter likes talking to me and she's cool. I look forward to becoming more technologically savvy, both in digital photography and in blog formatting, but I also look forward to absorbing some of the wonderful emotional energy of all the younger women.
So soon we’re going to meet each other at BlogHer. Important question. How do you party?Not nearly as enthusiastically pr loudly as I did 20 years ago, but still with some staying power.
"...of some things I am sure..." direct quote from my last post about seeing the above play at the Mermaid in Topanga...how it wouldn't be air conditioned..."of some things I am sure." Over-elipseeeeeed, I know, but it just proved to me, once again, how I know SFA.*
And still no refrigerator. Oh, we continue to use the 'ice box' but we still don't have a proper fridge. And it's 105 flippin' degrees outside. We purchase four 10-lb bags of ice per day and lovingly arrange them to get the biggest chill for the buck. One bag is of purified water ice cubes so we won't die from tainted frozen water. The other bags are encased in multiple white trash bags to contain the melting action that begins the minute we put them in the big white cooler. We've been doing this for over two weeks now and all because the *#$@$*%$%*&@#$ DF owners before us designed their kitchen around a non-standard Amana fridge.
It's been hot in Southern California. Early hot. June Gloom didn't really pan out and this year we had Gray May instead, but back when it was cool and damp my refrigerator was working just fine. Of course I looked at it daily, as I have since I moved in, and quietly thought "You ugly little thing. What in God's name were the previous owners thinking when they had their entire new kitchen designed and built around an old, substandard refrigerator." But I didn't really think it in a cruel way...uh huh. The insane, early heat proved to be too big a challenge for our fridge and I accepted its demise when my granddaughter asked for an ice cream cone last week and as I was getting the Cherry Garcia out of the freezer, inadvertently squeezed it too hard (uh oh, my brain registered, the ice cream's soft), the top popped off and the delicious goo landed all over a little Navajo rug I keep next to the fridge. (That rug has saved many a glass container from shattering when I'm moving in my typically careless way so stop thinking ew, she has a rug in her kitchen). Charlotte looked at the goo on the rug, looked back at me and we carried the rug outside and hosed it down. Relax, the rug is not an antique, but it is one of those Canyon Road specials that look good and are priced high in Santa Fe. I've discovered you can throw it in the washing machine or hose it down. It doesn't care. I like that in a rug.
And he didn't die in prison, but in one of his vacation houses in Colorado. Anyone else remember how his wife cried and cried in front of the camera some years ago at the very thought of losing one of their vacation homes? Thoughtless cow.
Summer colds piss me off...big time. In the winter you can curl up with your duvet in front of the fire. This week the temperature in the daytime has ranged between 89 and 105 and there's nothing like having a cold and feeling hot and sweaty and NOT having a fever. Still, take it from me, it beats cancer...hands down.
And here's what happened.