lurkitty: (proud)
It isn't marriage, but Oregon has survived another assault to its new Domestic Partnership law, set to go into effect on Jan 1. Opponents of the law failed to turn in enough valid signatures to suspend the law and put it in the Nov. 2008 ballot.

Opponents have vowed to continue the fight.
lurkitty: (maneki neko)
My Great Aunt Francis was a flambouyant woman of the sort whose personality preceded her into the room. Everyone, even friends, called her Auntie Francis. Her husband died early in their marriage, perhaps in the war, I don't recall right now, but he left behind a single son, Kenneth.

At a very early age, Kenneth was found to be mentally retarded, in the nomenclature of the era. He could not control his own body. Her friends and some family members urged her to institutionalize him, but Auntie Francis would have none of that, convinced that no one would care for her boy. Living on the inheritance from her husband, she raised Kenneth herself all her life. He was not allowed to go to school, and needed help doing even the most basic things. He could barely talk, and only those accustomed to his slurred vocabulary could understand him. Auntie Francis always knew there was more to him than those who kept telling her to send him away.

When he was in his early teens, someone gave him a typewriter to play with. Instead of gibberish, Kenneth started typing words. To everyone's surprise, except Auntie Francis, Kenneth was literate. Beneath his palsied body was a brain appropriate to his age. He wasn't mentally retarded at all. He had cerebral palsy. The typewriter allowed him to finally express all the thoughts that had been locked away for years.

My mother corresponded with her cousin by letter for the rest of his life. She found him delightfully witty and possessed of a dry humor she adored. She sent him books and magazines and they discussed them.

In today's news, I came upon an article that made me really think. I have no answer for this situation. The mother of a 13 year old girl with cerebral palsy wants to get the girl a hysterectomy. The parents say the girl would not understand periods, cramps and mood swings. How do they know?

On the other hand, I consider my hysterectomy one of the best things that happened to me. I didn't want children, and it was causing me far too much pain with the endometriosis. The surgeons were overcautious in my case and unnecessarily delayed my surgery because they thought 25 was "too young" for a hysterectomy and I'd regret it when I wanted children. I am not in agreement with the prevailing attitude that women are baby-making machines and that every woman's highest goal in life is to produce a parasite from her loins.

C'mon, people, let's look at this scientifically. Instead of making it an emotional issue about taking away "her right" to decide, what is the real issue?

Looking at it as a practical matter, the parents are probably right: she would be far better off without the monthly cramps and periods. Her doctor should assess whether she could, physically, carry a baby. On that basis, a hysterectomy would be kinder than monthlies. If there is a possibility that, given a treatment for cerebral palsy in the future, she could recover the muscles to make a baby, then refrain.
lurkitty: (maneki neko)
I am wearing my red shirt today.

The Sidney Morning Herald has a story from an Australian eyewitness of the military crackdown on protesters that took place yesterday in Rangoon.

In another SMH article Myanmar officials claims that the countrywide interruption in internet services has been due to a damaged underwater cable. Troops have sealed off the center of Rangoon with barbed wire.

Even Forbes is reporting in the internet crackdown.

The International Herald Tribune reports that a single Facebook group on Burma has attracted some 100,000 members in less than 10 days in an expression of internet solidarity.

A review of satellite images (download) by the American Association for the Advancement of Science reveal the effects of the junta's program of ethnic cleansing. More details in the Timesonline article.

Please join us in a community created by [livejournal.com profile] mijan: [livejournal.com profile] the_world_prays as we send good thoughts and prayers for Burma.
lurkitty: (Pogo)
The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that troops in Rangoon opened fire after protesters hurled rocks and bottles at them, killing a reported 10 individuals, one of whom is reported to have been a Japanese reporter.

Recall the warning that police might use the tactic of dressing up as protesters? How can anyone know who threw the stones?

The junta has now raided the monasteries in Rangoon and have imprisoned some 500 monks, as well as closing the Shwedagon Pagoda.

Democracy Now! is reporting this morning that cybercafes and mobile phones are being shut down in an attempt to stem the flow of videos and blog information about the protest.

They are also reporting that China has effectively blocked any UN action on the situation in Burma.

A burmese blog in Rangoon with video of soldiers shooting in the background.

This Burmese blogger has not updated since the 24th.

There is a movement on to Wear Red for Burma this Friday (tomorrow). Please pass it on.
lurkitty: (Pogo)
I am keeping an eye on Myanmar. Something of great, but ultimately harsh beauty is occurring. Buddhist monks have lead a peaceful protest march across the country, formerly known as Burma, in opposition to a crackdown by the ruling military junta.

The ranks of the march have swelled to in excess of 100,000, some reporting 150,000.
Over 10,000 monks met and prayed with political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi Saturday. Sources report, however, that she was transferred to Insein prison on Sunday.

The last time such a protest was launched, in 1988, the Burmese government opened fire on the protesters, killing three thousand or more.

Curfews have now been imposed on the cities of Rangoon and Mandalay. The government is threatening the use of military force to break up the protest.

Some fear that soldiers will repeat a trick used in the past; shaving their heads and masquerading as monks, they will start throwing bricks at government forces, giving soldiers the excuse they need to open fire once again.

The lesson from Myanmar is one of fierce grace. The protesters know they may die in this attempt, but democracy is so precious to them that hundreds of thousands are willing to die in the attempt to attain it.

We in the United States are so fearful of dying that we have allowed our government to erode our democracy to the extent that we sit idly by as a student gets tasered for speaking his mind, that we sheepishly allow the government to collect records on what we read, who we call, who we sit next to on a plane, what we carry in our suitcases and where we go. We allow our government to declare anyone, even a citizen, an enemy combatant without benefit of trial and strip them of the most basic constitutional right, that of habeus corpus.

How do we, as a country, lose our complacency and reclaim the idea of democracy as something to die for? Our soldiers have certainly internalized this ideal. It's time we rose to our duty as well, as have the monks of Myanmar.

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