Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label racism. Show all posts

Mar 31, 2009

About the Times' latest hachet job

On the last post I wrote about Pamela Izevbekhai, a troll posted the following

Basically Pamela Izevbekhai made it all up. I eagerly await your retraction and apology for misleading your readers.

Fuckwit was not even classy enough to use a pseudonym. Coward.

Anyway back to the point. This weekend allegations, declarations et al have come out about what a lying bitch Izevbekhai is. Most of the discourse is around her alleged lies and it is generally polite enough for people to tut-tut around talking about immigrants are cheating the system. The newspapers don't come out and basically say that we have taken back our Céad Míle Fáilte and that the only foreigners welcome here are whites from other rich countries, but it is the undercurrent in all the discussions. The facade is dropped on bulletin boards where racism and petty self interest dominate the conversation. Ireland has become a nation of spineless right wing bigots. It's disgusting. We are now officially exempt for playing the "Irish" card.

This rag revealed the shocking "truth"

Izevbekhai said she only discovered the documents were fake on Friday when her husband, who is living in Nigeria, admitted they were bogus.

He said he had been forced to obtain fake documents because Dr Joseph Unokanjo, an obstetrician, had refused to supply papers and medical reports without a substantial payment. Unokanjo has denied this.

The documents, including a death certificate and “statements” from Izevbekhai’s family doctor in Nigeria, were obtained from a counterfeiter.

“They were sent to me by my husband after I arrived in Ireland,” she said. “If I had known the documents were fake, I would have done things differently. I wouldn’t have put myself or the children through this kind of thing. I now regret taking the case. I am so sorry.”

Firstly, to this

Nigeria's minister for justice has offered to testify in an Irish court against Nigerian citizens who claim political asylum on the grounds they will be forced to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) if deported.

I call bullshit. There are plenty of child rights and human rights organisations that have research to show that between 20 to 45% of female children are subjected to FGC (region dependent). There are no clear statistics but various sources cite one third of cases are fatal and an additional 40% have serious long term consequences. There is a real threat to Izevbekhai's two daughters

Then there is the "they only want to sponge of the Irish welfare system" argument, which fails on two counts. The first is difficulty of travel to Ireland with two daughters.

She says she paid criminals to smuggle her to Ireland via the Netherlands. Immigration officials suspect that she travelled to Britain on a holiday visa before coming to Dublin to claim political asylum.

aka human traffickers who literally make money out of other people's misery. Parents are not in the habit of exposing their children to exploitation and physical danger without a damn good reason.

The other aspect is the financial component. According the UN Human Rights Office

Gender inequalities play a key role in the persistent poverty levels of women in Nigeria. Statistics show that the incidence of poverty using the rate of US $1 per day increased from 28.1 percent in 1980 to 46.3 percent in 1985 and declined to 42.7 percent in 1992 but increased again to 65.6 percent in 1996. The incidence increased to 69.2 percent in 1997. The 2004 report by the National Planning Commission indicates that poverty has decreased to 54.4 percent. Nigeria fares very poorly in all development indices. The average annual percentage growth of GDP in Nigeria from 1990 -2000 was 2.4. This is very poor. Poverty in Nigeria is in the midst of plenty. Although there has been steady economic growth in the last few years, the benefits have not been evenly distributed amongst men and women.

Nigeria is a developing country. Most women are poor - very poor. Pamela Izevbekhai was not poor. She is in fact the Nigerian equivalent of middle class D4 (roysh).

She worked hard from the time she left her Irish convent school, until she left her position in a major bank to flee to Ireland. Leaving behind her pretty comfortable and spacious home, complete with house keeper, as well as her beloved husband Tony and her only son Adrian. She speaks to both all the time on the phone, yet has not been allowed to see them for the three years she has been seeking protection in Ireland.

Izevbekhai had a job, a stable family and a nice house. She left her home, husband and son to save her daughters. This is not a decision that anyone takes lightly. She is not here to "sponge" off our welfare system. She is protecting her daughters.

And now we come to what Fuckwit was referring too, the "shocking" newspaper article that revealed her documentation was forged. All I can say is "no shit Sherlock". I've actually lived in a developing country much like Nigeria. It can take six months to get a piece of paper. It takes less that $1 to bribe a policeman. You can a driving licence, a diploma or a gun in the fucking market for fuck sake. If you think our bureaucracy is bad, go to a developing country and queue up for three damn days to get a stamp on a piece of paper and take at least a $20 in your pocket. This is the reality. Also it would be damn easy to get an official to testify that genuine papers are forged - just slip hir a $20. The FFers and their brown envelops have nothing on developing world bureaucracy in a supposedly democratic state that is actually run by crooked natural resource pillagers.

Philip Boucher Hayes, head of RTÉ's Radio Investigative Unit, was on the Gerry Ryan show on 2FM on Friday because of his investigation of the case.

Philip Boucher-Hayes, the RTE broadcaster who conducted the radio interview, said he had no doubt that he spoke to an obstetrician. “I got the number independently and was put through by the switchboard to Dr Unokanjo,” he said.

Asked whether he has any doubts about the identity of the interviewee, he said: “It wasn’t a face-to-face interview so you can never say 100%. But when I rang back after the interview one of the hospital staff warned me not to call again as the doctor had been visited by a Nigerian army captain.

“I have no doubt the dread hand of the Nigerian authorities intervened in this.”

Boucher-Hayes has sworn an affidavit supporting Izevbekhai’s claims for her legal case. The Department of Justice may be forced to grant Izevbekhai permission to remain in Ireland anyway as she could face danger if deported to Nigeria, whose government has taken a dim view of the attention her case has attracted.

... Unokanjo denied yesterday that he was ever interviewed by RTE Radio, and gardai are satisfied that the “Nigerian doctor” who featured in the RTE interviews is not him.

“Nobody has interviewed me. I never gave an interview to a radio or television organisation in Dublin, Ireland, or outside Nigeria,” Unokanjo said. He refused to answer any further questions unless a fee of €5,000 was paid.

Wow, who to believe? The gardaí who travelled to Lagos and believed the politicial who told they that there is no FGC in Nigeria or the journalist with the experience in gathering information in difficult places like Kosovo, Israel, Iran and Iraq.

The UN have this to say about human rights in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, extra judicial killings are still perpetrated by security officials with impunity. There are reports of many unexplained disappearances of persons held in police detention. The police authorities hardly take disciplinary action against officers who perpetrate these crimes and this has helped to perpetuate it. Apart from instances such as the celebrated Apo six extrajudicial- killings in Abuja which was initially refuted by the police, cases of extra-judicial, summary and arbitrary executions are hardly documented, investigated and prosecuted by the police.

... The consequence has been increasing use of torture by law enforcement agents as official means of investigation of offences. Most cases in court are prosecuted by the police based on 'confessions' obtained under circumstances of torture from accused persons. The only thing the court can do in such circumstances is to conduct a 'trial within a trial' to find out whether such evidence was obtained by torture to enable it decide whether to admit or reject the evidence. However, incidents of torture also take place at the domestic sphere, leading to life threatening outcomes against vulnerable groups such as women, children and the physically challenged. Such inhuman and degrading treatments are as a result of obnoxious cultural practices that are still practiced to date in society.

... In discharging th[eir] responsibilities the police very often, infringe on the right to liberty of persons, by arresting and detaining them longer than is allowed by law. In many cases, suspects are detained under inhuman conditions at poorly maintained detention facilities.

... At independence, successive Nigerian governments, (especially during the long military era) adopted the old colonial style of repressing the press. This frequently involved severe measures such as the arbitrary closure of newspaper houses as well as unlawful arrests and detention of media practitioners. There are cases of unresolved murder of prominent journalists, while some were forced to go on exile by governments who felt they were a threat to them.

... Competition for allocation of political and scarce national economic resources has often led to violent clashes. Most communal conflicts always occur along ethnic and religious fault -lines. Sometimes, there is a convergence of ethnicity and religion.

... The government, except in few cases, does not prosecute perpetrators of communal violence, though sometimes, it pays compensation to victims. Where security officers fall victims of communal clashes, such security agencies often carry out revenge killings against the community (ies) where such incidents occur, as happened in Odi (Bayelsa State) and Zaki-Biam (Benue State)during the last administration. Erring officers who perpetrate revenge killings and destruction are hardly investigated or prosecuted

Oh yeah that's a government who could intimidate a doctor into silence. That's a government that can assure the gardaí that there is no FGC in Nigeria. That's a government that murders civilians. That's the government Times hack believes. That's the government that the Irish government believe.

I don't know what her situation is but I do know that Nigeria has a repressive dictatorial government. I know that FGC is widespread in Nigeria. I know that Izevbekhai left a comfortable middle class life to come to a country where she knew no one and was subjected to daily racism. I am inclined to believe her

Feb 26, 2009

WOC carnival

Want to read some great posts, check out Renee's Tell it - WOC speak

Welcome everyone to what I hope will be the first of many blog carnivals dedicated to the voices of women of colour and our allies. In every sphere of life women of colour are marginalized and exploited. Often, when we attempt to engage to change our circumstances we are silenced. This carnival is our attempt to give voice to our shared issues. We have a strong history of activism and organizing and it is in this vein that we have chosen this space to highlight the various ways we have attempted to carve out a niche in the online world. We shall not be silenced, and our dreams shall be realized. We are women of quality and worth.

Rape is cheaper than bullets

The words sound like an advert, promoting rape. The article in the Guardian makes the argument that

if it's offensive then that is nothing compared to what hundreds of thousands of women and girls are suffering in conflict zones around the world.

But what good is throwing a third of women who see that poster under the bus to raise awareness? What is the good in advertising rape? It doesn't help the girls and women suffering in conflict zones. Presumably this is a donate campaign. But the willingness of Amnesty to trample of the feelings of the 1 in 3 women who have been raped, makes me less inclined to donate.

As for the poster itself it is offensive yes but not offensive in a manner that would change attitudes. If I thought that the poster could do something, anything to relieve the suffering of women and girls in the conflict zone I would shout it from the rooftops. I'm all about ending violence towards women. I am all for ending rape (been raped twice myself) but this campaign looks like it is offering a viable alternative to purchasing bullets. Not many people read the fine print.

Amnesty is willing to trigger a third of the female population to advertise what appears to be monetary saving for arms dealers. Doesn't sound like much of a human rights organisation to me.

I was a communications professional before depression and I worked in a developing world country in Asia with high incidence of rape and domestic abuse. This campaign would have contributed less than nothing to those women and girls. I'm all for raising awareness and pouring money into campaigns but this is irresponsible and offensive.

h/t Cara

Feb 6, 2009

Kevin Myers - now available in racist and sexist!

Kevin Myers is out again in fine form adding sexism to his standard racism. Why is this guy still getting published? It's amazing that once again this piece was approved by the Sindo editors. Aren't there laws against this kinda thing? This piece is almost a year old but the fate of Pamela Izevbekhai's daughters still hangs in the balance.

Myers begins by comparing male circumcision and female genital mutilation

I will give you the background to this column in the presumption that you do not know it, and the reason you don't is that the victim at its centre did not possess a vulva.

Instead, he owned a penis, and so neither our media, nor our political classes, took any interest in his fate. Had he been a girl, you know that the mob of the usual suspects -- Amnesty International, the Council for the Status of Women, the Equality Commission, Aunt Thomasina and all -- would have been trumpeting condemnations of the affair.

Is Myers making the point that "the mob of the usual suspects" are wrong in seeking justice for victims of torture? Sounds like a classic "what about the menz" argument. Taking a single example of a horrific crime and comparing it to a systematic abuse of millions of women is abhorrent. Myers is forgetting perhaps, that one in three women is a victim of gender based violence, that rapists in this country are given light sentences and that in the case of rape the female survivor's character is assassinated.

Two-and-half-years ago, a Nigerian idiot named Osagie Igbinidion was found not guilty of the reckless endangerment of life, after a little boy he circumcised, 29-day-old Callis Osajhae, bled to death. The trial judge, Kevin Haugh, told the jury not to bring their "white, western values" to bear upon their deliberations. Describing the case as a clash between two cultures, he added: "This is a relatively recent matter that Ireland will have to deal with now that we have a significant migrant population. You are not asked whether this form of procedure is acceptable in Ireland. If you start thinking on those lines, you are doing Mr Igbinidion a great injustice."

Just one commentator in the media remarked upon this extraordinary case, in which a man walked free from a court having sexually mutilated and mortally wounded a little boy. Me. I wrote: " . . . had the dead child been female, I believe that no jury would have been told not to bring their white, western values to bear on the case -- or if they had been, we may equally be sure that the judge would not be dangling from the nearest lamp-post . . ."

I do not know what that fine fellow Osagie Igbinidion is doing today.

He has not, to my knowledge, and considerable regret, been deported -- nor has he been issued with a court order compelling him to desist from his merry trade (he is a fourth generation circumciser; ah the joys of multiculturalism). So it is as legal to chop little boys' penises off today as it was then, and if they die as a consequence, the judicial advice rings down the years, not to bring our "white western values" into the case.

But when the infant in question is a girl, then those white, western values are suddenly all we care about; hence the uproar over Pamela Izevbekhai and her two daughters. She is challenging a deportation order to Nigeria, for fear that the girls might be circumcised upon their return, and alleges that another daughter, Elizabeth, aged 18 months, died in 1994 from blood loss after being circumcised.

What happened to Callis Osajhae is tragic. That baby is an innocent victim. Osagie Igbinidion should obviously be in prison since he killed a child. Why is Myers not blaming the judge? Why is Myers not campaigning for justice for Callis? Why is Myers making a horrific comparison between a tragic fuckup and the systematic mutilation of female babies? Why has Myers not pointing out that male circumcision is part of western culture too and that the "it's Nigerian culture" excuse doesn't fly? Why doesn't Myers get his head out of his arse?

It is vital to make the distinction. Male circumcision is the removal of the foreskin that is normally not life threatening and circumcised men enjoy a fully functional sex life post operation. Many Irish male babies are circumcised. It does not impede normal bodily functions or cause lifelong pain.

Female genital mutilation is an attempt to cut a girl so severely that she can never enjoy sex. It is designed to enforce chastity. It is traumatic, painful and defined as torture. There are four types of mutilation

  • Type I is the excision of the clitoral hood with or without removal of all or part of the clitoris.
  • Type II is the excision of the clitoris together with part or all of the labia minora
  • Type III is the excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening, leaving a very small opening, about the size of a matchstick, to allow for the flow of urine and menstrual blood. The girl or woman’s legs are generally bound together from the hip to the ankle so she remains immobile for approximately 40 days to allow for the formation of scar tissue.
  • Type IV includes the introduction of corrosive substances into the vagina.

All this is done without anesthesia. It is a violation of human rights and is done without consent.

Well, allegedly; a court hearing earlier this year was told that the attending doctor had diagnosed the death "as being possibly the result of the traditional female circumcision" which had been performed on the girl. Possibly, eh? And that girl was 18 months old, 14 years ago. But her two surviving daughters had not been circumcised by the time they left Nigeria in 2005, when they were aged approximately two and four years of age, respectively.

Girls are systematically cut between the ages of 4 and 8 but it can happen at any time from infancy to puberty. Calling it circumcision is disingenuous. It is not circumcision as our "white, western values" define it. For more information watch this but it does contain disturbing images.

Female circumcision is very common in Nigeria, but it is not mandatory, and is usually done at the mother's instigation -- which is unlikely to be the case here. Either way, our "white, western values" are properly affronted and appalled by the very notion of removing a girl's vulva; so these may be invoked to protect a girl from genital mutilation. They cannot, however, be invoked to protect a boy either from genital mutilation, or from the death which results when the bugling Nigerian cretin with the knife accidentally kills him.

Done at the mother's instigation? Pamela Izevbekhai is trying to prevent it from happening to her daughters, Naomi and Jemima. She has already lost one daughter to this practice.

There are many ancillary questions to this little affair. How did Pamela Izevbekhai manage to get from Nigeria to Ireland? En route, how many countries did she pass through where they don't have female circumcision? Why did she choose here as a refuge from the barbaric circumcisers of Nigeria, and not somewhere closer to home?


As for my own opinions on the matter, well, on the one hand the family has settled in Sligo, so a large part of me thinks they should be allowed to stay. But what if we are being duped? What if a baseless threat of circumcision is being falsely used to enable the Izevbekhais to stay?

And even if it's not, are we to be the refuge for every single Nigerian or Somalia or Chadean or Kuwaiti woman who wants to avoid genital mutilation? So all they have to do is get here, allege that if they go home they'll be circumcised, and then we must give them asylum: is that it? And if we don't, are we then to get the self-appointed cranks from Residents Against Racism accusing us of being racist, and then RAR will be rewarded with their usual quota of headlines?

Is Myers trying to float the idea that torturing girls is a baseless threat? That we should not be doing everything we can for people who are under threat of mutilation? That is truly disgusting.

As someone who has repeatedly suffered from gender based violence I say fuck you Myers.

Meanwhile, the asylum-seekers' little sons can still lawfully be genitally mutilated, right here in Ireland-of-the-Sisters, and maybe even die, because apparently that's part of Nigerian culture. And naturally, not one of our feminist-dominated quangos will utter a word of condemnation.

Marvellous, bloody marvellous.

Myers compares a judge's decision to a feminist takeover perhaps because it's the only way for him to stand up for the son of one asylum seeker and condemn the daughters of another. Truly classless Myers.

Jan 31, 2009

Ireland's shame

Ireland is planning to deport a mother and her two daughters. Nothing unusual about that. Ireland does it every day. What is different about this case is that the two girls will be tortured if returned to their country of origin. Ireland is still set on deportation.

Pamela Izevbekhai has already lost a daughter to Female Genital Mutilation. FGM is considered torture by Manfred Nowak UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.

To those ascribe to the notion that Ireland has no business getting involved, watch Razor's Edge if you can bear to. It contains violent and disturbing images. Otherwise listen to Pamela's story in her own words.

The Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, former Minister for Foreign Affairs will not intervene.

From Amnesty

International refugee law demands that any appeal process in a refugee case should include an examination of the merits of the individual case and all relevant facts including new and newly available information.

“If returned these children may be forcibly subjected to the human rights atrocity that is female genital mutilation. The State of Nigeria by its own admission simply cannot protect them, nor guarantee their safety through relocating them elsewhere,” continued Mr O’Gorman.

Nigeria’s own report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in 2006 admitted that enforcement of laws prohibiting FGM was ‘negligible’. It also acknowledged that almost one in three Nigerian girls are subject to female genital mutilation.

“The focus now shifts to Justice Minister Dermot Ahern,” said Mr O’Gorman. “It is still within his power to grant the family leave to remain.

“We call on him to do so as a matter of absolute urgency.”

Two young girls are going to be tortured if they are deported and Ireland is planning to deport them. I hope the European Court of Human Rights can overturn this shameful decision.

More information here