5/9/9/ Nawruz and Mother's Day by Nesreen Melek ... and more

digest note:
The brutal oppression of women, and genocidal national oppression fueled by its ideological engine racism, are foundational, systemic pillars of white amerikan male supremacist capitalism. Only revolutionary uprooting can prepare the soil for creating genuine socialist liberation through our struggles against oppression, for justice. Because U.S. imperialist zionism, chief world dominator and destroyer, covers its barbaric global crimes with psychological warfare beyond goebbels. seductive promises and rewards for allegiance to its fascist state, we in its 'homeland' have particular responsibility for resisting this #1 enemy of humanity, to finally stand firmly in solidarity and struggle with our sisters and brothers whom we have abandoned - on every continent, every country, in every corner of society - women "holding up half the sky", mothers or not, in leading in the struggle for liberation.

Nawruz and Mother's Day
Nesreen Melek

Six years ago I was sitting on the same couch watching their shock and owe bombing on my beloved country. I asked myself what anology they would use for Baghdad and other cities this time. In the early nineties, a CNN reporter covering the Gulf war reported that Baghdad looked like a Christmas tree. Six years ago, when they started their war, it was too late for Christmas... it was spring, a season of fertility, but for Iraqis it was a season of death.

I felt like as I was watching a horror movie; I was watching but not believing that the American government could be so brutal. There were no weapons of mass destructions, Iraq was not responsible for 9/11 and Iraqis didn’t cause any harm to the American people. I knew it was about the oil and was not about the Iraqi people. American people didn’t care about the Iraqis. The American government pushed the United Nations to impose ten years or economic sanctions on Iraq which caused the death of more than one million Iraqi children.

The horror continued, and I kept asking myself what had we done to them to hate us that much? What was wrong with them? Did they have hearts? What had we done to be punished that way?

I knew that there were people against this ugly war but they could not do anything. I kept asking myself, why would Americans allow their government to kill innocent people in their names? The people could stop this ugly war... But nothing stopped their hatred against my people...

Rallies were held, I attended them all, people stretched out their arms to reach mine and apologized for the American acts against my own people. People wiped my tears, hugged me and I cried on strangers’ shoulders knowing that the destruction would continue and so would be the killing. I knew that they had their plan to destroy Iraq.

Life went on and I was part of it knowing that in Iraq there was a child who could not sleep because he/she was scared from the continuous bombing, there were women who lost their beloved ones and that there was fear in the hearts of each Iraqi because of the daily bombing and the daily killing..

I was speechless when I watched the looting of the Iraqi museum. My sister called me from the States early in the morning that day but we could not say a word to each other. We were both mourning our losses...we were mourning the death of the cradle of civilization on the hands of barbarians..

Nights and days passed, each day the damage and the pain was bigger than the day before..

The American president who orchestrated this war kept talking about how democracy will be spread in Iraq, not mentioning that his troop spread their poisonous hatred on the fertile Iraqi soil

Iraqi prisoners were dragged on the floor in the name of their democracy, women were raped in the name of the democracy, children lost their parents in the name of their democracy, men were killed in the name of their democracy, palm trees were burnt in the name of their democracy, deceased were eaten in loose dogs in the name of their democracy, people left their country in the name of their democracy, scientist were killed in the name of their democracy, yet the American people couldn’t stop their government’s atrocities against the Iraqi civilians.

Americans celebrated each and every occasion. None of these occasions meant anything to me anymore. The last occasion they celebrated was Valentine day.. I asked myself, if they did not feel for the Iraqi children who were killed in their names how could they care about each other...

I felt speechless in so many occasions, until I started expressing myself through written words.. Now I feel that I’ve used all the words and I have no more words left. I can’t cry anymore, the pain in my heart has reached its peak, I feel numbness spreading over my body..

During my last visit to Baghdad, I realized how much Iraqis had lost. There was no life in their eyes, nothing excites them anymore, as they had lost interest in living. Even the children I saw looked different, there was no happiness on their eyes there was only fear.

A few days ago, was the first day of spring, it was Nawruz.. It is spring in Baghdad, the orange trees must be full of Kaddah (Orange tree flowers) and there is no better smell than the smell of the Iraqi Kaddah.. It smells like Jasmine flowers but stronger.. In Iraq, it is mother's day.. I hope that I can make necklaces from this Kaddah, give it to all Iraqi mothers who suffered from the continuous brutality of the world, I wish I can give an orange seeds to the Iraqi children so they can to plant them. My tears, yours and others shall pour like rain on these seeds hoping that there will be good days to come. ..

u.s. capitalism spreads its profoundly misogynist, white male supremacist democracy --- 'liberation' ---- around the world
The Feminist Majority Foundation has objected to the U.S. Department of State's decision to award part of a $10 million grant to an anti-feminist group, the Independent Women's Forum for "leadership training, democracy education and coalition building assistance" to women in Iraq. The IWF, which was created initiall to defend Clarence Thomas against charges of sexual harassmen during his U.S. Supreme Court nomination hearings, says that it mission is to counter "the dangerous influence of radical feminism.” It will be working in Iraq with the American Islamic Conference and the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies think-tank
More web links related to this story are available at:

US Erases Women’s Rights in Iraq
By Ghali Hassan
October 7, 2005
Prior to the arrival of U.S. forces, Iraqi women were free to go wherever they wish and wear whatever they like. The 1970 Iraqi constitution, gave Iraqi women equity and liberty unmatched in the Muslim World. Since the U.S. invasion, Iraqi women’s rights have fallen to the lowest level in Iraq’s history. Under the new U.S.-crafted constitution, which will be put to referendum on the 15 October while the bloodbath mounts each day, women’s rights will be oppressed and the role of women in Iraqi society will be curtailed and relegated to the caring for “children and the elderly”.
Immediately after the invasion, the U.S. embarked on cultivating friendships with religious groups and clerics. The aim was the complete destruction of nationalist movements, including women’s rights movements, and replacing them with expatriate religious fanatics and criminals piggybacked from Iran, the U.S. and Britain. In the mean time the U.S. moved to liquidate any Iraqi opposition or dissent to the Occupation.

The creation of paramilitary death squads – from the SCIRI and Al- Da’wa militias – tied to the current puppet government and Iran have been terrorising Iraq’s secular communities and assassinating large number of prominent Iraqi politicians and professionals (see Robert Dreyfuss - Death Squads and Diplomacy). By using one group against the other, the US is dancing to the ongoing violence and the prospect of civil strife, while its corporations are siphoning off Iraqi resources and assets.

During his stint in Baghdad as the U.S. Proconsul, L. Paul Bremer often appeared with pro-Occupation women groups to foster the myth that the U.S is “liberating Muslim women”, while at the same time signing laws that were detrimental to women’s rights. Like George Bush and Tony Blair, Paul Bremer is no feminist, but he used feminism’s rhetoric to enforce Western imperialism. “Whether in the hands of patriarchal men or feminists, the idea of feminism essentially functioned to morally justify the attack[s] on native societies and to support the notion of comprehensive superiority of Europe [and America]”, wrote Leila Ahmad, professor of women’s studies and an expert on gender at Harvard University. Hence, feminism serves as the “handmaid of colonialism”, added Ahmed.

Since March 2003, Iraqi women have been brutally attacked, kidnapped and intimidated from participating in Iraqi society. The generation-old equality and liberty laws have been, replaced by Middle Ages laws that strip women of their rights and put them in the same oppressive life as women in Afghanistan, the nation which the U.S. invaded to “liberate” its oppressed women. The 1970 Iraqi constitution is not only the most progressive constitution in the Muslim World, but also the most equal. Iraqis were mentioned only as “citizens”, and Iraqi women’s rights were specifically protected.

In December 2003, the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) – constituted mostly of the current puppet government – approved resolution 137, which will replace Iraq’s 1959 Personal Status Laws with religious law to be administered by conservative religious clerics from different religious groups with different interpretation of Islamic laws. The laws could affect women’s rights to education, employment, and freedom of movement, divorce, children custody and inheritance. The 55-member Constitutional Committee, who allegedly drafted – under the American radar – the new constitution, is only 17 per cent women. Like the January elections, the drafting of the constitution was undemocratic and lack public participation. Amid the escalation of violence, Iraqis are asked to vote on a constitution they do not understand. Many Iraqis believe “the new constitution weakens the state and strengthens religion within the government”, which can be used to suppress people’s rights and freedom in general and women’s rights in particular. Its main purpose is to legitimise the Occupation and the puppet government. Iraqis, women in particular do not need a constitution; they need peace and security.

Under previous governments, “Iraqi women have enjoyed some of the most modern legal protections in the Muslim world, under a civil code that prohibits marriage below the age of 18, arbitrary divorce and male favouritism in child custody and property inheritance disputes”, as accurately described by Pamela Constable of the Washington Post. “Saddam did not touch those rights, but the U.S.-appointed IGC have voted to wipe them out”, added Pamela Constable. It is noteworthy that due to women’s participation in the Iraqi society, modern Iraq was an important cultural powerhouse before the invasion. It exported education, including arts and sciences to the rest of the Arab World.

Sadly, no where Iraqi women have been more betrayed than among women groups in the Middle East. When Karen Hughes, the Undersecretary of State and Bush’s personal confident went to friendly Middle East dictatorships to sale the war and lecture them on women’s rights. Her trip was dominated by friendly meetings with audiences filled with U.S.-friendly women and groups who received U.S. funding and consisted mostly of exchange students. Shameful as it was, these Arab women had no concern for the suffering of their sisters in Iraq, and remain silent despite the oppression they endure themselves under despotic regimes.

Only among Turkish women the opposition to the war has been apparent even before the occupation. When Hughes went to Turkey, Turkish women turned the table around and lectured her on women’s rights and democracy. According to the Washington Post, Fatma Nevin Vargun, a Turkish women's rights activist told Hughes; “War makes the rights of women completely erased and poverty comes after war -- and women pay the price”. Vargun has also denounced the arrest of Cindy Sheehan...

Today, many Iraqi women have been abused, tortured and raped by U.S. forces. A large number of Iraqi women are still in U.S.-run prisons without charge and without access to lawyer. Two prominent Iraqi female scientists, Dr. Rihab Rashid Taha, a biologist and Dr. Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, a microbiologist are still imprisoned without charge since the invasion. Former UN chief inspectors – David Kay and Hans Blix – have questioned the continued detention of Iraqi scientists, including the two female scientists, by US forces.

The continued detention of Iraqi scientists without charge and incommunicado appears to violate international law, said the human rights group, Amnesty International. “Women have been subjected to sexual threats by members of the U.S.-led forces and some women detained by U.S. forces have been sexually abused, possibly raped”, added Amnesty International in its February 2005 report. Given Amnesty International interest in the treatment of prisoners and prison conditions, one would expect Amnesty International to be more vocal than just paying lip service.

“There are no lawyers allowed for the detainees and no information is given about the reason or the evidence surrounding the detentions, Amal Kadhum Swadi, a prominent lawyer in Baghdad, told the WTI in Istanbul, Turkey. “In the process, Iraqi women are being raped. One woman was bleeding for three months and the raping continued. There was no health service. The media does not mention these facts or the fact that all of Iraq has become a prison”, added Swadi. Indeed, there are more prisons in Iraq today than at any time in Iraq’s history.

Indeed, Western mainstream media, Western propagandists, and women movements are deliberately concentrating on the role of Islam in the new constitution, ignoring the Occupation as the main violator of Iraqi women’s rights. Iraq has been a secular society for generations. Iraqi women are more literal with their Islam than any of the surrounding dictatorships who alleged to live according to Islamic laws. Since the U.S. Occupation, Iraqi women started to cover their heads which is continuously promoted in Western media as the face of oppressed Iraqi women. On the contrary, the percentage of Iraqi women in traditional wear was miniscule before the invasion. The brutality of the U.S. Occupation and the violent nature of the US military created the right conditions for the current violence against women.

All evidence shows that violence has increased dramatically since the invasion, because it served the U.S. main objective. “Several [Iraqi] politicians [in the puppet government] have actually suggested that the U.S. is involved in the sectarian killings in Iraq; encouraging sectarian strife with the aim of weakening the Iraqi nation and destabilizing the country, which would justify extending its military presence there”, reported Al-Jazeera on 04 October 2005.

U.S.-instigated violence and the miserable living conditions created by the Occupation have forced Iraqi women to lock themselves in their homes. And even in their homes, Iraqi women are less safe today than before the invasion. U.S. forces and their collaborators continue to raid, Iraqi homes days and nights, accompanied by terror and human rights abuses of Iraqi women and their families. Iraqi women are arrested, detained, abused and tortured not because of anything they have done, but to force their close relatives (spouses, sons and brothers) to collaborate with the Occupation and inform against the Resistance fighting to defend their people and Iraq’s independence.

The U.S. is not the “guardian” of human rights, as many Americans still living with this fallacy; the U.S. has become the opposite, a creator of misery and injustice. The American people should be made a ware of the path their nation is taking, and the crimes it is committing in their name against innocent people around the world.

What ever Americans think of their nation and the crimes their government committing against innocent people, “for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world, [the torture and abuses of human rights] will serve as a reminder of America’s unyielding sadism against those who have the misfortune of living under its occupation”, wrote Dr. Joseph Massad of Columbia University in New York. “The [Occupation] proves that the content of the word[s] ‘freedom’ [and “liberty”] that American politicians and propagandists want to impose on the rest of the world [are] nothing more and nothing less than America’s violent domination, racism, torture, sexual humiliation, and the rest of it”, added Dr. Massad. The U.S. Occupation of Iraq proves that freedom and liberty were not the words the United States was founded upon.

Palestinian Mothers: Homage to Steadfastness and Sacrifice
Reham Alhelsi
...In Palestine mothers are sacred. Every one of us has several mothers: the mother that gave birth to us, the olive tree, the land and the mother of all: Palestine. And a Palestinian mother isn’t just a mother to the children she gives birth to, she is mother to all Palestinians. When a Palestinian is being arrested by the IOF, women of all ages will be surrounding the soldiers within seconds, trying to free the prisoner. And for that, sometimes they pay a heavy price, like the 60 year old Mariam Ayyad from Abu Dees. On the night of 20th of September 2008, IOF soldiers broke into her house. After arguing with her, the old woman was repeatedly hit and thrown on the ground by the soldiers until she died in front of her children and grandchildren. During curfews, it is mostly women who would move carefully from one house corner to another and from one street to the other and distribute wheat and milk. When young masked men wanted to go from one place to another, they would be assisted by these mothers, who would check that the roads were clear of IOF soldiers. And when one of their millions of children gets killed by the IOF, they all gather and mourn as one single mother, that it becomes difficult to figure out which one of these mothers is the martyr’s mother. They are the protectors, the helpers and the witnesses of Israeli brutality, for many of them not only carry the pain of losing their children, they carry the scars of more than 60 years of Zionist terror and destruction.

During the Nakba of 1948, Zionist terrorists massacred Palestinians indiscriminately. Even women and children, who are protected during wars under all human laws, were killed in a brutal way. Accounts of the Deir Yassin massacre mention that among the 254 Palestinians victims were 25 pregnant women who were bayoneted in the abdomen while still alive. Another 52 children were maimed in front of their mothers before having their heads cut off by the Zionist terrorists. After the village of Beit Darras had been surrounded by Zionist terror groups and further Zionist mobilization was on the way to occupy the village, the Zionist terror groups called on the Palestinian residents to leave the village safely from the south side. The villagers decided that it was safer for the women and children to leave, since it was the village the Zionists wanted. Upon leaving the village, all the women and children were massacred by the Zionist terrorists. Kafr Qasim, Qibya and many other massacres carry the same pattern of killing unarmed mothers and their children. Other mothers lost their children, and many their lives, after being forced out of their homes to wander the hills of Palestine in search of a safe spot.

The suffering and pain of Palestinian mothers continues till today. Palestinian mothers, including the elderly and the sick among them, are often humiliated at checkpoints in front of their children, and pregnant women are delayed, causing many to give birth at these checkpoint. Women are not only delayed at checkpoints, they are often prevented from reaching hospitals, causing miscarriages and even the death of some of women and infants. Many unnamed children are stillborn at Israeli checkpoints after unnecessary delays or after their mothers were forced to deliver on the dirt road or inside cars at the checkpoint. A report of the Palestinian Ministry of Health published in October 2006 states that since the beginning of the second Intifada in September 2000 some 68 pregnant women gave birth at Israeli checkpoints, leading to 34 miscarriages and the death of four women. In 2002, in two consecutive days two pregnant women on their way to hospital were shot and injured by the IOF soldiers at a checkpoint in the Nablus area. One of the women lost her husband who was shot on the neck and the chest. Others are forced to give birth at home, despite fear of complications because they fear they will be stopped at checkpoints and won’t make it in time to the hospital. In Azzun Atma near Qalqilya pregnant women are even forced to take up residence outside the village until they deliver out of fear that they might not be able to get the necessary medical treatment. The village, encircled by the apartheid wall, is separated by a gate from the rest of the West Bank. This gate is not manned at night, making the village a prison to its residents. According to a B’Tselem report, alone during 2006 some 20 out of 30 pregnant women from Azzun Atma were forced to relocate outside of the village because of their pregnancy.

IOF soldiers don’t hesitate in arresting Palestinian mothers to be used as hostages to pressure wanted Palestinians to give themselves up. In its report "Behind the Bars: Palestinian Women in Israeli Prisons" published in June 2008, Addammeer, Mandela Institute and the Palestinian Counselling Centre state that "As of May 2008, over 9.080 Palestinian political prisoners remain in Israeli prisons, detention facilities and camps; of those 73 Palestinian women (including 2 girls aged 16 and 17 of a total of 327 minors, and 24 mothers with a total number of 68 children." Many of the prisoners are held without any charges, and are subjected to torture, humiliation and intimidation. There were four cases of women giving birth inside Israeli prisons under difficult conditions. These women had their hands and feet shackled to their beds. They remain so until they enter the delivery room and are chained again after they deliver.

Palestinian mothers are not only to suffer the loss of their children, husbands and other family members, they themselves are also targeted by the IOF. According to Miftah 7141 Palestinians had been killed by the IOF during the period from 28th September 2000 till 28th February 2009, 1138 of whom were children and 581 were women. A recent report of the Palestine Centre for Human Rights on Israel’s war on Gaza confirms that "Over the course of the 22 day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip, a total of 1,434 Palestinians were killed. Of these, 235 were combatants. The vast majority of the dead, however, were civilians and non-combatants: protected persons according to the principles of IHL. PCHR investigations confirm that, in total, 960 civilians lost their lives, including 288 children and 121 women. 239 police officers were also killed; the majority (235) in air strikes carried out on the first day of the attacks. The Ministry of Health has also confirmed that a total of 5,303 Palestinians were injured in the assault, including 1,606 children and 828 women." Every single child killed had a mother. Human rights organization talked in their reports about mothers being killed together with their children, others witnessing the killing of their children and not able to prevent it, while others died in front of their children. Some of these mothers lost not only one child, but several. Of the many war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza, one horrific story tells the fate of a Palestinian mother of 10. While sitting with her children, the IOF soldiers entered her house and demanded she choose five of her children to "give as a gift to Israel". After the woman screamed in horror, the IOF soldiers told her they would choose themselves and then killed five of her children in front of her.

Palestinian mothers have been actively participating in resisting the occupation. They are the first to organize sit-ins in front of international organizations and hold marches demanding the release of their children from Israeli prisons or protesting the brutality of the Israeli military occupation. They visit their sons in hospitals and in jails, despite the long wait and the humiliation they endure on the hands of the Israelis jailers. Also, many of these mothers are the supporters of their families. When the father or son is arrested or killed by the IOF, it is the mothers who take on the burden of providing for their families. Those among them who have a piece of land would plant it with vegetables and herbs, to be later sold to neighbours or at the local market. Others use their embroidery skills to stitch Palestinian tradition dresses "thob", scarves, shawls and pillow covers. They hold their families together, particularly in difficult times....

Mothers are sacred in Palestine because they are the personification of Palestine: the homeland and the mother of all Palestinians. It is the love of this land that is handed over from one generation to the next. Whenever in Dheisheh, we often sat with grandmother as children, listening to her talking about Palestine, the Nakba, the Naksa and the life in a refugee camp. She would talk about her mother and her grandmother, about her brothers and sisters, about my grandfather, and about her children. She was strong and was always there for her family, even at times when she herself was very weak. She was the safe island everyone seeks and the cave that sheltered us from the storm. Even long after her death, I still often think of her and ask for her guidance. She passed down her strength, steadfastness and kindness to her children. My mother continued the tradition of connecting us to the Palestinian landscape. As children, she and my father used to sit with us and tell us stories about Palestine, the history that one would not find in book, the history of the real people who lived on this land and appreciated it. For me, the personal experiences of my grandmother and mother are priceless. I am thankful to my grandmother and my mother for introducing me to a Palestine that was unknown to me, to parts of our history that others work hard to delete, to a heritage that is mine forever. Through our mothers Palestine is celebrated every single day.

In his poem "My Mother", late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish said:

I must be worth my life
At the hour of my death
Worth the tears of my mother
'homeland liberation'
Criminalizing "coerced abortion" is about legalizing coerced pregnancy
Forced to abort?
Legislators are moving to address the problem of forced abortion in China Missouri. (Again.) As Missouri resident Pamela Merritt writes at RHRealityCheck, HB 46 & 434 (PDF) (passed in the House, stalled in the Senate by Democratic filibuster) (1) heaps requirements onto the "informed consent" procedure for abortion (e.g.: "Provide the pregnant woman with printed or video materials from the Department of Health and Senior Services that describes the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child's brain and heart functions, extremities, various methods of abortion, risks associated with each method, possibility of causing pain to the unborn child, alternatives to abortion, and that the father of an unborn child is liable to provide child support, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion") and (2) creates the crime of coercing an abortion. Coercing how? Say, if someone threatened to pass you over for promotion, fire you, or revoke your education scholarship -- or hurt you, or kill you -- because you're pregnant.

Criminalizing "coerced abortion" is really about legalizing coerced pregnancy.

So yeah, that does sound like something you'd want to outlaw. Here, in theory, there is some "common ground." Except: according to Merritt, not even anti-violence advocates like this bill. That's because in this context (if you weren't already tipped off by #1, above), criminalizing "coerced abortion" is really about legalizing coerced pregnancy.

Surely women are subject to many forms of coercion, related to abortion or otherwise -- few of which are excusable, and most of which should be punishable. But surely discrimination, battery, assault or stalking laws should address any legally actionable coercion. Merritt notes that an earlier version of this bill did not arise in response to "a rash of complaints by women who have been coerced into an abortion. Rather...[it] is about devaluing the intelligence of women and questioning our ability to make decisions about our medical care."

The bill would make doctors and anyone assisting them criminals for helping women get an abortion if they have "knowledge" that she has been "coerced." This "knowledge" would nullify her ability to consent. "Consider a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape who, with her doctor, decides that an abortion is the best course of action. Imagine that rape survivor also mentions to her doctor that her boyfriend agrees with her decision, but has been aggressive with her about it. With HB46, now the doctor must turn the situation over to the government which mandates that the doctor label that rape survivor a "victim of coerced abortion" who "lacks the consent required by law," Merritt writes.

"No one wants women to be forced to do anything against our will, but denying women our right to make decisions with our doctor if we are survivors of crime is not the definition of protection any more than forcing a rape survivor to carry a pregnancy resulting from rape to term is the definition of empowerment. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, the reality is clear. In the world that HCS HB 46 & 434 would create, women are denied a voice and subjected to half a dozen new legal hurdles to access reproductive healthcare, doctors and healthcare providers are made criminals for following their patient's clearly expressed wishes, family members and counselors risk criminal prosecution for giving advice and the all powerful state gets an instant medical degree complete with a front row seat to private medical appointments."

All true, but really, the key word above is "hurdles." The folks in that meeting didn't say, "How can we protect women from this very real problem?" or even, more to the point, "How can we codify our contempt for women into law?" Rather, they said, "Let's brainstorm more misleading laws that make abortions harder to get." The "coerced abortion" movement (hawked by certain not-unbiased "Institutes") is, above all, a tactic, a means of obstructing access to abortion, clad -- unlike its cousin, the fetal "personhood" movement -- in the sheep's clothing of language purporting to protect women. Which, depending on how you look at it, is either sanctimonious, patronizing women-can't-decide bullshit, or faux-feminist "it's about the women" bullshit (see last paragraph here).

And it's also a red herring. Violence against women comes in many forms, and "forced abortion," such as it is, is only one of them. As covered earlier in Broadsheet, researchers are now beginning to notice and study what's turning out to be another hallmark of relationship violence: forced pregnancy. As in: abusive partners who tamper with, destroy or otherwise refuse to use contraception (which can lead, obviously, to unplanned pregnancy, along with STIs and other health problems). In fact, advocates now say that teen pregnancy should be considered a canary in the coalmine of partner violence.

As Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund (click here for their campaign against all reproductive coercion) has said, "We need laws that promote violence prevention; train health care providers to assess patients for abuse; ensure women's access to a full range of reproductive health services; and prevent violence and coercion in the next generation by teaching young people the importance of building healthy relationships." Not specious "forced abortion" laws or -- also pending in the Show-Me-The-Irony state, which also just voted not to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- laws that would allow pharmacist refusal for emergency contraception, or that would criminalize pregnant women who carry to term before overcoming a substance abuse problem.

Just Say NO to the Mothers Act
by Evelyn Pringle / April 27th, 2009
The customer base that the psycho-pharmaceutical industry is hoping to corral through passage of the Mothers Act is the more than four million women who give birth in the US each year. That number was 4,317,119 in 2007, according to the CDC. The Act’s passage, after eight years of solid efforts, would set the stage for the screening of all pregnant women for a whole list of mental disorders. The bill has already passed in the US House of Representatives and will soon be up for a vote in the Senate.The definition section of the Act specifically states that the term “postpartum condition” means “postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis.” There is not one word about perinatal “mood” or “anxiety” disorders in the bill...
Although no psychiatric drug has been FDA approved as safe for use by pregnant and nursing mothers, the treatment for all the perinatal mental disorders calls for the new generation of antidepressants, along with atypical antipsychotics and epilepsy drugs, now commonly referred to as “mood stabilizers.”
The atypical antipsychotics are Seroquel by AstraZeneca, Risperdal and Invega marketed by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, Geodon by Pfizer, Abilify from Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis’ Clozaril, and Eli Lilly’s Zyprexa. The average price for these drugs on DrugStore.com is about $900 for a hundred pills.

The SSRI and SNRI antidepressants include GlaxoSmithKline’s Paxil and Wellbutrin, Pfizer’s Zoloft, Celexa and Lexapro from Forest Labs, Luvox by Solvay, Wyeth’s Effexor and Pristiq, and Lilly’s Prozac, Cymbalta, and Symbyax, a pill with Zyprexa and Prozac combined. The price of these drugs, on average, is about $300 for ninety pills at DrugStore.com.

On March 23, 2009, Philip Dawdy reported on the popular website Furious Seasons that, “in a sign of just how bizarre things have gotten in DC, the FDA today approved Symbyax for treatment resistant depression, meaning depression that hasn’t responded to two anti-depressants.” “So the FDA just approved a drug that’s known to cause diabetes, epic weight gain and suicidality to treat depression,” he said.

The antipsychotics are now the top money-makers. In overall prescription sales in the US, they led all classes of drugs in 2008, with sales of $14.6 billion, according to IMS Health. Anticonvulsants came in fourth with $11.3 billion in sales, followed by antidepressants at fifth with sales of $9.6 billion.

The Epilepsy Foundation estimates that one million women in the US have epilepsy, but the number of women taking anticonvulsants is reported to be two to three times higher than women with epilepsy. The prices for these drugs can run as high as $929 for 180 tablets of Glaxo’s Lamictal, and $1170 for 180 tablets of J&J’s Topamax.
Numerous recent reports have linked the use of drugs such as Depakote, Neurontin, Lamictal and Tegretol with not only suicide but also birth defects, including heart defects, brain damage, and mental retardation.

Big Pharma Funds Mothers Act Supporters
As of April 9, 2009, the groups supporting the Mother’s Act listed on PerinatalPro with Big Pharma funding traceable through their annual reports and the grant reports of Eli Lilly and Pfizer for 2007 and 2008, include the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Psychiatric Association, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Children’s Defense Fund, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, March of Dimes, Mental Health America (MHA), National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), National Association of Social Workers, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, and the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA.

Pfizer’s 2008 grant report shows the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, received $10,000 for “General Operating Support.” Florida’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health received funding from Lilly and Pfizer to launch a three-pronged maternal depression awareness initiative consisting of education, screening and advocacy, according to the July, 2005 paper, Improving Maternal and Infant Mental Health: Focus on Maternal Depression, by Ngozi Onunaku.

Collaborating partners also included the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, University of Miami, and Florida’s Department of Mental Health, Onunaku reports. Public awareness efforts reached the Florida State Legislature, who passed a resolution to establish April as women’s depression screening month. Onunaku listed the Lilly and Pfizer funded Florida project as an example of state and community efforts that may be useful in reaching the goal of increasing maternal depression awareness. In the paper, he reported the following: "Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy when mothers-to-be experience hormonal and biological changes, stress, and the demands of pregnancy. Approximately 14-25% of pregnant women have enough depressive symptoms to meet the criteria for a clinical diagnosis. The use of medication to treat maternal depression is controversial; there is concern about mothers taking medication during pregnancy and after delivery, especially while breastfeeding. Research suggests that infant development is not adversely affected by certain kinds of medication. There is equal consideration regarding the possible risks posed to a child whose mother is severely depressed and needs medication but remains untreated."

In 2008, Lilly gave the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists $16,000, and a $2,000 donation was made in the third quarter of 2007.
Lilly gave the American Psychiatric Association grants worth more than $600,000 in both the first and second quarters of 2008. In 2007, the group received over $400,000 from Lilly. The drug maker gave roughly $450,000 more to the American Psychiatric Foundation for the APA fellowship program. Pfizer donated more than $700,000 to the “non-profit” APA in 2008. The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is described as “a non-profit association representing 1,300 mental health and addictions treatment and rehabilitation organizations,” on its website. This gang received $200,000 from Lilly in the first quarter of 2008, and another $215,000 in the fourth quarter....

Over a recent three - four year period... there were 1,031 documented deaths of babies caused by psychiatric drug exposure reported to the FDA’s MedWatch system.
Evelyn Pringle is an investigative journalist exposing corruption in government and corporate America. She can be reached at: evelyn-pringle@sbcglobal.net.


Long before it became another "Hallmark holiday,"
Mother's Day was a call to for life, for compassion, and an end to the
senseless slaughter of wars. It was a call for mothers, especially, to stand
up for their children and for all sons and daughters in the world who were
victims of those who cannot settle their international problems peacefully.
It is still a call for all of us.

Mother's Day is universally meant to be a tribute to motherhood and the
blessings of peace. In fact, in America the holiday was originally called
"Mother's Day for Peace." It was proposed over a century ago by Julia Ward
Howe, the famous abolitionist and suffragist, after she witnessed first-hand
the terrible bloodshed of the Civil War in America and the Franco-Prussian
War in Europe. Howe hoped that the powerful maternal desire for security
could shape world events, and she called on mothers of the world to unite
against war.
Below you will find the original Mother's Day Proclamation, by Julia Ward
Howe, published in 1870.

Mother's Day Proclamation - 1870
by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then...women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts!

Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:

"We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,

Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,

For caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn

All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.

We, the women of one country,

Will be too tender of those of another country

To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with

Our own. It says: "Disarm! Disarm!

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."

Blood does not wipe our dishonor,

Nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil

At the summons of war,

Let women now leave all that may be left of home

For a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means

Whereby the great human family can live in peace...

Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,

But of God

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask

That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,

May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient

And the earliest period consistent with its objects,

To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,

The amicable settlement of international questions,

The great and general interests of peace.

Happy Mother’s Day
A Review of Susan Galleymore's Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War & Terror
by Ron Jacobs / May 9th, 2009
Mother’s Day in the US... originally conceived of as a holiday against war and for peace.... was based on a sentiment that supposes mothers know better than anyone the pointlessness of war’s blood and death since it is their children who do the dying. Susan Galleymore’s recently published book Long Time Passing: Mothers Speak About War & Terror takes this premise and moves it to today’s headlines. Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and the United States....

Galleymore asks the question she was asked by some of her interviewees in those nations under the US (or its ally Israel) military’s boot. How can American mothers allow their children to join in this endeavor of conquering and occupation? Why don’t the mothers of US children considering the military just tell them “no?”

In response, Galleymore considers the cultural assumptions that create the dynamic whereby young Americans join the military despite their mothers’ objections. In the United States, writes Galleymore, 18-year-olds can “make legally binding choices independent of parents and family, including the choice to enlist in the military.” Many parents go along with this choice, believing that the military will somehow teach their child discipline. It may very well do that, writes Galleymore, but it also teaches those children to kill. This is what most Americans refuse to openly acknowledge: that they have allowed their child to learn how to kill other humans. In more collectivist cultures like many of those in the Middle East and Central Asia, argues the author, where family, clan, and parental respect are paramount, it is extremely unlikely that a son would enlist without permission from the head of the family.

Then again, here in the United States, the military is everywhere–schools, television, video games. Our culture is permeated with the military’s presence. Boys and girls as young as eleven go to summer camps sponsored by the US Army. Recruiters roam the halls of many high schools and shopping malls looking for future soldiers and marines. Malls lend shop space to military recruiters for a weekend geared toward elementary and middle school age children that includes all the free video games kids want to play. All they need to provide the recruiters on site is their name and social security number. A few months later the phone calls, text messages and emails began coming, encouraging the youngster to consider joining the military. If these recruiters were working for a gang besides the military, they would be chased out of town and condemned for the predators they are. [...]