The abovementioned well-timed service interruption, preventing many from watching the England game last night, also prevented me from getting anywhere near the internet. Go Telewest!
And I had such a lot to say, as well.
For one thing, there was the uplifting feeling I had when listening to an interview with Charlie Wilson. Wilson is the subject of a forthcoming based-on-real-life film starring Tom Hanks, and I for one will not be watching it. This is a man who channelled an estimated $10bn of US government money into supporting a secret war against the USSR in Afghanistan. You’d think he might be a little bit sheepish, but he isn’t. He is full to bursting with self-congratulation over the whole thing, openly boasting about how he called in favours and misdirected funds to support his own pet, unsanctioned project. He is proud of what he did.
Asked about his penchant for globetrotting with beauty queens and the like, he says – Well, I had to travel a lot, “and I tried not to do it with ugly women.” Asked about his alcoholism and alcohol-related health problems, he says – Oh, I don’t think I drank any more than Winston (Churchill). Asked about his pulling strings to get the two Department of Defense aircraft withdrawn from the US embassy in Pakistan because the attache refused to break government rules and allow him to take his then-current girlfriend on board for a jolly, he says – It may not have been the best thing, but I’m sure anyone else would have reacted in the same way.
What a guy.
And I had a whole lot to say about China.
For example, did you know that in China, one woman kills herself every four minutes?
Xu Rong [head of the Suicide Prevention Project at the Beijing Cultural Development Centre for Rural Women] estimates that 70-80% of suicides are the direct result of conflicts between husbands and wives.Xie Lihua, editor of China’s foremost women’s magazine, agrees that traditional values are a problem. “If a woman goes to live with her husband’s family and they treat her well, or if she’s found someone who loves and respects her, she’ll be all right. If not, things will be very difficult for her. This is because there’s a saying among men that goes: ‘marrying a woman is like buying a horse: I can ride you and beat you whenever I like’.”
The story here is hopeful though. Women are setting up support networks in villages. Young women are starting to leave their villages to find work in cities and towns and to understand their own self-worth, and the possibilities before them. Go Chinese feminists!
On the other hand, did you know that women who break the one-child policy by getting pregnant for a second or third time risk forced abortions and/or sterilisations?
Zhu Hongyun… was forced to have an abortion in May 2005 because she already had a son. After she realised she was pregnant, she knew the authorities would try to prevent her from giving birth so she fled from her village and went into hiding in Linyi city. She says family planning officials kept her three sisters-in-law hostage until she returned and agreed to let them terminate the foetus. It was seven months old. Zhu is still trying to recover from the trauma of seeing her dead son dumped into a black plastic bag.
The authorities say that they are taking action to prevent this. Did you know that a man named Chen Guangcheng (an amazing human rights activist) is currently being persecuted for exposing the scandal of illegal forced abortions?
Last September, he was abducted off the streets of Beijing by family planning officials and police from Shandong…Knowing their chances of promotion are linked to family planning targets, officials turned to ruthless measures to enforce regulations.
It’s pretty scary stuff.
And now, because I spent tonight blogging about what I wanted to blog about last night, I haven’t blogged about what I wanted to blog about tonight. Rats. I will catch up with myself eventually though, never you fear.