Musings by Mystic Trish ©

This is an article I wrote a few years ago that I think still resonates today, for all of us being called on to do our civic duty.

Southern Trees bear strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood on the root.

Strange Fruit.

Annie Lennox recently recorded this Billy Holiday song because she says it is still relevant today. Not just in terms of race issues but also in terms of violence being done to all people across the planet but especially woman.

Her comments about Beyoncé’s highly sexual performances started a little dust up on line. Annie Lennox doesn’t believe that Beyoncé’s behavior does anything good for feminism. And that it over sexualizes young girls and what they see as their place in the world.

This country has had its issues with feminism and woman’s rights for years and they have been a violent and bloody struggle. 95 years ago woman won the right to vote and hold office but it was hard won. Woman were thrown in jail and force fed and beaten for organizing and protesting for their right to vote and for just wearing there stockings rolled down below there knees.

This is an article from 1922, Chicago Tribune about corporal punishment. Chicago Tribune: Here’s what happens when a “flapper” is caught wearing rolled stockings in Chicago. Miss Mildred Richards of Evanston started something when she playfully threw popcorn in a Chicago movie house. She was evicted from the theatre, and later brought to court for having created a disturbance. Then it was found she had violated a recent edict warning against rolled stockings. Justice Witkower sentenced her to two whacks.” She was put over a mans knee and spanked in court.

This makes Beyoncé’s bouncing butt seem obscene by 1920’s standards. I wonder how many whacks they would have given her?

But two spanks was a light sentence compared to what woman who protested for there right to vote received.

Feminist Sonia Pressman Fuentes documents this history in her article on Alice Paul. She includes this re-telling of the story of Occoquan Workhouse’s “Night of Terror,” November 15, 1917:

Under orders from W. H. Whittaker, superintendent of the Occoquan Workhouse, as many as forty guards with clubs went on a rampage, brutalizing thirty-three jailed suffragists. They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head, and left her there for the night. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed, and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate Alice Cosu, who believed Mrs. Lewis to be dead, suffered a heart attack. According to affidavits, other women were grabbed, dragged, beaten, choked, slammed, pinched, twisted, and kicked.

These woman warriors fought with their blood sweat and tears for our rights to vote. The 19 amendments was a major accomplishment for this country and the woman who can now vote. Unfortunately it did not end there. Mississippi did not ratify the law till 1984.

By the 1970s, when Mississippi was debating the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, many Mississippians regarded the state’s failure to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment as an embarrassment as Mississippi was the only state that had never done so. So on March 22, 1984, the Mississippi Legislature finally ratified the Nineteenth Amendment.

I was agreeing with Annie Lennox opinion about Beyoncé’s overt sexual performances not being appropriate for young girls. But I don’t believe Beyoncé’s behavior should be met with violence. Extreme violence as seen across the world and in this country as a way to control woman or anybody, male or female is something that must be stood up to.

On the other extreme of Beyoncé’s behavior is the genital mutilation of young girls and woman through out the world. Extreme violence used to dominate woman is just wrong.

In Egypt in 2008 they passed a law banning these terrible barbaric procedures. Yet in June 2013 a Dr. preformed one a 13-year-old girl and she died and he was not found guilty in a court of law.

In a Unicef survey it was found that 91% of married woman in Egypt between the ages of 15 and 49 have been mutilated.

New York based Human Rights Watch recently reported that Boko-Haram was holding over 500-woman and girl’s hostage. Actually the 219 schoolgirls they kidnapped several months ago have now been married off to their captors and have been forced to convert to Islam.

In a 2009 BBC interview Mohammed Yusuf, the founder of Boko Haram (whose name means ‘Western education is forbidden’), claimed that such education “spoils the belief in one God”. He also said, “Like rain. We believe it is a creation of God rather than an evaporation caused by the sun that condenses and becomes rain … Like saying the world is a sphere. If it runs contrary to the teachings of Allah, we reject it. We also reject the theory of Darwinism.”

So these women who have been kidnapped and sold into marriage are not allowed to read or be educated in anything but the Koran that they now are being forced to memorize it because they are not allowed to read. How does one even have a conversation with people who are this ignorant and violent?

This is the very thing we should be fighting against. This ignorance is the lack of light on this world. For all the hard won rights that bring light and learning too all of the peoples of the world there are always those who want us to stay in the dark, in the ignorance, in the violence.

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