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Friday, July 29, 2011


In case your soul hasn't shriveled to the size of a dried lemon pit, this little story should complete the job.

A Sad Little Story

by John D. Amos / July 26, 2011 - 8:59pm / Permalink

Today, I stopped by one of my favorite pawn shops. This one is owned by an individual who runs both a sales business and a legitimate pawnbroker business. He pays well for top quality items and sells them at reasonable prices when the loan is not paid within a reasonable time period. Anyway, as I look though the items for sale, another guy, in his early fifties comments on one item and we get into a conversation. This guy, obviously a republican with a NASCAR cap, makes a comment about Obama taking old peoples' money to pay for wars we don't need to be fighting.

I start to comment, but hold back for some reason. Then, I remark that the entire argument is just a big show, designed by the rich folks so they will not have to pay back the money they borrowed from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for our war making.

The NASCAR guy then saddens. The conversation turns to the war in Afghanistan. Lane tells me that his youngest son cannot find work and wants to join the army because he feels obligated to do something useful with himself. Then, Lane tells me that he is against this with his entire being. Then he tells me why.

"My oldest boy has been in Iraq and Afghanistan and over there for six years now. He has a wife and two kids here at home, but he doesn't even bother to come home anymore. When he gets some leave, he just travels to a city in Pakistan and he and several professional soldier buddies like him spend their down time smoking hashish and doing heroin and other drugs. Then when their leave is just about up, they clean themselves out for a week or so so they can pass the army drug tests and then go back to their units and back on duty."

"My boy told me that when they knock on a door and nobody answers, they just stick a pound of explosive to it and get away and detonate it and then go in to see if anyone is still alive, and if they are, they shoot them. This is why my boy does not want to come home anymore, because he cannot not stand to look at his own kids, knowing the stuff he does over there. He is finished and I think he is lost forever the way I see it right now. I hope it changes for him, but I don't look for it to change for him. He's too far gone already, and he won't or can't stop and he can't bring himself to come home anymore."

"The Army and his being over there has ruined my oldest boy, and now the sonofabitch recruiters are hounding my youngest boy at home when I'm not around. I told the sonofabitches to stay away, but I found out that they have still been calling him and talking to him anyway when I'm not around home."

"I will do just about anything to keep him from going over there and getting himself ruined like my oldest boy."

I told Lane that I was a Vietnam vet and that war is always a rich mans war and a poor man's fight. War changes people forever and nobody goes to war without being wounded by it.

"And this war is not needed. What are we fighting for? So Obama and his buddies can get richer." Lane remarked.

"The wars over there are for control of oil to sell to China and other people we owe money to for the stuff we buy there because our jobs have been sent there. Both parties are behind it all and both want the wars to continue as far as I can tell," I explained.

"Seems the same to me." Lane replied.

Presented here with full consent of the author. Thank you John.
Mr. Amos has an ongoing blog at The Smirking Chimp. Access it from here.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Magdalene Sisters

Since my last article dealt with women in distress, I feel this fits in nicely, especially since the story is from the horrible truth of Catholicism, its attitude toward women, and the power the highly vaunted church wields with egregious arrogance.

Movie Review by Frederic Brussat
The Magdalene Sisters Peter Mullan Miramax 08/03 Feature Film R - violence/cruelty, nudity, sexual content, language

In his second feature film, actor Peter Mullan (My Name Is Joe) has created an unflinching and compelling drama that will make your blood boil. Up until 1996, profit-making laundries throughout Ireland operated by the Sisters of the Magdalene Order used young women as virtual slaves. An estimated 30,000 girls went through this system, sent to Magdalene Asylums for their so-called sexual improprieties — having a child out of wedlock or being a "temptress.” These poor souls were forced to work in silence seven days a week in laundries without pay. The intent of the sisters was to drive wayward souls to repentance through prayer and hard work. The asylums were named after Mary Magdalene, the prostitute who repented and was forgiven by Jesus.

The screenplay by Peter Mullan is loosely based on a Channel 4 documentary which contains interviews with some of the unlucky souls who were incarcerated in the Magdalene Asylums. In the opening scenes, three of the main characters are introduced.

At a wedding, Margaret (Ann-Marie Duff) is raped by her cousin. When she tells what happened, the males at the gathering rally around the man accused, and the next day, her family and priest have her sent away to the Magdalene Asylum.

At an orphanage run by Catholics, pretty Bernadette (Nora-Jane Noone) is constantly attracting the attention of boys who linger at the gates and give her trouble. The principal agrees with the nuns that she is a temptress who poses a stumbling block to men; so in order to save them, it is decided she must be removed from their midst.

Shortly after giving birth to a child out of wedlock, Rose (Dorothy Duffy) asks her mother for forgiveness and honestly acknowledges the error she made. But her devout father and mother follow the counsel of the priest who wants to put the child up for adoption.

They decide that Rose needs to pay for her sins at a Magdalene Asylum.

The three new arrivals are immediately shamed by Sister Bridget (Geraldine McEwan), the authoritarian head of the laundry. This malevolent woman is a fundamentalist who believes that these fallen women must symbolically wash away their sins and unworthiness by cleansing the clothes of others. The new arrivals also meet Crispina (Eileen Walsh), a simple-minded girl who uses her Saint Christopher Medal to commune with the young son who was taken away from her and sometimes stands at the gates of the asylum with her sister.

The harshness of the place and the rigorous use of silence as a weapon to keep the women from getting to know each other convinces Bernadette to find a way to escape.

However, a young woman (Mary Murray) who ran away is brought back by her father (Peter Mullan), who beats her up in front of the women in the dormitory. Her hair is then cut off by Sister Bridget in an attempt to further degrade her. In another instance, the three new arrivals along with others are forced to stand naked in front of a nun who ridicules their body parts.

Crispina is sexually abused by a priest who gives communion to the women. Her friend comes up with a scheme to humiliate him in front of everyone. Margaret is then liberated when her brother comes to take her home with him. Meanwhile, Bernadette and Rose, more determined than ever not to spend their lives in this hellhole, plot their escape.

At one point, one of the young women asks: "What in God's name have we done to deserve this?” They were unlucky enough to have been born into a Irish theocracy emboldened by the Catholic Church. The Magdalene asylums are now closed, but the system that spawned them is anything but extinct. To this day, various Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists continue to exalt men and subjugate women on account of their fear and hatred of female sexuality and freedom.