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05/17/2003 Entry: "The war against women"

"Take Mahabouba Mohammed, whom I met here in Addis Ababa. She had been sold into virtual slavery at the age of 8, raped by her master at 12 and then sent out into the bush at 13 to deliver the baby on her own. After a long labor, she delivered the dead baby herself but suffered crippling internal injuries, including a fistula. Ms. Mohammed crawled back to the village, but the baby's father was horrified by her smell. He confined her in a faraway hut and removed the door so that hyenas, attracted by the odor, would tear her apart at night. This girl fought off the hyenas and crawled for a day to reach an American missionary, who eventually brought her to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital that Dr. Hamlin heads. Dr. Hamlin was able to repair her fistula, and now Ms. Mohammed is a confident young nurse's aide at the hospital here."

*snip*

"Last year President Bush, upset by abortions in China, cut off all $34 million in U.S. funds to the U.N. Population Fund, which sponsors programs to prevent fistulas. That was unconscionable, yet my point today is not to complain again about that, but to hail those like Dr. Hamlin who have stepped up to the plate. Dr. Hamlin is known even to cynical aid workers as a saint and has been mentioned for a Nobel Peace Prize, which she richly deserves (her hospital's Web site is www.fistulahospital.org). Meanwhile, two American women began the "34 Million Friends" campaign last year to get people to donate $1 each to make up the money that President Bush cut. They've just reached the $1 million mark the first half of which will go to preventing and treating fistulas in 13 countries (see www.unfpa.org). Then there's the tireless Dr. Lewis Wall, an American who has repaired fistulas across Africa and is now begging for funds to build a fistula hospital in West Africa (see www.wfmic.org)."

Alone and Ashamed
, by Nicholas D. Kristof, May 16, 2003 (NYT login ID hackenbush PW hackenblog or vice versa)

Women are half of civilization, why are we treated so badly in so many societies? Well, anyway, I ask myself that a lot and never get a decent answer. So, all I can say is, if you have any spare money, give some of it to one of the links above. The UN usually takes care of third world women's health when they have the money to do so, but, because of the way we live now, I have to ask. (Disclosure: I gave 34 Million Friends $10 and wished it was more.) Barbara Lee is trying to get the money back to the UN, but, because of the way we live now, it's not a cert. Sigh.

"The vote, I thought, means nothing to women. We should be armed."
O'Brien, Edna (1936)

Well, I hope I never get that nervous.

 

 

 

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