Is YOUR VOICE heard and respected at home?

Marriage

“My wife sent me to the supermarket to buy a fabric softener. Well, actually I was told to take a photo of the shelf of softeners and send it over: apparently, I am not qualified to choose which one to buy. So I came up to the shelf and started taking photos. Suddenly a man nearby pointed at me with his phone and said, “I can send you my photos of all the softeners here. With WhatsApp. I have a full gallery. Each bottle is a close-up from both sides.” I replied, ”No, thanks. I was just told to send the full shelf without close-ups.“ ”Clear. Lucky man…” I laughed, “Something like that, but thanks for your offer anyway. Great idea with WhatsApp.” The man smiled and said, “Sure, but the idea is not mine. See that man taking photos of detergents? He sent the photos to me. And my photo session of baby food starts now. Have fun!”

From 15 Overheard Life Stories Charged With Optimism

 

Boss.png
It is very well known that men generally do not like to ‘sweat the small stuff’. Therefore they are often happy to leave routine domestic decision-making to women and are often putting a great deal of their energy into placating the women in their lives in order to keep their world manageable.

Celia Lashlie however identified some areas of concern in her book “He’ll be OK”:

“The principal told me again and again that when two parents come in for a chat because their boy’s in trouble, it’s the norm for the mother to do all the talking. The principal looks towards the father and it’s obvious he has something to say, an opinion to offer, but she won’t shut up long enough for him to actually say it…. I thought it might be an overly prejudiced view, so decided to investigate a little further. The opportunity to do so arose when I found myself in front of a group of fathers.

‘Listen guys, I just want to check something out with you. Apparently when you and your wife are in the principal’s office because your son’s in a spot of bother and you’ve been called to the school, you’re really quiet, you just don’t talk.’

‘No,’ came the reply from one man.

‘Why not?’

‘Because I’ll get it wrong.’

Somewhat naively, I replied, ‘No, you can’t get it wrong, he’s your boy.’

‘Oh no,’ he said, looking straight at me, a now-familiar look of resignation on his face, ‘I’ll get it wrong… and I’ll get a pull-through when I get home.’

As he said this, several heads in the room nodded, the men seeming to relish the fact that someone had identified a situation with which they were all very familiar…

After a bit more discussion on this topic with the men, I headed back to talk to their wives and partners and, as I did so, I found myself thinking that the views expressed by the men were probably a little unfair and would offend the women I was about to talk to. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

‘The guys have just told me that when they’re in the principal’s office with you, they don’t talk because they’ll get it wrong.’

One woman didn’t even hesitate; she looked straight at me and without the slightest hint of the embarrassment I was expecting, she said, ‘He will.’

‘And he reckons he’ll get a pull-through when he gets home?’

‘I won’t wait that long – I’ll get him in the car.’

There seemed to be universal agreement with her comments and the conversation continued with one woman saying, ‘I take him to parent-teacher evenings, but he just won’t talk.’ By this time I was thinking, Yes, and I think I’m beginning to see why, so I said, ‘Well, there’s one possible solution.’

‘What’s that?’

‘You could send him by himself, then he’s going to have to talk.

At that moment the entire group of intelligent, articulate middle-class women looked as if I’d just asked them to eat a snake. (No power and control issues here, I thought to myself!)”…

Man-with-mouth-taped-shut.jpg


Is YOUR VOICE heard and respected at home?

THE END

Credits:

True power is to EMPOWER!

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in our absence.”

Sheryl Sandberg

"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in our absence." — Sheryl Sandberg

True leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. In fact, true leaders do not even need to have power in a political or career sense. We all have potential to be leaders, no matter how high we are on the political or career ladder, no matter what path we chose in our lives.

If your words and actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, discover and reach their potential, you are a leader.

True power is to EMPOWER!

😉

THE END

Image from http://www.popsugar.com/

Corruption, human rights and social justice

Monster

From http://mercurialxen.deviantart.com

Do you believe in monsters? I do, though not the ones you can find in myths, legends and fairy tales. The real world is where the monsters are… monsters, fighting for power….

Power

Have you seen Andrei Zvyagintsev’s new  film “Leviathan”? The film is set in Russia’s desolate north. The main character, Nikolai, is a soulful car mechanic who lives in a wooden house by the Barents Sea with his frustrated wife and a depressed teenage son from an earlier marriage.

His house and land are being taken from him by the state, represented here by a drunken and corrupt mayor who is closely advised by an Orthodox priest. Nikolai’s friend, a lawyer, travels from Moscow to help him fight the mayor. But that only leads to more disasters.

In the end, Nikolai loses his wife, his freedom and his house, which, in a final twist, is bulldozed to make space for a new church that is inaugurated by the mayor and the priest, who preaches about patriotism and love for the Russian state…

As the Economist points out, “Leviathan” may not break new artistic ground, but it has a lot to say about life in Russia.

Rarely has an art film evoked such fierce debate. It has been denigrated as heresy and slander by supporters of the state and the church, and praised by liberals who recognise its truths.

As noted by the Economist, a few days before the film was released in Russia, Kirill, the patriarch of the Orthodox church, took to the floor of the Duma (the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia). He praised the Soviet era for breeding “solidarity” in people and lashed out at the depravity of the West.

Tyrany

Zvyagintsev however clearly intended this film as a parable for modern human-kind, not just Russians. This movie is about the corruption and collusion of elites everywhere to exploit and abuse “the little people”.

As Frank Vogl points out in his book “Waging War on Corruption: Inside the Movement Fighting the Abuse of Power”, “Corruption is not a single event, but a continuum, perpetrated day in and day out against citizens by crooked politicians and civil servants who enjoy the position of power… Corruption is a political, social, and economic issue of global proportions. Today, as never before, it is a major cause of the global crises of poverty, human rights, justice, and security. It impacts us all….”


Corruption

From https://www.globalcitizen.org

While many live in denial, like the proverbial ostrich, or think that corruption is “just a way of life”, every society, sector and individual would benefit from saying “NO” to this crime. We all can:

  • Raise awareness
  • Engage the youth about what ethical behavior is and what corruption is.
  • Report incidents of corruption
  • Refuse to participate in any activities that are not legal and transparent

Against

THE END

The cruelest animal…

Cruelty
From https://www.azquotes.com/quote/355811


From http://izquotes.com/quote/285251

* * *

India
2014

A few days ago, two Indian girls were gang-raped and murdered after doing what half a billion women and girls are forced to do every day – go outdoors to try to find somewhere discreet to go to the toilet. Those two cousins were just 14 and 16 years old.

“The father, a 45-year-old agricultural laborer from a low-ranking caste, said in a telephone interview that the two girls were last seen alive on Tuesday evening in a mango orchard, in the company of a man named Pappu Yadav. (The man’s surname is the same as his caste.)

The father said a relative saw the girls with Mr. Yadav and two of Mr. Yadav’s brothers and that, for reasons he did not explain, the relative tried to intervene between Mr. Yadav and the girls. One of the Yadav brothers pulled out a pistol “and put it to the head of my cousin-brother,” the father said, using a common term in India for a close relative. “He got scared and ran away.”

When he heard what had happened, the father said, he went to the local police station and asked that Mr. Yadav’s house be searched. But the police officers, who are members of the Yadav caste, “took the side of the culprits,” the father said.”

The girls were members of the Dalit community, India’s lowest caste once known as the “Untouchables”.

violence-against-women-indiafrom Witch hunt in India

* * *

Russia
1800s

One old nobleman, along with a band of spongers, moved to his countryside estate and took to hunting with hounds. One day, a peasant boy (the nobleman had three thousand souls there) accidentally hit a hound from the landlord’s kennels in the leg with a stone. When he saw that his Nalet was limping, the landlord became incensed and asked, “Who injured the dog?”

The kennel attendants had to reveal the little boy’s identity. They produced the boy. He confessed.

In the morning, the landlord ordered preparations for the hunt in full complement. They went to the field and took their places near the forest, the hounds were let out, and the borzois were held on leads. There they brought the boy. The landlord ordered that the little boy be stripped of his clothes and set loose in the field to run. Then they let out the dogs from all the packs to chase him—literally to hunt him.

The borzois approached the little boy, sniffed at him, but did not touch him… His mother got there in time; she had run through the forest. She clasped her child in her arms. They dragged her back to the village and again set the dogs loose until the little boy was torn to pieces. The mother went insane and died within three days.

From ‘A life under Russian serfdom’


From http://eco-trophy.ru

However don’t put all the blame on men. As history shows, women in power are as cruel as men. Take as an example Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova, commonly known as Saltichikha who made her infamous mark with the atrocious killings of her serfs, mostly women. She tortured children and pregnant women to death by beating them, breaking their bones, throwing them out of the house naked into the frost, pouring boiling water on their bodies and many other vicious and bloody tortures. She enjoyed torturing and mutilating her victims.

She didn’t make a habit of killing men – only three accidentally – although she tortured them in a different way. She killed the ones they loved. One of her serfs lost, one by one, three of his wives. .

Saltichikha was the epitome of boyar abuse of serfs in pre-reformation Russia. She pleaded guilty to the murder of at least 138 serfs at her estate, and the torture of many more. The name Saltychikha became a synonym for bestial treatment of the peasants.

darya-saltykova_1-t
Saltichikha

I wonder sometimes where such cruelty originates. Is there a template for cruelty laid down in the human brain? Is it something that is unique to our species? Why do human beings find pleasure in deliberately inflicting pain on other living things? And what can we do to stop it because…

“Not much we can do about that,” you might say.

I think we can. The stories presented in this post have one common theme: these cases are the product of certain beliefs (or memes) held in the society. The stories from Russia happened at the time, when surfs were not perceived as human beings – they were perceived as property and therefore their owners believed that they could do anything with them, including torturing and killing them. Russian writers and artists were the first to object that deeply ingrained belief. Book after book, painting after painting, they slowly changed that ‘meme’ and eventually serfdom, like slavery, has been abolished.

This clearly demonstrates that even the most deeply ingrained memes and beliefs can be changed. We just need to keep talking about such cases and spread positive beliefs to combat mind viruses and memes that cause cruelty and violence.

Don’t close your eyes to ‘Hell on Earth‘. As Martin Luther King once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.”

sacredness

Related posts:

THE END

The Power of Quiet

quietness

From CristinaSkyBox

Have you ever being embarrassed of your quietness or shyness? Have you ever being envious of more outspoken charismatic people?

In spite of zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas, often too much of a premium is put on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking. As Susan Cain points out, “Introversion – along with its cousins sensitivity, seriousness, and shyness – is now a second-class personality trait, somewhere between a disappointment and a pathology. Introverts living in the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are. Extroversion is an enormously appealing personality style, but we’ve turned it into an oppressive standard to which most of us feel we must conform…”.

However don’t despair if you are quiet and introverted by nature. Be yourself and share your ideas as powerfully as you can. You don’t need to be loud to spread your ideas – ideas can be shared quietly, in writing or blogging. The trick is in learning to be yourself, honouring your own style and personality and not allowing yourself to be swept up by the prevailing norms.

Remember: “Everyone shines, given the right lighting.”

(based on “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain)

THE END

Propaganda and public perception manipulation

“It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it.”

John Pilger

Propaganda_
From Anti-Propaganda Propaganda

Defining propaganda has always been a problem. The main difficulties have involved differentiating propaganda from other types of persuasion, and avoiding an “if they do it then that’s propaganda, while if we do it then that’s information and education” biased approach. Personally I prefer the following definition provided by Garth Jowett and Victoria O’Donnell: “Propaganda is the deliberate, systematic attempt to shape perceptions, manipulate cognitions, and direct behavior to achieve a response that furthers the desired intent of the propagandist.”

What is modern propaganda? For many, it is the lies of a totalitarian state usually associated with Nazis and Communism.

nazi_poster
From 10 Most Evil Propaganda Techniques

Today, we prefer to believe that there is no submissive void in our society that could be manipulated by propaganda.  Is that really so?

Propaganda does not always come in a form of posters or slogans. As history shows, selection of certain story angles and facts for the mass media distribution is a much more effective away of manipulating public perception while maintaining the illusions of personal freedom and choice. The media’s truly the most powerful entity on earth when it comes to propaganda. Internet can facilitate the spread of facts and real life photos misrepresented in line with a certain agenda and supported by false generalisations such as “we are all good, they are all bad” etc.

media-manipulation
From www.whaleoil.co.nz

What can we do to counteract propaganda in our societies? Not all people can write anti-propaganda articles and make films like John Pilger. However we all can:

  • learn to critically evaluate everything we see and hear
  • teach our children to question everything and think critically
  • challenge our own beliefs and biases that we were brought up with
  • open our minds to new perspectives and points of view.
  • make friends with people from different cultural backgrounds to learn more about their lives and beliefs
  • engage in discussions with people from different cultural backgrounds to build relationships, improve understanding and dispell any existing myths and propaganda.
  • read and learn more about other cultures and other people.

I’m very grateful to all people the blogosphere who helped me to learn more about their cultures and beliefs and dispelled some of the myths I was brought up with. We are the world, we are the people, we are one great family. It is time to realise that a change can only come when we stand together as one.


Resources:

THE END

Bride of the Sun and Sister of the Moon

( from “Don Juan”  by Lord Byron, 1824)

A crowd of shivering slaves of every nation,
And age, and sex, were in the market ranged;
Each bevy with the merchant in his station:
Poor creatures! their good looks were sadly changed.
All save the blacks seem’d jaded with vexation,
From friends, and home, and freedom far estranged;
The negroes more philosophy display’d, —
Used to it, no doubt, as eels are to be flay’d…

Juan was juvenile, and thus was full,
As most at his age are, of hope and health;
Yet I must own he looked a little dull,
And now and then a tear stole down by stealth;
Perhaps his recent loss of blood might pull
His spirit down; and then the loss of wealth,
A mistress, and such comfortable quarters,
To be put up for auction amongst Tartars,

Were things to shake a stoic; ne’ertheless,
Upon the whole his carriage was serene:
His figure, and the splendour of his dress,
Of which some gilded remnants still were seen,
Drew all eyes on him, giving them to guess
He was above the vulgar by his mien;
And then, though pale, he was so very handsome;
And then — they calculated on his ransom…

Just now a black old neutral personage
Of the third sex stept up, and peering over
The captives, seem’d to mark their looks and age,
And capabilities, as to discover
If they were fitted for the purposed cage:
No lady e’er is ogled by a lover,
Horse by a blackleg, broadcloth by a tailor,
Fee by a counsel, felon by a jailor,

As is a slave by his intended bidder.
‘T is pleasant purchasing our fellow-creatures;
And all are to be sold, if you consider
Their passions, and are dext’rous; some by features
Are bought up, others by a warlike leader,
Some by a place — as tend their years or natures;
The most by ready cash — but all have prices,
From crowns to kicks, according to their vices.

The eunuch, having eyed them o’er with care,
Turn’d to the merchant, and begun to bid
First but for one, and after for the pair;
They haggled, wrangled, swore, too — so they did!
As though they were in a mere Christian fair
Cheapening an ox, an ass, a lamb, or kid;
So that their bargain sounded like a battle
For this superior yoke of human cattle…

The purchaser of Juan and acquaintance
Bore off his bargains to a gilded boat,
Embark’d himself and them, and off they went thence
As fast as oars could pull and water float;
They look’d like persons being led to sentence,
Wondering what next, till the caïque was brought
Up in a little creek below a wall
O’ertopp’d with cypresses, dark-green and tall…

Baba eyed Juan, and said, “Be so good
As dress yourself-” and pointed out a suit
In which a Princess with great pleasure would
Array her limbs; but Juan standing mute,
As not being in a masquerading mood,
Gave it a slight kick with his Christian foot;
And when the old negro told him to “Get ready,”
Replied, “Old gentleman, I’m not a lady.”

“What you may be, I neither know nor care,”
Said Baba; “but pray do as I desire:
I have no more time nor many words to spare.”
“At least,” said Juan, “sure I may enquire
The cause of this odd travesty?” — “Forbear,”
Said Baba, “to be curious; ‘t will transpire,
No doubt, in proper place, and time, and season:
I have no authority to tell the reason.” …

“I offer you a handsome suit of clothes:
A woman’s, true; but then there is a cause
Why you should wear them.” — “What, though my soul loathes
The effeminate garb?” — thus, after a short pause,
Sigh’d Juan, muttering also some slight oaths,
“What the devil shall I do with all this gauze?”
Thus he profanely term’d the finest lace
Which e’er set off a marriage-morning face…

One difficulty still remain’d — his hair
Was hardly long enough; but Baba found
So many false long tresses all to spare,
That soon his head was most completely crown’d,
After the manner then in fashion there;
And this addition with such gems was bound
As suited the ensemble of his toilet,
While Baba made him comb his head and oil it.

And now being femininely all array’d,
With some small aid from scissors, paint, and tweezers,
He look’d in almost all respects a maid,
And Baba smilingly exclaim’d, “You see, sirs,
A perfect transformation here display’d;
And now, then, you must come along with me, sirs,
That is — the Lady:” clapping his hands twice,
Four blacks were at his elbow in a trice.

“You, sir,” said Baba, nodding to the one,
‘Will please to accompany those gentlemen
To supper; but you, worthy Christian nun,
Will follow me: no trifling, sir; for when
I say a thing, it must at once be done.
What fear you? think you this a lion’s den?
Why, ‘t is a palace; where the truly wise
Anticipate the Prophet’s paradise…

Before they enter’d, Baba paused to hint
To Juan some slight lessons as his guide:
“If you could just contrive,” he said, “to stint
That somewhat manly majesty of stride,
‘T would be as well, and (though there’s not much in ‘t)
To swing a little less from side to side,
Which has at times an aspect of the oddest; —
And also could you look a little modest,

“‘T would be convenient; for these mutes have eyes
Like needles, which may pierce those petticoats;
And if they should discover your disguise,
You know how near us the deep Bosphorus floats;
And you and I may chance, ere morning rise,
To find our way to Marmora without boats,
Stitch’d up in sacks — a mode of navigation
A good deal practised here upon occasion.”

With this encouragement, he led the way
Into a room still nobler than the last;
A rich confusion form’d a disarray
In such sort, that the eye along it cast
Could hardly carry anything away,
Object on object flash’d so bright and fast;
A dazzling mass of gems, and gold, and glitter,
Magnificently mingled in a litter…

In this imperial hall, at distance lay
Under a canopy, and there reclined
Quite in a confidential queenly way,
A lady; Baba stopp’d, and kneeling sign’d
To Juan, who though not much used to pray,
Knelt down by instinct, wondering in his mind,
What all this meant: while Baba bow’d and bended
His head, until the ceremony ended.

The lady rising up with such an air
As Venus rose with from the wave, on them
Bent like an antelope a Paphian pair
Of eyes, which put out each surrounding gem;
And raising up an arm as moonlight fair,
She sign’d to Baba, who first kiss’d the hem
Of her deep purple robe, and speaking low,
Pointed to Juan who remain’d below.

Her presence was as lofty as her state;
Her beauty of that overpowering kind,
Whose force description only would abate:
I’d rather leave it much to your own mind,
Than lessen it by what I could relate
Of forms and features; it would strike you blind
Could I do justice to the full detail;
So, luckily for both, my phrases fail…

She spake some words to her attendants, who
Composed a choir of girls, ten or a dozen,
And were all clad alike; like Juan, too,
Who wore their uniform, by Baba chosen;
They form’d a very nymph-like looking crew,
Which might have call’d Diana’s chorus “cousin,”
As far as outward show may correspond;
I won’t be bail for anything beyond…

The lady eyed him o’er and o’er, and bade
Baba retire, which he obey’d in style,
As if well used to the retreating trade;
And taking hints in good part all the while,
He whisper’d Juan not to be afraid,
And looking on him with a sort of smile,
Took leave, with such a face of satisfaction
As good men wear who have done a virtuous action.

When he was gone, there was a sudden change:
I know not what might be the lady’s thought,
But o’er her bright brow flash’d a tumult strange,
And into her dear cheek the blood was brought,
Blood-red as sunset summer clouds which range
The verge of Heaven; and in her large eyes wrought,
A mixture of sensations might be scann’d,
Of half voluptuousness and half command.

Her form had all the softness of her sex,
Her features all the sweetness of the devil,
When he put on the cherub to perplex
Eve, and paved (God knows how) the road to evil;
The sun himself was scarce more free from specks
Than she from aught at which the eye could cavil;
Yet, somehow, there was something somewhere wanting,
As if she rather order’d than was granting…

Her very smile was haughty, though so sweet;
Her very nod was not an inclination;
There was a self-will even in her small feet,
As though they were quite conscious of her station —
They trod as upon necks; and to complete
Her state (it is the custom of her nation),
A poniard deck’d her girdle, as the sign
She was a sultan’s bride (thank Heaven, not mine!)…

Whate’er she saw and coveted was brought;
Whate’er she did not see, if she supposed
It might be seen, with diligence was sought,
And when ‘t was found straightway the bargain closed;
There was no end unto the things she bought,
Nor to the trouble which her fancies caused;
Yet even her tyranny had such a grace,
The women pardon’d all except her face.

Juan, the latest of her whims, had caught
Her eye in passing on his way to sale;
She order’d him directly to be bought,
And Baba, who had ne’er been known to fail
In any kind of mischief to be wrought,
At all such auctions knew how to prevail:
She had no prudence, but he had; and this
Explains the garb which Juan took amiss…

But to the main point, where we have been tending: —
She now conceived all difficulties past,
And deem’d herself extremely condescending
When, being made her property at last,
Without more preface, in her blue eyes blending
Passion and power, a glance on him she cast,
And merely saying, “Christian, canst thou love?”
Conceived that phrase was quite enough to move.

At length, in an imperial way, she laid
Her hand on his, and bending on him eyes
Which needed not an empire to persuade,
Look’d into his for love, where none replies:
Her brow grew black, but she would not upbraid,
That being the last thing a proud woman tries;
She rose, and pausing one chaste moment, threw
Herself upon his breast, and there she grew…

This was an awkward test, as Juan found,
But he was steel’d by sorrow, wrath, and pride:
With gentle force her white arms he unwound,
And seated her all drooping by his side,
Then rising haughtily he glanced around,
And looking coldly in her face, he cried,
“The prison’d eagle will not pair, nor I
Serve a Sultana’s sensual phantasy.

“Thou ask’st if I can love? be this the proof
How much I have loved — that I love not thee!
In this vile garb, the distaff, web, and woof,
Were fitter for me: Love is for the free!
I am not dazzled by this splendid roof,
Whate’er thy power, and great it seems to be;
Heads bow, knees bend, eyes watch around a throne,
And hands obey — our hearts are still our own.” …

A tigress robb’d of young, a lioness,
Or any interesting beast of prey,
Are similes at hand for the distress
Of ladies who can not have their own way;
But though my turn will not be served with less,
These don’t express one half what I should say:
For what is stealing young ones, few or many,
To cutting short their hopes of having any? …

If I said fire flash’d from Gulbeyaz’ eyes,
‘T were nothing — for her eyes flash’d always fire;
Or said her cheeks assumed the deepest dyes,
I should but bring disgrace upon the dyer,
So supernatural was her passion’s rise;
For ne’er till now she knew a check’d desire:
Even ye who know what a check’d woman is
(Enough, God knows!) would much fall short of this.

Her rage was but a minute’s, and ‘t was well —
A moment’s more had slain her; but the while
It lasted ‘t was like a short glimpse of hell:
Nought’s more sublime than energetic bile,
Though horrible to see yet grand to tell,
Like ocean warring ‘gainst a rocky isle;
And the deep passions flashing through her form
Made her a beautiful embodied storm…

Her first thought was to cut off Juan’s head;
Her second, to cut only his — acquaintance;
Her third, to ask him where he had been bred;
Her fourth, to rally him into repentance;
Her fifth, to call her maids and go to bed;
Her sixth, to stab herself; her seventh, to sentence
The lash to Baba: — but her grand resource
Was to sit down again, and cry of course…

Juan was moved; he had made up his mind
To be impaled, or quarter’d as a dish
For dogs, or to be slain with pangs refined,
Or thrown to lions, or made baits for fish,
And thus heroically stood resign’d,
Rather than sin — except to his own wish:
But all his great preparatives for dying
Dissolved like snow before a woman crying…

So he began to stammer some excuses;
But words are not enough in such a matter,
Although you borrow’d all that e’er the muses
Have sung, or even a Dandy’s dandiest chatter,
Or all the figures Castlereagh abuses;
Just as a languid smile began to flatter
His peace was making, but before he ventured
Further, old Baba rather briskly enter’d.

“Bride of the Sun! and Sister of the Moon!”
(‘T was thus he spake) “and Empress of the Earth!
Whose frown would put the spheres all out of tune,
Whose smile makes all the planets dance with mirth,
Your slave brings tidings — he hopes not too soon —
Which your sublime attention may be worth:
The Sun himself has sent me like a ray,
To hint that he is coming up this way.”…

 

( Photo by NeoromantikA )

She married her handsome prince and they lived happily ever after…

I’m sure you’ve seen this meme in lots of fairy tales. A dream of so many Cinderellas. Is life with princes really so sweet and happy? With some princes it might be, but with others… let’s have a look at a few real life stories.

Praskovya (1767 – 1803)
( Photo from www.russia.rin.ru )

“I felt the most tender and passionate feelings for her” – Sheremetev wrote about Praskovya in 1809. … Not that it started out that way.

The young count was fond of hunting and of chasing girls: and until his father died in 1788, when he took up the running of the family estates, Nikolai Petrovich spent most of his time in these sensual pursuits. The young squire often claimed his “rights” over the serf girls. During the day, while they were at work, he would go around the rooms of the girls on the estate and drop a handkerchief through the window of his chosen one. That night he would visit her and, before he left, would ask her to return his handkerchief. …

It is not exactly clear when the count and Praskovya became de facto “man and wife”. To begin with, she was only one of several serf “divas” given special treatment by her master. He named his favourite singers and dancers after jewels – “the Emerald” (Kovaleva), “The Garnet” (Shlykova) and “The Pearl” (Praskovya)… Everything suggests that they were the count’s harem – not least the fact that just before his marriage to Praskovya he had the rest of them married off and gave them all dowries. …

By the beginning of the 1790s Praskovya had become Sheremetev’s unofficial wife. It was no longer just the pleasures of the flesh that attracted him to her but, as he said, the beauty of her mind and soul as well. For the next ten years the count would remain torn between his love for her and his own high position in society. He felt that it was morally wrong not to marry Praskovya but his aristocratic pride would not allow him to do so. Marriages to serfs were extremely rare in the status-obsessed culture of the eighteenth-century Russian aristocracy … and unthinkable for a nobleman as rich and grand as him…

In the theatre the public sympathized with the unequal lovers and applauded the basic Enlightment ideal that informed such works: that all people are equal. But it did not take the same view in real life… Praskovyas situation was extremely difficult. Resented by the serfs, she was also shunned by society. It was only through her strength of character that she managed to retain her dignity.”

( from Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes )

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Jan van Leyden (1509-1536)
from www.answers.com

The Dutch Anabaptist Jan Van Leyden (John of Leiden 1509-1536) led the Anabaptist attempt to establish by force a “kingdom of God” in Münster, Germany. They terrorized the rest of the citizens, also in the name of equality but equal under John the despot, who kept a harem. The kingdom satisfied one of the recurrent dreams of the occidental mind: community of goods and of women.

The traditional story of the introduction of polygamy in Münster is that van Leyden introduced polygamy to satisfy his lust for Jan Matthijas’ wife Divara. There are also stories that tell of van Leyden being seen sneaking into the rooms of a woman other than his wife and introducing polygamy to legitimate his actions. Adding to the evidence suggesting that van Leyden’s personal desires were at play is the fact that he took more wives than any other citizen in Münster, eighteen.

One of the most important social factors leading to the introduction of polygamy was the imbalance between numbers of men and women in the city of Münster after the ejection of those who refused baptism. Estimates are that in 1534, almost three-quarters of the adult population of Münster was female. Many women who had lived in Münster prior to the expulsion of those who refused to submit to adult baptism were left when their husbands were expelled from the city. It appears that the women were not forcibly expelled with the men. Their husbands often left them in Münster with their children to maintain the household and businesses until the men were able to return. Although some of these women may have had sympathies with the Anabaptists, many of them are likely to have desired the return of exiled men. These women will have been seen as threats to the stability of the Anabaptist control of Münster.

Something was going to shift in the role women played in society. The situation could, for instance, have turned into a moment in history when women were granted additional rights and responsibilities in society. But with Jan van Leyden’s theology greater freedom for women was not in the cards.

On July 23, 1534, Jan van Leyden announced the institution of polygamy. He ordered that all marriages contracted under the previous system were no longer valid. All single women were to be married, including those whose husbands were no longer around. A man who impregnated his wife was required to take another, and a third if he impregnated the second.

John’s name still lives on in the Netherlands in the saying ‘zich met een Jan(tje) van Leiden van iets afmaken’, which means ‘getting something done with pretty but empty words’.

(from www.answers.com )

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Lev Tolstoy 1828 – 1910

“Tolstoy’s diaries are filled with details of his conquests of the female serfs on his estate – a diary he presented, according to the custom, to his bride Sonya on the eve of their wedding… In addition to the thirteen children Sonya bore, there were at least a dozen other children fathered by him in the villages of his estate.

Sonya was eighteen when she married Tolstoy – rather young by European standards but not by Russian ones. Eighteen was in fact the average age of marriage for women in nineteenth-century Russia – far younger than even in those pre-industrial parts of western Europe.

Later Tolstoy would confess that he had ‘acted badly and cruelly – as every husband acts towards his wife. I gave her all the hard work, the so-called “women’s work”, and went hunting or enjoyed myself.”

( from Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia by Orlando Figes )

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Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria
1899 – 1953

Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Soviet politician and chief of the Soviet security and police apparatus. Beria is now remembered chiefly as the executor of Joseph Stalin’s Great Purge of the 1930s, even though he actually presided only over the closing stages of the purge. He was in charge of the Katyn executions, where over 22,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia were murdered.

Charges of sexual assault and sexual sadism against Beria were first made in the speech by a Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Nikolay Shatalin, at the Plenary Meeting of the committee on July 10, 1953, two weeks after Beria’s arrest. Shatalin said that Beria had had sexual relations with numerous women and that he had contracted syphilis as a result of his sex with prostitutes. Shatalin referred to a list (supposedly kept by Beria’s bodyguard) of over 25 women with whom Beria had sex. Over time, however, the charges became more dramatic. Khrushchev in his posthumously published memoirs wrote: “We were given a list of more than 100 names of women. They were dragged to Beria by his people. And he had the same trick for them all: all who got to his house for the first time, Beria would invite for a dinner and would propose to drink for the health of Stalin. And in wine, he would mix in some sleeping pills…” Afterwards he would drop off his charge and the chaffuer would give them a boquet of flowers. One pregnant victim, having refused his advances, was accidentally given the flowers. On noticing Beria shouted “it’s not a boquet, it’s a wreath. May they rot on your grave”. She was later arrested.

By the 1980s, the sexual assault stories about Beria included the rape of teenage girls. The author Anton Antonov-Ovseenko, who wrote a biography of Beria, mentions in an interview a specific sexual game Beria is said to have forced upon young girls before picking one of them to be raped. This alleged practice got the name “Beria’s Flower Game”.

Numerous stories have circulated over the years involving Beria personally beating, torturing and killing his victims.

( from Wikipedia )

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Uday

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti
18 June 1964 – 22 July 2003

Uday Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti (Arabic: عُدي صدّام حُسين‎) was the eldest son of Saddam Hussein from his first wife, Sajida Talfah, and the brother of Qusay Hussein.

He was a monster even by the standards of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a sadist with a taste for cruelty so extreme that even his father was forced to acknowledge that his first-born son would not be a worthy heir.

Uday’s excesses carried over in his private life where he had a reputation for ordering any girl or woman who caught his eye to be brought to his private pleasure dome.

A report released on 20 March 2003, one day after the American led invasion of Iraq, by ABC news detailed several allegations against Uday, including:

  • Kidnapping young Iraqi women from the streets in order to rape them. Uday was known to intrude on parties and otherwise “discover” women whom he would later rape. Time published an article in 2003 detailing his sexual brutality.
  • Beating an army officer unconscious when the man refused to allow Uday to dance with his wife; the man later died of his injuries. Uday also shot and killed an army officer who did not salute him.

From Wikipedia and
Uday: career of rape, torture and murder

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Russian proverb from the “good old days”: “Do not promote me to Corporal, but do not touch my wife”

Ox
( Photo by blast99 )

THE END