Archive | April, 2015

My first impressions of “Carthage”

23 Apr

I am currently reading the book “Carthage” written by Joyce Carol Oates, and so far am I enjoying it. The book is about a girl who has gone missing in a small town called Carthage. Her dad is a former mayor and a well-known lawyer in town, and her whole family has a good reputation.

carthage

I still have not found out what happened to the girl and am really intrigued to know what happened. She was with her sisters ex-fiance before she disappeared, and the police have found blood in his car. But I am not sure if he is the reason for her disappearance. I got a bit confused when the story suddenly changed the angle, and we got to know the sister of the missing girl. The sister is going on about her wedding, and talking to her fiance, but she never seems to get any response. Bur later on it gets a bit clearer as we get to know that he is a war veteran. He has not managed to leave the war in Iraq behind and is tremendously affected by what he saw.

So far am I really enjoying all the twists and turns in the book. When I start to think that I have the solution to the mystery, Oates manages to make me get a whole new perspective of the suspects. I also like that the book isn’t written from the police or a detective’s point of view, but the families.

My first impression of the book is good, and I am looking forward to finishing it, and finding out what actually happened in Carthage!

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The miners’ strike and gay rights in the UK in 1980’s

23 Apr

In 1984 over half of the UKs 187 000 mineworkers were on strike because the government was going to close 20 uneconomic pits, putting 20,000 miners out of work. The UK Miner’s strike lasted from 1884-1985 and affected the British coal industry and the rest of the society. National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) considered the strike to be unconstitutional; the BBC described as “the most bitter industrial dispute in British history”.

miners

The strike ended on 3 March 1985. As a result of the disagreements, the miners went back to work, and it was a defining moment in British industrial relations and it weakened the British trade union movement. Fun fact: another outcome of the strike was the world’s best musicals, “Billy Elliot”! (No offense Cats, Mamma Mia, Rock of Ages and The Lion King).

Margaret “Maggi” Thatcher was Britain’s Prime Minister during this time period, representing the conservative party, from 1979-1990. She has been one of history’s most controversial leaders. She was loved and hated while she lead the country to either heaven or hell. During her time alive, she did several thing to change history, 5 of them are:

  1. She was the first female Prime Minister, in the UK
  2. She created and popularized “Thatcherism.”
  3. She led Britain in the Falklands War.
  4. She helped end the Cold War
  5. She won the respect of her critics

Gay rights in the UK during the 1980’s

The 1980’s where a year of setbacks for the gay community in the UK. The Thatcher government created Clause 28 of the Local Government Act, making it illegal for local authorities to support anything that could possibly promote homosexual relationships. The fear of HIV and AIDS dominated the society and they did not have a lot of knowledge about how the disease actually spreads. People were scared and when they read about HIV in the papers the disease and the gay community were often mentioned in the same articles. This contributed to a general fear of the gay community and it was not easy to be openly gay during this time period. In1985 a new law made it illegal “to commit an act of gross indecency with another male, in public or private.” People were prosecuted for homosexual acts in 1985 and sentenced to imprisonment.

The writer Oscar Wilde were sentenced to two years in prison. But Wilde’s literary reputation saved him and he became an inspiration to several generations of gay men who were forced to hid their sexuality.

“Pride”

Today we watched the movie “Pride”, about the miner strike in the UK from 1984-95 and the gay and lesbian community during this time. The movie is about a group of gays and lesbians who sees that the minors who are on strike are being treated just like them by the police. They want to help and starts up an organization called lesbian and gay support the minors or LGSM.

It all starts during the pride parade in London in 1984, a small group of people chooses to show their support to the minors during the parade. They are walking with buckets and raise money as they go. A lot of people are against the gay community, but they manage to raise over 200pounds to support the minors families. The group identifies a small village in Wales who wants to accept their help. They went off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on for almost a year, the LGSM and the minors with their families discover that standing together makes them the strongest union of all.

pridepride 2

Even though the two groups faces several difficult challenges during their time together, they manage to stay supportive of each other. The LGSM had a hard time in London and in the small town in Wales. One time someone threw briks and fireworks into the house where they were having a meeting. And the minors got in trouble for excepting the help they were getting from the LGSM.

What amazes me with this movie is that it is inspired by a true story. It is inspiring to see how two completely different groups of society can come together and show solidarity and work together towards a set goal.

Sources:

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/06/how-miners-strike-1984-85-changed-britain-ever

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/march/12/newsid_2540000/2540175.stm

http://archive.museumoflondon.org.uk/RWWC/Themes/1161/

Modern slavery in the US

9 Apr

United States imprisons more black people than the apartheid regime. Despite only counting for a total of 13% of the US population one in three people arrested for possession of drugs are black. Why is that ratio so different? Marlon Peterson, PR-director at The Frontier Society, says that today’s prison is the natural continuation of the Jim-Crow laws which in turn was a continuation of the slavery. The Jim-Crow laws were laws that enforced racial segregation. Today’s modern slavery comes in the form of the life people get after prison, what they are allowed to and what rights they have.

(Caption: Jim-Crow laws – racial segregation)

 

It is really difficult to get a normal life after serving time in jail. The majority of black americans in jail are from lower parts of society and needs help from the State, but are not able to get this after being giving the stamp of a former felon. In jail, you lose your right to vote, and all rights to accept social help. You also get a lot of bills from your time in jail. Without a job or a place to stay, most people have to embrace a new life on the street as homeless. All of this makes it almost impossible to get a normal life after serving time. It’s also really hard to get a job, as you are obligated to inform your employer about your past. This makes it harder to get jobs with good pay, and it’s almost impossible to make a living of your own. Even though you have finished your punishment for what you have done, the society keeps punishing you.

Modern slavery doesn’t come in the same form that slavery did 250 years ago. Today, slavery is something you may experience after ending one’s prison sentence. Many of your rights may be removed and help to get one back on one’s feet is not present.

Sources:

http://www.aftenposten.no/fakta/innsikt/USA-fengsler-flere-av-sine-svarte-borgere-enn-apartheidregimet-i-Sor-Afrika–7968873.html

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/JimCrowInDurhamNC.jpg