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The female dehumanizing ‘Jungle’ that is Yarl’s Wood

Yarl’s Wood – a short film by Lynne Parks – is long on significance and impact on the criminalization of female migrants.  Gateshakers, protesters and interviews – both male and female – form the line-up of voices for this mostly female-centered vivid film.

Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre is a detention center in Bedfordshire for foreign nationals prior to their deportation from the United Kingdom. It is only one of 13 such centers currently in the UK, and it is overwhelmingly female.  Sadly.

Young Amina Rafique, who looks barely 16 in the film, was trafficked into the UK from Pakistan as a domestic slave by her father after he killed her mother.  She is one of the females now on the outside rooting for insiders. She encourages them to ‘not give up hope’ by telling them about her own experience in the Yarl’s Wood Detention Center.

Amina is grateful for having been on the inside. Grateful to have collected evidence to expose it in order to fight for asylum seekers still inside Yarl’s Wood prison. It is both impressive and miraculous that she can look at her imprisonment in such a positive light in that dehumanizing center. It is also heartbreaking.  For those who challenge the system and speak up, they become targets of systemic violence and more silencing (V. Canning at ). How was Amina able to look away from the rapes and abuse, and the silenced survivors of, and witnesses to, sexual abuse, the deaths of both children and adults, and the hunger strikes for the time she was there in 2012 and 2013?
Once you have seen the film, the words of young Amina’s advice to her refugee sisters still locked inside that English “First World” prison echo and stay with you:
            “We are not criminals, and seeking asylum is not a crime”.



The whole truth on climate change in one image

No caption or text required. 

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Bravo Davide Bonazzi.

The twitterate attacks of London

Only days after the Manchester blast claimed the lives of 22 comes another attack, leaving 7 dead, and 48 injured in London, and the leader of the free world, also the president of the united states of America, has these words to offer:  

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As usual, trump’s info is wrong, misconstrued, and taken out of context:

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Notwithstanding, trump continues his rant on twitter, exercising “his” freedom of speech, as though he lives in a world far removed from everyone and everything occurring:

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At a time like this when the country are in mourning for those lost and injured and it’s also the month of Ramadan people are  finding themselves having to lash out against trump instead:

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Trump criticizes the attacks especially because the mayor is Muslim, which he confuses with terrorist because… covfefe:

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And as if it is not bad enough, to make matters worse :

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How concerned people/civilians reacted to this recent terror and loss of lives:

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How other leaders and presidents reacted to the bombings:

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Why so many tweets? “BECAUSE, president trump,  it is not a Muslim ‘thing’ just as 9/11 wasn’t”:

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But, one of the biggest realities emerging out of the many tweets from trump comments posted carelessly, haphazardly and heartlessly reveal a far deadlier matter:

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Grooming & sex trafficking in Trinidad

What do we look for when we search for a ‘trafficked’ girl?

Or a “victim” as most people – in and out of law – like to call them?

Or “persons” as some, like minister Gary Griffith [Minister of National Security [] calls them?

That varies according to location, culture, and country.  But the ones who traffic girls almost always seem to have the same profile.  Most of us – especially in law and order – will agree that a trafficker is a universal looking perpetrator. But that also depends on country, culture and location.

Why are girls so often trafficked without stop when we know sometimes the place from which they are trafficked? One girl who was trafficked, Storm Catalleya from Ohio, has an answer that few law and order authorities think about.  Yet, many serious and interesting TV shows, movies and even documentaries on “truth” still mainly concentrate on the perps rather than the girls kidnapped, and hardly explore why the girls are easy prey. But, Cattaleya singles out the major cause for human trafficking as grooming. While the word ‘grooming’ may conjure up all sorts of nice connotations for dogs, cats, lawns or people, grooming in the human traffic domain has zero to do with anything positive!

Cattaleya was not kidnapped like a lot of trafficked girls; she was groomed []. Groomed from her church pastor whom she and parents trusted. In fact, she was groomed all her life from childhood right up to college where the abuse continued. Because of grooming. She did not realize what was happening, and did not recognize it as grooming until almost too late.

In Trinidad, girls from 12 to 18 years of age are disappearing everywhere in school uniforms and plain clothes. In broad daylight! Latina girls are brought into the country at the same time these Trinidadian girls are missing. The rate at which these missing Trinidadians and arriving Latinas are occurring is beginning to look like some sinister, horrid exchange program! And at the same time guns and narcs are entering Trinidad and this question begs : are these three issues connected because in all three cases the authorities cannot legally sign documents to hire sex traffickers, bring in narcs and guns?

Traffickers are paid between $5,000 TT to $50,000 TT per girl. And what makes it worse – and girls more traffickable – is the trafficking movement from the streets to the web. Men can now lure under-aged girls from 13 or younger on the web, without being found, especially as not much effort is put into searching for them on the streets. Adrian Alexander [president of CURB [Caribbean Umbrella Body for Restorative Behavior] reports that on the streets of Trinidad girls are picked out like a piece of meat in Port of Spain on Ariapita Avenue.

Ministers and organizations are knowledgeable about the problem of missing girls – everyone else on the web is! – but are doing too little. If that is the case, what can others do? Local institutions, citizens, school programs, and parents to help eradicate the problem if governmental authorities are prioritizing finding our girls? We cannot rely anymore on the-wait-and-see approach of the government in Trinidad and Tobago which allows perps to traffic girls by turning a blind eye. We must adopt a hands-on approach. We must talk about trafficking and make girls see how to avoid it because without making them aware and talking about it, trafficking is NOT going to change its dirty hands.

What makes matters worse is the silence that this macho society perpetuates by the language and attitude used about and after girls are trafficked. Some feel that the girls kidnapped are not worth finding because “they looking for man’ but they fail to see how they themselves groom their daughters to put up with patriarchal slavery. These parents are perpetuating girls’ vulnerability by their religious subservience, flawed gendered tradition, macho attitude and patriarchal behavior of shaming girls and name-calling them into more subservience, which is all also part of the grooming process. We must therefore change our language and attitude towards these missing girls who are being trafficked out of the country while bring others into the country. Whether Latina or Trinidadian we must stop calling these girls names and blaming them for ‘looking for it’. We must stop calling them ‘victims’. They are not victims! They are survivors when they are found, and must not to be shamed into silence or other forms of bondage by marrying them off, or not airing their cases for other girls to hear about, and instead further silence them. The ensuing result is more girls kidnapped without a trace.

The late activist William Latchman of CURB believed that the trade could stop with good men – and women and girls of course – but that Trinidad and Tobago is a “coward society” and turns a blind eye.

Some of the girls missing include: Angel Ash, 15 since 6 July 2017

'**** STILL MISSING **** ANGEL ASH, age 15 missing since 7:30am 6th July 2017. Last seen on her way to school (Sangre Grande Secondary). If you have any information please contact 800-TIPS, 555 or 999. ***** PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE*****'

  • MERLENA JAMES, the 13yr old Form 2 pupil of Holy Name Convent Pt Fortin was last seen on Saturday 8th July 2017

Image may contain: one or more people

  • JANIKA HARRIS, age 16 of Cumuto, last seen on 27th June 2017
  • Jordan Bazzey 16 last seen 28 June 2017

'****MISSING **** JORDAN BAZZEY, age 16 , last seen on 28th June 2017. Please call 555, 999, 669-1020 (Piarco Police Station) or 800-TIPS with any information. ***** PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE *****'

  • Angel and Niana Farrel, 16 and 15; Parbatie Ragbir , 15 and Sumitra Jaikaran, 16 – who all disappeared on 17 may 2017 and were found on 22 may 2017

  • 12 year old Alisha Francis and 15 year old Arianne Sylvester went missing in may 2017
  • Shania Ali, 16, Semoy Ramdhanie, 13, ArielCharles, 15, and Shaniyah McDonald, 15 who were taken from a children’s home in april 2017
  • Melissa Samlal 15 last seen on 30 Jan 2017Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

  • Anessa Scipio, Age 15. Reported missing on April 19th, 2016
Image may contain: one or more people and closeup

  • 19 yr old Shizelle Hernandez was kidnapped 2011
  • there are videos gone viral circulating freely on some girls kidnapped and forced into porn

Some of these girls who were found by a few good women and men: Ajeda Daimond Patrick 15, sapphire Charles 15, Makayla Bobcombe 16 and Tamika Ramgoolam 16, Shania Lai 16, Semoy Ramdhanie, 13.

We might also learn from other countries to stop this crime through schools. In the US, many years ago, the school board decided to make sex education available to students as young as 11 in public schools, to make them aware not only of the dangers or early pregnancy or STDs, but more importantly to make girls and boys aware of their bodies and unwanted touching etc. Girls are made aware and taught to say ‘no’ to inappropriate behavior and to report things to school administration if something inappropriate happens that makes them uncomfortable. This is the reverse of grooming.

If the girls kidnapped were empowered with this form of anti-grooming education what possibilities they could have had! What if they had known what to expect, or what to do from early on? What possibilities would they have had they been groomed by parents to avoid pitfalls by understanding the manipulative tactics that men use on streets, in churches, in homes of family members and in temples and online to lure them?

Girls can become powerful collaborators instead of victims with education, because KNOWLEDGE MAKES A GIRL UNFIT TO BE A SLAVE [Frederick Douglas]. Or teach them karate, ju jitsu etc! But Grooming of girls, consciously or unconsciously, remains a strong force in Trinidad and produces a slave out of her, and an easy prey to sex traffic. Structural upbringing is a force that stays with us.

Please join crime stoppers to stop our girls from being kidnapped and/or peddled into sex trafficking and call 800-TIPS, 800 8477 anonymously, or contact the police at 555, 999, 911 or any police station. And please use your social media consciously to expose sexual predators.



Angela Davis, we honor you.

It comes as no surprise that Dr. Angela Davis was speaking out at the Women’s March on January 21, joining her voice with the millions that are in opposition to a white supremacist administra…

Source: Angela Davis, we honor you.

Voices & hands of women, men, kids and animals of all walks of american life on 1.21.17

One day after the Trump inauguration a whole gender of Americans marched in solidarity against potus [Aziz Ansari  SNL]. Across the country and across the world.
This message of solidarity flew in the sky ave New York as women, men, children and animals covered the ground.
These are some of the messages that touched my ex-immigrantly and writerly soul:

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Russians are coming [not for trump!] 

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Butlerian woman who braved the cold: 


Kids & animals protesting their dim future; sadly the climate couldn’t walk to protest: 

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And some images I saw in a flash & couldn’t shoot because of the hordes of crowds, but which remember:

Unpresident  him                   diversely we stand 

 Hands too small. can’t build wall                 Not mein fuhrer

A photo a friend & colleague shot and gave me as we are both at a public univ:

IMG_4453.jpg     Fred Baitinger in the flesh @ Washington March 1.21.17

And some I saw from other marches that I absolutely appreciate & love:

wall.jpg tad walch

trump 2.jpg dave mosher

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I cannot find sources for these two amazing images.

Image: Demonstrators gather in Los Angeles for a sister-march to the Women's March in Washington, DC, Jan. 21, 2017.phil mccausland

Image result for make america gay again washington women's marchchristina aldehuela

The marches and images around the country and world prove clearly that Trump’s transition wasn’t final when Obama classily handed him over to the American people on 1.20.17. because the next day – and even before – women descended on his regime in loud protests. This transition is going to be a long one.
And since the first lady fill-in has no feminist agenda for us women except as a glammed-up “post feminist huckster selling us male power” [Jill Filipovic’s expression], and since it IS a march for women, and by women that includes men – because it is NOT divisive! –  I’ll end with my own image and words, hoping that they don’t fall on deaf ears:

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wall of resistance – union square

Today New Yorkers put down their devices and took to the walls to resist on post its! 

Wall of resistance 1 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.

The wall of resistance 2 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.

The wall of resistance 3 from CHANDRA BALKARAN on Vimeo.