I’ve always been fascinated with words and phrases, their meanings and histories. The latest one to grab my attention is “Holodomore,” meaning death by hunger. This word comes from the Ukraine in the 1930’s when the Soviet-contrived famine known as the Holodomore killed millions of Ukrainian peasants. Sara Topol in Harper’s Magazine describes the 1932 Soviet attempt to enforce collective farming by expropriating grain from unwilling peasants and preventing them from traveling elsewhere in search of food, effectively starving them into submission. Across the Ukraine, as well as parts of Russia and Kazakhstan, millions died. Reportedly, parents ate their children, and children ate their parents. A horrific and ugly tale.
I recently read Frederick Forsyth’s, The Afghan. Carrying on the tradition of intrigue, international spying and espionage, duplicity and murder Forsyth laid down in Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, and Dogs of War, The Afghan addresses the current dilemma of terrorism. Colonel Mike Martin is called out of retirement to disguise himself as an Afghan warrior, penetrate an extremist cell, and prevent a Jihad disaster. A deadly cat-and-mouse game ensues.
Forsyth’s research into and explication of the rise of various fundamentalist splinter groups advocating terror and Jihad is impressive and a must read for anyone trying to understand the unfolding drama in the Middle East.
It’s a hell of an exciting read and it gets a 5-star rating from me.
America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, has five percent of the world’s population and 33 percent of the world’s women prisoners. It’s estimated that of these incarcerated women, three to five percent are pregnant. When staff from In These Times sought information about their care and treatment, less than half of the institutions responded. When pressed, many refused outright.
From interviews with individual women prisoners, a picture emerged of frequent medical neglect–and when it was given, it was often inadequate. Dietary needs were typically ignored and they were told to make do with regular prison food, which in itself is barely adequate and often borders on the inedible.
After giving birth–a process often done in restraints in spite of bans on the practice in some states–the infant is not infrequently taken away by child welfare workers and placed in foster care. Under the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act, if a child is in foster care for 15 of 22 months, the state must begin proceedings to terminate parental rights.
In flagrant disregard of the UN rules for the treatment of women prisoners, the US legal system rarely takes parenting and pregnancy into consideration.
I welcome your thoughts on this.
December 1, 2015 is the deadline for submission to the Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize. The entry fee is $10.00. The First Prize is $200.00 plus publication. 1500 words max.