I am in the Heathrow Airport with absolutely nothing interesting to report. The flight here, all nine plus hours of it, was perfect, not a bump, not a baby screaming anywhere let alone in my ear, and a perfect pleasant seatmate who slept a lot and was pleasant when we wanted to talk.
Of course, I left my books to read en route and in Botswana on my living room table, but I am grateful that is all I left behind. I bought three at the Vancouver Airport including one on the neuroplastcity of the brain, which has always intrigued me. My seat mate, medical worker in a neurological trauma treatment unit in Bristol was just reading it as well. I also picked up the book, Infidel, by Aryan Hirsi Ali, the Somali woman who has been politically active breaking all customs and female dictates that she grew up with and spoke out against some of the traditional Islamic treatments of women, especially genital cutting as she refers to it. She left Somalia, fleeing an unhappy marriage she was forced into at a young age, seeking a new life and refugee status in the Netherlands.
Eventually successful, she lived in the Netherlands for a number of years and was elected to the Dutch parliament. After the murder of Theo Van Gogh by an Islamist, who threatened that she would be next, she left for the USA where she lives and works today.
All that to tell you, that I am very interested in stories like hers. It is linked to HIV / AIDS as I read in a speech by Stephen Lewis on femicide by brutal rape as practiced more and more in brutal regimes , and currently in the Congo, as a way of destabilizing the whole society – as women are the backbone of it and hold it together while men are forced into combat or killed. The women are so brutalized, they are rendered zombies, living in a permanent state of catatonia. A big part of this is that the women are often infected with HIV by the marauding and barbaric invaders, leaving them no incentive to seek help, (if any is even available) and recover from the deep, deep psychic trauma they suffered.
It is linked to my prospective work in Botswana with WAR (Women Against Rape) which also seeks to reduce the trauma suffered by raped women, to educate on the phenomenon and to alleviate the suffering, including the impact of HIV infection.