The Prevailing Parade.

Speaking of which, our town had its Christmas Pageant last night, and it was delightful. Second Offspring was in the parade and loved it. As we got into the car to drive home, it was just starting to get dark, and the windmills on the hills in the west were silhouetted against the bright sunset. So great.

I hope your Sunday is shaping up to be a good one. I’m looking forward to a run with the dog and doing some baking to use up the three dozen eggs we seem to have accumulated…

Violence against women in India has seen widespread international media coverage, but what is inspiring from this film is that the women in question are fighting back. Another similar story from Germany tells of a Tugce, young woman going to the rescue of some girls who were being harrassed, with tragic consequences. The common thread here is that yes, women are standing up to violence against themselves, and against other women, but they are still very much on their own. Where was their backup? Where are the other voices, agreeing with them, challenging the attackers, asking why this is happening?

* * * * *

What does it mean to take money as sponsorship from an organisation? Todd Harper writes that by allowing Coca Cola to sponsor their annual scientific meeting, The Nutrition Society of Australia is assisting the soft drink company in ‘health-washing’ its product. But is that always the case? One argument may be that the company is contributing money to promote healthier diets, and in that sense, any money which helps an organisation like the Nutrition Society is good money. I’ll admit I’m far more cynical. I think we tend to overlook the way in which we as humans make associations, and if the Nutrition Society has a sponsor like Coca Cola, then people will assume that it’s not so bad to drink soft drinks. I agree with Harper that we need to consider how to encourage alternative financial support for organisations so that they don’t have to choose between viability and their ethics.

* * * * *

When we consider whistleblowers, we often think about what happens to the group or organisation to which they draw attention. This longform piece investigates the fallout for those who speak out against a problem they feel is so wrong, they can’t help but say something. From the self-doubt they feel, to the way the opinions of the public and the media shift around them, I admit that I didn’t take the time to think about the impact this has on the lives of people who are brave enough to take a stand.

* * * * *

Lastly, recent law changes in New South Wales will allow for the state to take away babies who are born to mothers addicted to drugs, or in abusive relationships, where the mothers refuse to go through drug rehabilitation programmes or help to get out (or improve) the violent living situation. I suppose I always worry about parents losing their children to state care – it seems like such a shame – but on the other hand, if it takes a village to raise a child, then it’s also the responsibility of the villagers to ensure that that child is safe, loved, and healthy. If the parents are unable to do this, then it truly is up to the rest of us. As one person in the comments mentions, however, for this to be effective, we need to demand that there really is the support for mothers who are looking for help. In particular, the closure of women’s shelters has many concerned that while such a law might promote the interests of children, the reality is that the help which is needed for abused women to keep their babies might not be there.

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6 thoughts on “The Prevailing Parade.

  1. Pingback: The Prevailing Parade. | ugiridharaprasad

  2. I liked this post … the theme of support being nicely illustrated by all the articles.

    I also think it is sad when men do not step in and do something when other men are threatening or harming women. Or children. Or other men. I have reacted to such situations in my past and I find myself wondering about the people who simply stand by and do nothing when they see someone in need. I once wrote, what seems like ages ago in another blog, that the quality of hospitality does not stop when we step outside our own homes: it is something that should become a part of our presence in general, we take it with us wherever we go, so that the people around us will regard our presence as a source of caring and safety.

    *****

    Coca-Cola sponsoring a nutrition society? Wouldn’t that be like McDonald’s sponsoring local Weight Watchers groups? The argument of just taking the resources offered and using them for a positive outcome is reflected in the question about whether or not the ends justify the means. I live with the perspective that there are no true ends, just different points along endless kinds of means. So for me, the ends cannot justify the means, as they do not exist: the means must justify themselves. In this case, the means revolve around money: some see that as an automatic justification for anything; others see it as quite the opposite.

    *****

    I think in many cases, touching on a theme I seem unable to get away from lately, the whistleblower is a kind of leader who takes on management. Unfortunately, the whistelblower (because in large part of the isolation the original article points out), is a leader that a majority of people tend not to follow.

    *****

    I like your last point, regarding the debate between a state’s right to step in on behalf of a child, and the right of parents to raise their children: you draw attention to a comment that offers a very important point, in that if the state is to be empowered to take children away from parents, the state should also be required to make sure at-risk parents are supported and given the tools they need to avoid situations in which the state might consider separation in a child’s best interests.

    • Thank you for you lengthy, considered response!

      Taking responsibility for each other… it takes effort, and I’m not sure people want to. It’s hard for us to do because it means drawing attention to ourselves and standing up and feeling exposed. But it’s so necessary, if we want to change anything.

      The junk food/health industry connection disturbs me as well. It’s as if they’re saying by way of all these donations: ‘Look, we’re not that bad! See how we’re helping out the good guys? That makes us good guys too!’

      But the association people make, the connection people make, means the junk food company looks better and the nutritionists look worse. It’s of benefit to the junk food industry, and of detriment to the health organisation receiving the money, and they know this.

  3. It is always sad when a child has to be taken from its parents, but of course, sometimes it is necessary. My fear is usually that you can not be sure whether the foster parents will treat the child well.

    • Yeah, sad but necessary. I’m sure there are a lot of foster families who do an outstanding job in difficult situations, as well. We seldom hear about them, and more about those who don’t (and it’s a shame those ones who don’t even exist at all).

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