Runaway teenage girls in songs


This 1979 video from England is the song Girl on the run by young punk singer Honey Bane.

Honey Bane herself was on the run from a Borstal-like prison.

Teenage girls sometimes have very good reasons to run away: domestic abuse, imprisonment, etc.

Then they often go from the countryside to cities.

However, in the cities, they may get new problems.

This 1982 music video from England is the song Strange little girl, by the Stranglers.

The song was written in 1975 but only came out seven years later. This means discrepancy between the song and the video. In 1975, there were not yet the punk girls with Mohican hairdos shown in the video.

There is also a discrepancy between lyrics like: ‘She’s feeling old/’Cause she found/All things cold’ and the video images of the runaway girl discovering new punk friends in the city. By the way, the tallest girl, with the red letters on her white t-shirt under her black leather jacket, on the right of the video: is the bass player/vocalist of Dutch band Cheap ‘n’ Nasty.

Trump wants even more far-right Supreme Court


This 23 September 2020 United States TV video is called What Amy Coney Barrett said about filling a Supreme Court seat in an election year.

From UltraViolet in the USA today:

News just broke that Donald Trump is going to name Amy Coney Barrett to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court.

We knew the pick would be bad. But this one is truly awful.

Preapproved by the far-right-wing Federalist Society, Barrett wants to dismantle, if not demolish, Roe v. Wade. She opposes birth control.1 She’s even ruled in favor of “separate but equal” accommodations on the basis of race.2

RBG hasn’t even been buried yet. We’re all still mourning her passing.3 But Trump is pushing forward with a stunningly hypocritical power grab just four years after Republicans blocked President Obama from filling a Supreme Court seat that came open in February of an election year. Let’s be clear, Barrett is a disaster for women’s rights and progress, and it’s an insult to the champion we had in RBG to confirm her to the Court.

Barrett would cement a 6–3 majority on the Court for decades, which would give them a generation or more to tear down RBG’s life’s work and take our nation backward. We can’t let that happen.

This is a five-alarm fire. Will you chip in $5 to help organize a massive outcry and stop Trump from replacing RBG with right-wing extremist Amy Coney Barrett?

Mere hours after learning of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, Mitch McConnell promised a vote on Trump’s nominee. It’s no surprise from the man who stole a Supreme Court seat from Barack Obama in 2016.

If McConnell and Trump have their way, a conservative majority deeply out of step with the American people could rule for decades, eliminating the right to choose, climate pollution rules, the Affordable Care Act, voting rights, and civil rights. . . the list is long and horrifying. Women will be especially affected, particularly women of color and transwomen. Our literal lives are on the lines.

Most alarming: Trump said earlier this week that he wants his appointee confirmed before Nov. 3 so they could rule him the winner of the election, no matter what the voters say.4 …

–Shaunna, KaeLyn, Kathy, Melody, Lindsay, Sonja, Kimberly, Maria, Katie, Iris, KD, and Elisa, the UltraViolet team

Sources:

1. Planned Parenthood Condemns Amy Coney Barrett Nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Planned Parenthood, October 31, 2017

2. Profile of a potential nominee: Amy Coney Barrett, SCOTUSblog, September 21, 2020

3. All the Details on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Funeral, Town & Country, September 25, 2020

4. Trump says he wants a conservative majority on the Supreme Court in case of an Election Day dispute. The New York Times, September 23, 2020

NASA sends woman to moon, which woman?


This 2018 video says about itself:

Moon 101 | National Geographic

What is the moon made of, and how did it form? Learn about the moon’s violent origins, how its phases shaped the earliest calendars, and how humans first explored Earth’s only natural satellite half a century ago.

NASA PLANNING TO SEND FIRST WOMAN TO THE MOON IN 2024 NASA revealed this week that it plans to send a woman to the moon for the first time in 2024. The Artemis Plan describes the first lunar mission since 1972 aimed at sending a man and the first woman to Earth’s nearest neighbor. “Sending human explorers 250,000 miles to the Moon, then 140 million miles to Mars, requires a bold vision, effective program management, funding for modern systems development and mission operations, and support from all corners of our great nation as well as our partners across the globe,” NASA said in the plan’s introduction. [HuffPost]

So, now the question is: Which woman will be sent to the moon? Some people in the USA might suggest: Ann Coulter, provided it is a one-way ticket.

And which man? Donald Trump, same condition?

Women in Indonesian punk rock


This 2016 video says about itself:

A documentary about women in the Indonesian Hardcore/Punk scene.

Now with English subtitles.

My Indonesian correspondent Ari writes today:

The involvement of women has been quite strong in Indonesia, but it’s hard to generalize across the board. For example, the straight-edge punk scene might have fewer women involved as musicians

That may be the case in various countries, maybe because of Christian right or Hare Krishna fundamentalist religious influences in straight-edge.

whereas the crust punk scene might have more female singers.

And then there will be variations across the localities, too; Jakarta vs. Bandung vs. Yogyakarta vs. Padang.

But since I have been out of Indonesia since 2009, I cannot give you a fair assessment of the scenes. There is a documentary made by Indonesian punk women about women in the Indonesian punk scenes called Ini Scene Kami Juga (This is Our Scene, Too/ 2016). What I can tell you is that there have been prominent women in the (DIY) punk scenes such as Kartika Jahja (singer of the band The Dissidents) who also contributed to the edited anthology Revenge of the She Punks (2019).

Women referees, first in South American football


THis 2014 video is about women’s football in Argentina.

The COVID-19 pandemic is terrible, killing many people and ruining the health of many others.

Still, it has some positive sides, eg, for wildlife.

It has some positive sides for women’s rights as well.

NOS radio reports today that for the first time ever, women have been admitted as referees in (male) Copa Libertadores matches, the highest level international matches for South American football clubs.

At one match, there were supposed to be four male referees. But they all tested positive for coronavirus. So, referee Mariana de Almeida stepped in.

At another match, the same problem. Daiana Milone from Argentina solved it.

German nazi policemen threaten immigrant women’s lives


Turkish German comedian Idil Baydar, photo by Marlena Waldthausen

This photo by Marlena Waldthausen shows Turkish German comedian and youth worker Idil Baydar.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant, 24 August 2020:

Extreme right within German police

“Stop saluting Hitler. He is dead’

Threatening e-mails via a police computer to prominent German women with a migration background feed the long-standing suspicion that extreme right-wing networks are active within the police in Germany. Idil Baydar is one of the victims. Why does Germany seem to close its own eyes?

By Sterre Lindhout

“Honestly, Germany, what’s wrong with your police?” Jilet Ayse, self-proclaimed ghetto bride and integration nightmare, wondered a few years ago. In one of her video tirades, she lists police misconduct, often directed against people with a migrant background. “What, police are your friend and helper? You mean your executioner!” she snorts. “Wallah, I swear we are not here at Miami Vice.”

Jilet Ayse doesn’t really exist. She is a creation of cabaret performer and youth worker Idil Baydar (45), a native of Berlin with Turkish ancestors. Her slang, tracksuits, and cheap glossy lip gloss are deceiving. Jilet Ayse holds up a razor-sharp mirror to German society in her videos, making her creator loved by some and hated by others.

Idil Baydar has been threatened with death by the far right for nearly two years. The mails that the Volkskrant saw show a toxic mix of racism, contempt for women and glorification of National Socialism. They are signed with “NSU 2.0”, a reference to the terrorist group Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund that murdered ten Germans with Turkish roots at the beginning of this century.

Problematic enough that there are those who want to follow in the footsteps of this NSU, but even more alarming is that Idil Baydar’s private data comes from a police computer, as is confidential information about two other known women who received threats with the same caption, a criminal defense attorney and a left-wing politician. The leak is at the police in the state of Hesse, that much is known. But otherwise, the police and public prosecutor say they have been in the dark for two years.

Threatening emails

The threatening e-mails fuel the long-standing suspicion that extreme right-wing networks are active within the police in Germany. It has been raining cats and dogs especially in the past year: anti-Semitic jokes in app groups, a drunk policeman who beats an asylum seeker in his spare time, and officers who do the Hitler salute at a party or in the pedestrian zone of a provincial town. According to a survey by Der Spiegel, there are currently investigations into more than four hundred incidents.

As is the case with a summer shower: the first big raindrop is just a drop, the second too, the third just barely. But after that, the connection between the drops becomes unmistakable. It rains. It is also like this with the German army, the Bundeswehr. This spring, an entire elite unit was disbanded because of abundant evidence for far-right views and glorification of the Nazis.

“This must be a group, this cannot be one person’s work,” Idil Baydar says pessimistically on a high summer afternoon in a Berlin park. The cabaret artist has taken a friend to the appointment with the Volkskrant, for safety. Because Baydar no longer walks on the street alone. Cynically: “And I don’t really need police protection now.”

She tells how she filed a complaint after the first threat. “The police tried to sweep the case under the rug again, as the police always cover up everything. She should change her mobile number, they said at the police station. “It’s almost like saying to a woman: don’t put on a mini skirt, then you’ll never be raped again. So I asked, and who tells me you won’t give that new number to Nazis?”

NSU 2.0

In Germany, the story of Baydar is one of many variations on the theme that reads: the German police cannot tolerate criticism and does too little self-reflection. The reaction of police unions to the widespread media attention on the issue of “NSU 2.0” is characteristic.

Police unions warned of “general suspicion of police” and pointed to the increasing number of violent crimes against police officers. In response to the NSU 2.0 threats, Home Secretary Horst Seehofer (CSU) recently called the police “a jewel.” He categorically denies structural problems with racism and the extreme right. It would supposely only be incidents by malicious individuals.

“That’s bold. As a minister you have to dare”, says Rafael Behr. The criminologist and sociologist from Hamburg was himself a cop for twenty years and now teaches at the academy. He obtained his doctorate on the organizational structure of the police force.

The fact that the police have a major problem with racist behavior and extreme right-wing ideas in their own ranks is beyond dispute for Behr. … “I do not see structures that enforce racism, but also no structures that recognize and counteract racism and right-wing extremists. The latter is the biggest problem.”

The silent majority that allows these things to happen is crucial, according to Behr. “In Germany, the police has traditionally been a centrally organized institution that considers itself omnipotent and flawless. Anyone who criticizes internally is regarded as a renegade. “Moreover, there is no noteworthy independent reporting point where police officers can report wrongdoing by colleagues.” …

Ministers of the Interior, certainly a conservative one like Seehofer, reinforce that culture of unconditional loyalty by demonstratively suporting “their” police at the slightest reason. They do this partly out of electoral interest – the CDU / CSU wants to prevent this conservative professional group from going over to the (extreme) right-wing AfD – and partly under pressure from the powerful police unions in Germany that have been shouting for years that the police are victims of the ‘soft’ and ‘green and left’ climate that supposedly prevails in Germany today. They believe that the police receive too little money, but above all too little respect and too much social suspicion. Questionable claims because the current government … is actually investing heavily in the police force …

Blindspot in the making

But that uniformed inferiority complex does explain why Seehofer decided earlier this summer, at the height of the international Black Lives Matter protests, to call off a long-announced nationwide investigation into ethnic profiling by German police. His explanation: ethnic profiling is prohibited by law, so the police don’t do such a thing. In other words: what is prohibited does not exist. Seehofer’s argument sounds like a guide to creating a blind spot. Coalition partner SPD spoke against it, but Chancellor Angela Merkel did not correct her minister.

Seehofer’s reasoning reminds Behr, and many other Germans, of the look-away culture that led the NSU to commit ten racist murders at the time, while the police insisted that it was a series of revenge killings in a Turkish criminal environment.

The first time the caption NSU 2.0 surfaced was in 2018 in a threatening letter to lawyer Seda Basay-Yildiz, known, eg, as an advocate for the next of kin of the victims of the NSU. Yildiz’s data appeared an hour before the mail was sent, retrieved from a police computer in Frankfurt am Main.

The 35-year-old female detective who logged on to the device denied being guilty. She explained that she always left her computer open all day so that colleagues could also work on it. Rather than regard all those present as suspects, the internal commission of inquiry and the Hessian Public Prosecution Service decided to treat them as witnesses – even after they found chats with colleagues on a confiscated phone of a detective with a picture of a gas chamber. With the comment ‘the bigger the Jew, the warmer the tent’.

That detective was not arrested and just continued to work, as was the colleague from Wiesbaden whose account was searched for Idil Baydar’s personal data a few months later. Did the Hessian police “only” serve as a conduit, or did they write the mails themselves? Two years after the first threatening emails, no one knows. The number of people threatened by NSU 2.0 has now reached 70.

It was a journalist from the Frankfurter Rundschau, a Hessian newspaper, who told Idil Baydar in July this year that her data had been viewed from a police computer in Wiesbaden. It is unclear how long the police have known this themselves. Even after the newspaper released the news, “the police apparently did not think it necessary to report to me,” she says.

Idil Baydar wonders how she can trust a police force that is stealing her data, then not really trying to find out who did it and “not taking the threats to her very seriously.” “There was lack of just one policeman saying: we hear you, we’re going after it.”

Different mindset

How difficult it is to bring about a change in mentality in the police force, Thomas Müller (66) knows from his own experience. Müller was a policeman in Bremen for forty years, his entire professional life. When the concept of ethnic profiling was first circulated at the beginning of this century, he says on the phone, he was just as outraged as most of his colleagues. “We didn’t feel it was like that at all, we just did our job.”

For years, Müller also believed that this work should enable making certain comments and jokes about minorities. “When we chased someone with an Arab appearance, we talked to colleagues about an “oil eye”, they also sometimes talked about “smashing up some blacks“.

That changes when he goes to study criminology alongside his job, and he hears the other side of the story for the first time: of people who are arrested time and again “because they cannot drive such an expensive car because of their skin color“. After his studies, he starts working for the police as an integration expert. He organizes seminars where police officers meet with victims of racism, to which the force management initially reacts positively. But there are also colleagues who suddenly stop greeting Müller.

And then it was finished from one day to the next in 2018. Müller is ‘promoted’ without giving reasons “to a desk job deep within the organization, without contact with the outside world” and is banned from doing interviews in the remaining year until his retirement.

Now that Müller is allowed to talk again, he works for Amnesty and Polizei Grün, a still young interest group that fights within the police for a change of mentality. In recent years, the club had about 50 members among 270,000 police officers. Since the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the number has doubled. “That’s something.”

Müller advocates developing the “soft” skills of the police. “Those people are confronted day in and day out with hatred, violence and crime. That is not talked about, because then you are weak.”

Criminologist Behr also speaks of the “practical shock” that many police officers experience when they leave the academy full of good intentions. Since there is no supervision or room for reflection for them, they entrench themselves behind authoritarian behavior and, in some cases, extremist ideas and fantasies of violence.

Idil Baydar puts it this way: “You don’t get respect with just a uniform and a weapon. It should include certain behaviour.”

And in the person of Jilet Ayse, she has a golden tip for extreme right-wing policemen in one of her videos: “Stop saluting Hitler. He is dead. It’s pointless. He doesn’t hear it.”

British nurses fight COVID-19, government neglects them


British nurses demanding a pay rise – their hard work has saved many lives during the Covid-19 crisis

From daily News Line in Britain, 24 August 2020:

Nurses are working longer hours and above pay grades to deal with Covid-19

24th August 2020

A MAJOR Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey has revealed how the pandemic has affected the professional lives of nursing staff. It shows, from the hours that they worked to the support they received – how staff in all settings experienced major changes.

The ‘Building a Better Future for Nursing’ survey had nearly 42,000 responses, and found nursing staff going literally ‘above and beyond’, working under pressures of staff shortages and putting in longer hours, and often having to work above their pay grade:

  • Just over three quarters (76%) reported an increase in their own stress levels.
  • Over half (52%) strongly agreed, and an additional 39% also agreed, with the statement that they were concerned over the well-being of those in the nursing profession generally.
  • Around a third (34%) said they were working at a higher level of responsibility, with 90% of those saying they were not being paid extra for it.
  • Over a third (38%) said staffing levels had worsened during the pandemic.
  • A third (33%) were also putting in longer hours, with an even higher figure of 50% for independent/private sector social care.

When asked what they would like to see done to make them feel more valued, respondents were clear that pay and staffing levels were top of their agenda:

  • Nearly three quarters (73%) said improved pay would make them feel more valued. Half (50%) said better staffing levels would make them feel more valued.

To that Dame Donna Kinnair, CE and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘The last year is something none of us could have predicted and has shown nursing in a light never seen before.

‘Whether in hospitals, care homes or in the community, across the entire health and care nursing workforce have stepped up to care for their patients and support their colleagues.

‘The public clapping on their doorsteps must reverberate all the way to the heart of government. We now need to see action. That is why we continue to call for a significant and early pay rise.

‘The pandemic it not over, but unless there is improved pay, we risk many of our members leaving the profession – at a time when the nation needs them more than ever.’

And in response to a new report NHS Confederation report’s calling on the Prime Minister to urgently ‘fix’ social care, Susan Masters, RCN Director of Nursing and Public Affairs, insisted:

‘Those who rely on social care can ill-afford to wait for a fix. As we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, nursing staff have been essential to clinical safety in care homes and elsewhere.

‘However, a lack of substantial investment and proper workforce planning means there aren’t enough staff to deal with the increasing demand for care. Unsatisfactory, variable pay, terms and conditions across the sector remain one of the key obstacles to effective recruitment and retention.

‘In fact, a recent survey of our members found improved pay was a key step towards making staff feel more valued.

‘As winter approaches, the government must act urgently so hard-working staff on the frontline of care can meet the needs of all who need them.’

  • On Thursday August 20th, two leading Royal Colleges stressed how vital it is that all pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 receive multi-disciplinary maternity care from the start – and that all information given to such pregnant women must be accessible to them all.

Responding to a new report from the MBRRACE-UK Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said that ‘clarity is key when providing specific advice to women with Covid-19 during pregnancy and after birth’.

They also stressed the need for special attention to be paid to those at higher risk, including black, Asian and minority ethnic women, and also including provision of access to an interpreter where needed.

The report reviewed the care of 16 pregnant and postnatal women who died with Covid-19, from mental health-related causes or due to domestic violence from 1 March to 31 May 2020. During this period ten women died with Covid-19 infection, eight directly related to Covid-19 and two from other causes. Four died by suicide and two due to domestic violence. And during the three months covered by this report, over 160,000 women gave birth in the UK.

Commenting, RCM CEO Gill Walton said: ‘While this is a small study, it sadly indicates that many of the women who died from Covid-19 were from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds. This further emphasises the need for clear information to be given to these women so that they are better able to manage their health appropriately.

‘Ensuring that those at higher risk are supported by a multi-disciplinary team – and that they see the same professionals over time – is key to tackling and improving outcomes for women with high risk pregnancies.

‘Isolation during the pandemic has been very difficult for some women during their pregnancy and after birth. That is why we must ensure that they are able to access appropriate community-based care from midwives, health visitors and perinatal mental health teams.

‘While we welcome the greater use of technology to support pregnant women, it is not a wholesale substitute for face-to-face support. This is particularly true for picking up on safeguarding issues, including women at risk of domestic abuse.

‘We fully support those maternity teams offering a blended approach, giving the reassurance of ongoing virtual contact alongside the “in person” appointments that allow women to get timely help and support.’

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: ‘Every one of these deaths is a tragedy, and our thoughts are with the families of the 16 women who died. It is crucial that we learn from the findings of this rapid report to help prevent future deaths.

‘Through our collaborative working with the MBRRACE team throughout the pandemic, the clinical recommendations have already been incorporated into our guidance for women and healthcare practitioners.

‘The guidance makes clear pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 must have multi-disciplinary maternity care, and states there should be a low threshold for review of pregnant Black, Asian, and minority ethnic women with Covid-19.

‘Addressing health inequalities is a key priority for the College, and we established a Race Equality Taskforce earlier this month to focus on reducing adverse outcomes in BAME women.

‘This report highlights that we must also ensure that services are fit to support vulnerable women who are victims of domestic violence or abuse.

‘Future pandemic planning should ensure that the care of pregnant women is not compromised by redeployment of maternity staff, and that access to face-to-face antenatal and postnatal care for women who need support with their mental health is prioritised.’

Over 250 female-fronted punk rock songs


This is a list of 291 female-fronted punk rock songs on video, from several countries, recorded from 1977-1989.

Of course, not exhaustive. This one from 1981, eg, fits in.

Daughters of chaos: Patti Smith, Siouxsie Sioux and the feminisation of rock: here.

How nazis persecuted Anne Frank, other girls


This 4 June 2020 video shows a guided tour of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, by two young Dutch girls. The Dutch subtitles can be changed to four other languages, including English.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories: The young victim of the Nazis

18 July 2020

Directed by Sabina Fedeli and Anna Migotto

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories, directed by Italian journalists Sabina Fedeli and Anna Migotto, is a documentary streaming on Netflix that retraces the life of Anne Frank, as well as five living women who survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.

The story of Anne Frank and her diary became known to millions in the wake of the Second World War and was famously adapted as a film in 1959, The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by George Stevens, featuring Millie Perkins.

Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany to a Jewish family. When Anne was four, the family fled the Nazis, moving to the Netherlands. By 1940, the Franks were trapped in Amsterdam by the German occupation of the country. Two years later, Anne’s father started furnishing a secret place in the annex of his business premises.

On her 13th birthday, Anne and her family went underground, and during those two years in hiding, Anne wrote, with a sharp eye and tender soul, about life in the “Secret Annex.” When the Minister of Education of the exiled Dutch government in England made a radio appeal to listeners to hold on to war diaries and documents, Anne started rewriting her diary, but before she was finished, she and the others in the annex were discovered and arrested by the Gestapo on August 4, 1944.

Anne, together with her parents and sister, was transported by train to Auschwitz. Later that year, she, her sister and mother were taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony, where Anne died in early 1945, probably of typhoid, at the age of 15.

When the war ended, Anne’s father Otto, the only surviving member of the family, returned to Amsterdam where he was given his daughter’s diary, which was found after the family was taken away. In 1947, he had it published. To date The Diary of Anne Frank has been translated into more than 60 languages and has sold over 30 million copies.

The new documentary has chilling and moving elements. Anne’s tragedy is brought to life through the heartfelt reading of excerpts of her diary by actress Helen Mirren. That narration is intertwined with the perspectives of five Holocaust survivors—Arianna Szörenyi, Sarah Lichtsztejn-Montard, Helga Weiss and sisters Andra and Tatiana Bucci. Several of them were Anne’s age when they were sent to concentration camps.

Aish.com provides an outline of the women’s backgrounds. Andra and Tatiana Bucci are Croatian sisters, who were four and six when they were arrested with their mother and a cousin. “First taken to Risiera di San Sabba concentration camp in Trieste [in northern Italy], they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. When the Soviet army arrived in Auschwitz in 1945, only 650 children of various nationalities were alive, including Andra and Tatiana.”

Arianna Szörenyi also lived in Croatia. “She was 11 when deported and went through four concentration camps, from Risiera di San Sabba to Bergen-Belsen. She survived but lost seven members of her family.”

Helga Weiss was born the same year as Anne Frank. At age 12, she and her family were deported from Prague to the Terezin concentration camp in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, then to Auschwitz, Freiberg (in Germany) and Mauthausen (in Austria). Since childhood, Helga has kept a diary, mainly of elaborate and skillful drawings.

“Sarah Montard escaped the Vel d’Hiv roundup [the mass arrest of French Jews in July 1942—the victims were temporarily held at the Vélodrome d’Hiver (Winter Velodrome), an indoor sports arena] in Paris and went into hiding with her mother for two years until 1944 when she was reported, arrested and deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.” She forthrightly tells the camera: “The worst, most terrible thing was the flame from the crematorium. Night and day it rose and made a terrible noise, lighting up the sky that was pink with the flames. After what I experienced, I’m not afraid of anything anymore.” Like Anne Frank, Sarah was a prisoner at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

A number of the women’s descendants talk about the impact of this history on their own lives, including a gifted violinist and another who tattooed his forearm with his great-grandmother’s concentration camp number. One moving scene shows the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, a memorial to the nearly 80,000 Jewish victims of the Shoah from the Czech lands.

#Anne Frank Parallel Stories explains that 75 percent of Dutch Jews were deported and eventually killed. In February 1941, there was a general strike in the country organized by the then-illegal Communist Party against the Nazis’ anti-Jewish arrests and pogroms. The strike is considered to be the first mass protest against the Nazis in Europe. After three days, the strike was brutally suppressed by German forces.

As a sidebar, the documentary follows a teenage girl, #KaterinaKat (Martina Gatti), who texts an imaginary Anne while exploring Bergen-Belsen, museums and historic sites. She feels a generational connection to Anne, trying to relate the latter’s story to today’s reality. Gatti’s texts are an updated version of “Dear Kitty”. the fictional character to whom Anne addressed many of her diary letters.

The core of #Anne Frank Parallel Stories is Mirren’s reading from Anne’s diary in a replica of the clandestine refuge in Amsterdam by set designers from the Piccolo Theatre in Milano. Anne’s youthful words and thoughts capture humanity’s hopefulness and resilience even as she records the Holocaust—the greatest crime in human history. Several entries are worth highlighting:

November 19, 1942: The news is terrible. The authorities have taken away so many friends and people we know to concentration camps. Army cars go round the streets day and night to arrest people. They’re looking for Jews; they knock on every door, and ask whether any Jews live there. When they find a Jewish family, they take everybody away. They even pay money for information. In the evenings, when it’s dark, I often see long lines of innocent people walking on and on. Sick people, old people, children, babies—all walking to their deaths.

April 5, 1944: I want to make something of my life. I want to be a journalist. I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, a lot of my diary is alive and amusing, but … I don’t know yet if I can be a really good writer. But then if I can’t write books or for newspapers, I can always write for myself. I don’t want to live like Mother, Mrs van Daan, and all the other women who simply do their work and are then forgotten. I need more than just a husband and children! I want to be useful, and to bring enjoyment to all people, even those that I’ve never met. I want to go on living after my death!

April 16, 1944: Remember yesterday’s date, because it was special for me. When a girl gets her first kiss, it’s always an important date …

It was a kiss through my hair, half on my left cheek, and half on my ear. I ran downstairs and didn’t look back! Last night, Peter [van Daan] and I were sitting on the sofa as usual, in each other’s arms. Suddenly, the usual Anne disappeared—the confident, noisy Anne—and the second Anne took her place. This second Anne only wants to love and to be gentle. Tears came to my eyes. Did he notice? He made no movement. Did he feel the same way as I did? He said very little. There were no answers to my questions.

May 3, 1944: Why do governments give millions each day for war, when they spend nothing on medicine or poor people? Why must people go without food, when there are mountains of food going bad in other parts of the world? Oh, why are people so crazy?

May 25,1944: The world is turned upside down. The best people are in concentration camps and prisons, while the worst decide to put them there.

The diary’s postscript simply states: “On the morning of 4 August 1944, a car arrived at 263 Prinsengracht, the address of the Secret Annex. The eight people from the Annex were first taken to a prison in Amsterdam. Then they were sent to Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Poland.

“On 16 January 1945, Peter van Daan had to go on the terrible prisoners’ walk from Auschwitz to Mauthausen in Austria, where he died on 5 May 1945 [at the age of 18]. He died only three days before the Allies got to the camp. Edith Frank, Anne’s mother, died in the Auschwitz concentration camp on 6 January 1945, too tired and too hungry to live any longer.

“Margot and Anne Frank were taken from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp near Hanover, in Germany. A terrible illness attacked the prisoners there. They both died in the winter of 1944-5. Anne must have died in late February or early March. All the bodies of the prisoners were thrown together. The British army arrived at the camp on 12 April 1945.”

One of the film’s commentators observes: “Imagine the talent that Germany destroyed … when you destroy children, you destroy infinite possibility.”

Anne Frank is one of the best known and best-loved figures of the 20th century. It is timely and commendable that the documentary revisits her story. Mirren’s reading of the diary excerpts is deeply affecting, evocative and sobering. In fact, Anne Frank’s words reveal a bright, unflinchingly honest and insightful young girl. They also give some sense of a highly cultured milieu.

Since the late 1950s, there have been almost two dozen theatrical and television films based on Anne’s story. In this case, the filmmakers clearly have been impelled to one extent or another by the current political situation, including the rise of far-right movements and the attacks on immigrants and refugees. “With the advent of the wars in Syria, Libya, Iraq,” states Mirren, “with the immigration issue that’s happening in Europe, it’s so easy to start pointing your finger at different races, different tribes, different cultures, different people and say ‘you’re to blame for my problems.’”

She goes on to explain that Anne Frank’s diary “is an amazing teaching tool, an amazing vessel to carry the real understanding of human experiences of the past into our present and very much into our future. I find it very, very important and that’s why I wanted to do this piece.”

Unfortunately, once again, despite the genuine feeling poured into the project, there is no effort here to explain the origins and rise of fascism. Parallel Stories adopts a somewhat amorphous and abstract attitude toward history. Anne Frank herself had some intuitive insights into the driving forces of the phenomenon. There was a general understanding at the time that fascism was connected to the defense of big business and was a response to the Russian Revolution and the threat of revolution in every country.

Global capitalism today has not solved any of the problems that led to the rise of Nazism in the 1930s. On the contrary, its contradictions are erupting with convulsive force.

Rape suspect becomes new French Interior Minister


This French TV video says about itself (translated):

Gérald Darmanin, first day under pressure

Barely appointed, already controversial: Gérald Darmanin is a new, already weakened Minister of the Interior. Accused of rape, still under investigation, he attracts the wrath of feminist associations which have multiplied their demonstrations throughout the day. They demand his resignation. A BFMTV document of Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

By Ben Chacko, 8 July 2020:

French Prime Minister defends appointment of Interior Minister facing rape charge

FRANCE’S new Prime Minister, Jean Castex, today defended his appointment of Gérald Darmanin as Interior Minister despite the latter facing a rape charge.

Mr Castex said the charges against Mr Darmanin weren’t relevant as everybody is innocent until proven guilty.

Feminist organisations led protests in Paris on Tuesday over his appointment and that of new Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti, who attacked the #MeToo movement against rape and sexual harassment, complaining that “crazy” women were “crucifying” men on social media, and condemned France’s 2018 ban on street harassment of women as a “joke”.

Like new right-wing Prime Minister Castex, Darmanin is a former acolyte of discredited right-wing ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.