Dutch pro-choice government minister Els Borst, murdered by fanatical Christian

Els Borst

This photo shows Ms Els Borst-Eilers. She was a doctor. And a politician of the ‘liberal’ D66 party. She was D66 party leader; and deputy prime minister. And Minister of Health. As a minister, she liberalized the rules on abortion and euthanasia. The political Christian right did not like her for that. According to the ultra-religious political party SGP, apart from her policies, Els Borst should not have been a minister in the first place; as their platform said women should not have the vote. That platform also says that the death penalty, abolished in the Netherlands in the nineteenth century, should be brought back.

On 8 February 2014, Ms Borst was murdered. It took police almost a year to arrest the suspect of this murder.

Murder suspect Bart van U. and the area where Ms Borst was murdered

The suspect of the murder of Ms Borst is Bart van U.

That man had been arrested earlier for murdering his sister Loïs. According to Dutch daily Metro, 22 July 2015, page 5, Bart confessed murdering his sister. He said he would do it again.

Also Van U. – from a fundamentalist Christian family – and Loïs thought differently about euthanasia and abortion, he said.

According to fanatical fundamentalist Christians, ‘abortion is murder’.

Someone who knew Bart van U. said, quoted in Dutch daily Metro, 26 January 2015:

He saw Muslim extremists everywhere, and also said that abortion is murder.

Some fanatical religious people extrapolate that to giving oneself the right to murder people with pro-choice views. Like violent ultra-religious Christians in the USA murdering doctors. And, apparently, Bart van U. in the Netherlands murdering someone with different views on women’s reproductive rights. Even if that person with different views is one’s own sister.

One may ask: if a person like Bart van U. hated his own sister so much for her different views on women’s reproductive rights, then how much stronger must his hatred have been for Ms Borst? Not his sister. Not just someone with views; but someone who put her views into practice by liberalizing the laws of the land about abortion and euthanasia.

Dutch NOS TV reporter Robert Bas says that may have been Bart van U.’s motive for murdering Ms Borst.

That ultra-fundamentalist Christian ‘abortion is murder’ ideology may have been Van U.’s murder motive was only mentioned very shortly, or not at all, by Dutch and international media reports on this.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Former D66 minister Els Borst was killed by stab wounds. The public prosecutor has announced this, now that the summons has been sent to the suspect, Bart [van] U.

Van U. will be next Tuesday for the first time in the court room in this case. However, he had to justify himself earlier for the murder of his sister. In court he admitted that he had stabbed his sister. About the murder of Ms Borst, as far as is known, nothing was said.

Borst was murdered in February last year in the garage at her home in Bilthoven. Almost a year later, in January, Van U. murdered his sister. Only during the investigation into that murder, police started to suspect him of the violent death of the former minister.

Now, to another side of self-confessed murderer Bart van U. Apparently, this Islamophobesaw Muslim extremists everywhere‘. Unfortunately, Bart van U. is not the only person with that kind of fanaticism, neither in the Netherlands nor in other countries.

Now, let us imagine for the sake of argument that Bart van U. would not have been the Christian extremist Bart van U.; but an imaginary Muslim extremist called Mohamed U. Mohamed U. who murdered his sister, called Fatima, not Loïs, for religious infidelity on abortion. Mohamed U. who murdered Minister Borst for liberalizing rules on abortion and euthanasia, at variance with Mohamed U.’s views about what Muslim sharia law about that should be.

Then, not just one sentence in media, as now about Bart van U.’s possible motive. Chocolate letter headlines on newspapers’ front pages about “International Islamic terrorism at it again“. Supporters of Geert Wilders‘ xenophobic PVV party setting mosques which have nothing to do with Mohamed U. on fire. Dutch politicians afraid of losing voters to the PVV attacking civil liberties, of Muslims and of other people as well.

Fortunately, as far as I know no one in the Netherlands so far has blamed Christians who have nothing to do with Bart van U. and his crimes. I hope it will stay that way. And that people will learn lessons from that about the stupidity of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, anti-Roma racism, anti-African racism, anti-east European bigotry, etc. etc.

Police violence against African American women

This video from the USA says about itself:

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women

20 May 2015

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest.

During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, “Police Brutality Against Black Women.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, student newspaper of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA:

#SayHerName highlights police violence against black women

Sofia Edelman

25 August 2015

Stories of rape, murder and discrimination against black women were told at the #SayHerName vigil in front of Wilson Library Monday night. The vigil sought to remember transgender and cisgender black women who were killed by police or died in police custody in recent years. “If anyone asks why we are here, we are here to heal so later we can act,” senior June Beshea, who organized the event, said at the beginning of the vigil. “We are here to say her name because so many have not.”

This vigil comes less than a week after the Silent Sam monument was spray-painted with the words “Who is Sandra Bland?” Bland was a black woman who was found dead in her Texas jail cell in July after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide by officials in Waller County, Texas. During the vigil, the stories of the deaths of 10 black women from around the country were told, highlighting whether or not the police officers involved in the event were indicted. Poets and speakers also took the microphone to tell their personal struggles of feeling unsafe because of their skin color.

“I wasn’t trying to educate as much in this event as more give a space to heal,” Beshea said. “But I guess people will come away from it knowing just the scope of black women that are killed by police in this country.” Beyond holding vigils and offering spaces to grieve, Beshea said she plans to use this semester to showcase plays, display art and hold Pit takeovers under the umbrella of “Black Heals” to celebrate blackness. Reverend Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which co-sponsored the vigil with on-campus groups, said he was happy to see college students taking up social justice issues. “All this feeds into why we should focus on what is the value of a life,” Campbell said. “What is the value of a female’s life? What is her worth? Not just as a mother, not just as a sister, but as a human being that should have the same rights as a male.”

Destinee Grove, president of the UNC chapter of the NAACP, which also co-sponsored the vigil, said she hoped the vigil created allies and informed attendees on what they can do as students to become involved in events like the #SayHerName vigil. “I think (Say Her Name) means ‘don’t forget, don’t move on, don’t be undone by the initial murdering of a person and then forget them. Remember these people,’” Grove said. “It’s a catalyst to keep the movement going. If you just take away anything, I think that’s a positive.” Junior Charity Lackey, who spoke at the vigil, said it’s important that individuals inside and outside the black community learn more about violence against women of color. “I get emotionally drained just trying to see all of the women’s lives that are lost,” she said. “You just have to keep your eyes open and your ears open, and listen more than you speak sometimes.”

Mignon Talbot and the forgotten women of paleontology


On female paleontologist Mary Anning, see here.

Originally posted on Letters from Gondwana.:

Sin título Mignon Talbot  (From Turner et al, 2010)

The nineteenth century was the “golden age” of Geology, and women began to play an important role in the advance of this field of science. They collected fossils and mineral specimens, and were allowed to attend scientific lectures, but they were barred from membership in scientific societies. It was common for male scientists to have women assistants, often their own wives and daughters. A good example of that was Mary Lyell (1808–1873), daughter of the geologist Leonard Horner and the wife of eminent geologist Charles Lyell. But for most of men, the participation of women in geology and paleontology was perceived as a hobby.

Mary Anning (1799-1847), was a special case. She was the most famous woman paleontologist of her time, and found the first specimens of what would later be recognized as Ichthyosaurus, the first complete Plesiosaurus, the first pterosaur skeleton outside Germany…

View original 659 more words

Black Lives Matter, news update

A memorial sits outside the Waller County Jail last month in Hempstead, Texas. Activists have taken to demonstrating outside the jail, where Sandra Bland died in her cell. Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP

From NPR in the USA, 15 August 2015:

It has been another 100-degree day in Hempstead, Texas. But no matter: dozens of activists have still come to demonstrate outside the Waller County Jail, setting up improvised camps and playing songs, as they’ve been doing for the past month. …

Bland’s death also sparked a heated conversation on social media — and inspired activists like the Rev. Hannah Bonner to brave the summer heat demanding answers.

“I’m a millennial, and so I do live in this social media generation,” Bonner says. “But I also understand the weaknesses of that, and one of those is an addiction to technology and also using technology as a placebo for actual action.”

So Bonner drives an hour each way between Houston and Hempstead every day to protest in person. Demonstrators hope to keep attention on the issue by camping out at the jail.

Some days, there are dozens of people gathered here. On this day, there were six, including graduate student Carie Cauley. She’s been taking part in the vigil for three weeks and feels a personal connection to the cause.

“Sandra Bland was black, which I happen to be. She was a woman, which I happen to be. She was educated, which I happen to be. She had a bachelor’s degree, which I happen to have,” Cauley says. …

As Bonner stands strumming her guitar in front of the jail, Waller County resident Mary Dolen approaches her and bursts into tears, sharing her own concerns about local law enforcement.

“I wanted to get the courage to come in here and say something and let you know it’s not just you, it’s not y’all,” Dolen says. “It’s people like me, too.”

By “people like me,” Dolen means white residents. Bonner says she’s had lots of encounters like this over the past month.

“It’s taken people some time of us sitting out here, and now that we’ve been out here long enough, it seems like our courage is giving other people courage to speak up.”

Bonner says connections like these can only be made in person, and that’s what keeps her coming back to Hempstead every day in the 100-degree heat.

Sandra Bland was pulled over for dubious reasons, treated rudely by a Texas state trooper, tackled to the ground, and arrested for “assault.” She died 3 days later in jail custody. Her family has filed a federal lawsuit against Texas authorities for her arrest and subsequent death in jail custody. Details and commentary on what exactly the lawsuit alleges are below: here.

From the CodePink women’s movement in the USA, 14 August 2015:

Dear Activist,

It is time for CODEPINK to join the vigil at the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, calling for an investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. The vigil has already exposed the hate in the sheriff’s office. Bring the Pink to support Hannah Bonner in her vigil for Sandra Bland.

From the Tampa Bay Times in Florida, USA:

Saturday, August 15, 2015 8:31pm …

Nearly 80 people assembled Saturday afternoon at Curtis Hixon Park before marching through downtown for Blackout Tampa, a national event that highlighted police treatment of black Americans and other civil rights issues.

“I’m here because we’re demanding our freedom,” said Jayson James, 31. “I am tired of every day seeing another black person who is murdered, unarmed, by the police.”

The protesters, mainly black but including some whites, wielded signs that read, “Straight outta patience,” “They choose if we live or die,” and “Don’t apologize for your blackness, or your fear.”

As they marched single-file toward the police station, the occasional car sounded its horn, eliciting waves of cheer that rose above the city din. “I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win,” chanted Crystal Wilson, an activist and University of South Florida student.

She weaved through the crowds with fellow activist Ashley Green, a 25-year-old St. Petersburg resident, sparking small bursts of protest songs.

The overwhelming message? Change comes from the bottom, not the top.

Nia Knighton, 19, the event’s main organizer, said it’s essential to discuss institutional racism. “But a lot of the time, we forget to talk about the changes we can make after the protests,” she said, which include equipping children with black history books and providing after-school programs.

Many of the black protesters said they had not been victims of police brutality. “But I know several friends who have been,” said James, of St. Petersburg. He recalled how one of his three brothers was stopped because his windows were “too dark.”

Nothing happened, James said, but these minor events continue to inspire a deep fear in the wake of Sandra Bland, a black Texas woman who died in jail shortly after a routine traffic stop.

Outside the police station, the chanting reached a fever pitch, with protesters denouncing the entire American justice system as “guilty as hell.”

No one came outside.

After a few minutes of demonstration, they crossed through the green light at Kennedy Boulevard and Franklin Street, disrupting a small line of traffic. The cars idled while throngs of black-clothed protesters crowded the intersection, waving flags and jumping up and down.

“Whose streets?” one protester screamed. “Our streets!” came the hearty reply.

Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on Aug. 10, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Getty Images/Scott Olson

From the International Business Times:

Christian Taylor Death: Friends And Family To Gather For Funeral Of Unarmed Football Player Shot By Police

By Luke Villapaz

August 15 2015 11:37 AM EDT

UPDATE 5:28 p.m. EDT: More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday for the funeral of Christian Taylor, the 19-year-old football player shot to death by a rookie police officer in Arlington, Texas. The Dallas Morning News reported among those attending were teammates and coaches from Angelo State University, some five hours away. Also in attendance were Mayor Jeff Williams and Police Chief William Johnson.

The officer involved, Brad Miller, was fired earlier this week.

Journalists Arrested in Ferguson for Doing Their Job: here.

‘A thug’s life don’t matter’: Texas racist threatens mob violence against Black Lives Matter to avenge deputy’s death: here.

Sandra Bland, African American women update

This video says about itself:

Candlelight Vigil For Sandra Bland in Austin Texas

On July 23, 2015 Austin residents held a candlelight vigil for Sandra Bland that started at the historic Victory Grill and ended at the state capital. Sandra was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell of an alleged suicide. However, her family, friends, and most of the public have questions surrounding her death which has caught the attention of the world. Sandra was a vocal activist who spoke out against social injustices and police brutality.

From Amsterdam News, in New York City in the USA:

Dear Attorney General Loretta Lynch,

8/13/2015, 10:24 a.m

For centuries, Black women in America have been raped, beaten, jailed and killed, with minimal or no federal response. The very recent escalation of the murderous history has caused Black women nationwide to demand a response from you.

I need not recount the past number or the horrific experiences, the degradation of “domestic workers,” used by white men in any way they saw fit, or the “angry Black Sapphire,” who would be put in her place, including those Black women whose station in American had risen above the masses of Black women subjected to the vicious brutality of the systemic racism of America.

Surely your office, nay your leadership, must first acknowledge, investigate and immediately bring to bear the weight of the U.S. attorney general’s office to put a stop to these outrages.

Bring justice for the July 2015 deaths in police custody of Sandra Bland, 28, in Waller, Texas, found hanging in a jail cell after a minor traffic violation; Kindra Chapman, 18, found hanging in a cell in Homewood, Ala., after allegedly stealing someone’s cell phone; Raynetta Turner, 44, arrested for theft in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., found dead in her cell after being returned to police custody from a hospital medical examination; Joyce Curnell, 50, found dead in her cell in Charleston, S.C., after an arrest for shoplifting; Ralkina Jones, 37, found dead in her cell of “unknown” medical issues in Cleveland after an arrest for domestic violence, and for the public police strip-search rape of Charnesia Corley, 21, in Harris County, Texas.

Police terrorism against Black women is escalating nationwide. We regard you, because of your position as attorney general but indeed because you are a Black woman, as someone who can attest to these realities.


Viola Plummer, chair, December 12th Movement

The 5 Black Women Found Dead In Police Custody In 2 Weeks Highlight An Often Silenced Narrative: here.

Can You See Me Now: Raynette Turner, Sandra Bland and the Invisibility of Black Women: here.

Who Is Charnesia Corley? Texas Woman To Sue Police Over Vagina Search In Public After Traffic Stop: here.

As protests continue highlighting the widespread scourge of police brutality and anti-black racism in the U.S., the Department of Justice quietly released a survey on national use-of-force statistics that reveal a twofold dilemma: law enforcement agencies are ineffective at collecting such data—and the lack of such information, in turn, may hamper federal efforts at reforming the police: here.

South Korean self-immolation in anti-Japanese war crimes protest

This video from South Korea says about itself:

This documentary aims to highlight the issue of “Comfort Women” or girls forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II as grave violation of human rights that affected AND continues to affect women all across Asia and Europe.

The film begins in South Korea and moves on to meet victims in Wuhan, China, Shanghai, the Philippines and Australia.

It was aired on March 1st, 2013 on Arirang TV, Korea’s only global network.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

South Korea: Man sets himself alight in protest over WWII Japan

Thursday 13th August 2015

AN ELDERLY man set himself on fire in Korea yesterday during a protest demanding Japanese recognition of its war crimes in the 1930s and ’40s.

The rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul was held days before the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.

Protesters rushed to smother the flames after 80-year-old Choi Yeon Yeol poured a bottle of fuel on himself and ignited it in a nearby flowerbed.

Mr Choi was taken to Hallym University Medical Centre, where he was said to be unconscious and suffering breathing difficulties after sustaining third-degree burns to the face, neck, upper body and arms.

Police said that a five-page statement found in his bag, apparently written by himself, condemned Japan’s stance on issues related to its colonial rule of Korea and wartime conduct.

Since 1992 there have been weekly protests in front of the Japanese embassy to demand justice for South Korean women who were forced to work as “comfort women” — a euphemism for sex slaves — for the Japanese military during the war.

Hundreds of thousands of Koreans also were forced to fight as front-line soldiers or work as slave labour.

With the approaching anniversary, yesterday’s turnout was particularly high.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has evaded requests for an official apology, while moving to glorify wartime Japan and remilitarise the country in violation of its post-war constitution.