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desperate survival measures

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following article, aparently from a newspaper in Nakuru, Kenya, was sent to me by Ms. Rose Tanui of Nairobi, Kenya. If anyone wants the precise reference
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 7, 2003
      The following article, aparently from a newspaper in Nakuru, Kenya, was sent to
      me by Ms. Rose Tanui of Nairobi, Kenya. If anyone wants the precise
      reference to this story and where it is available online, I will try to
      prevail upon Ms. Tanui to send it to me. These morbid excesses are obviously
      not for love, for any relationships in which these would be required there is
      not even basic respect, much less love. They are not even, as the feminists
      would maintain, cases of systematic oppression of women by men. They are,
      however, examples of the desperation to which globalism and imperialism drive
      people. This insane global system that places billions out of work or with
      limited work opportunity for the profits of a relative few of the weathiest
      people in the world's wealthiest countries must be smashed forever!

      --Kevin Walsh

      > What would you do for love?
      >Kill you own child, circumcise yourself, live in poverty... These are just some of the things that women around the world will do to find, and keep, love. WAYUA MULI explores
      >
      >These stories are not fiction. They are true accounts of what women will do in their bid to keep love. Some of them may seem bizarre to you. However, what seems 'bizarre' in your book may be the norm in someone else - like the women in Jamaica who routinely swallow chicken pills to get fat, or Ms Monica Kaari, who circumcised herself to keep her husband.
      >
      >It is often circumstance that dictates how far a woman will go. Perhaps having a husband is the only thing of value that a woman in her society can ever do. Or maybe she needs the financial security that a man will give her. Whatever it is, some women will go to all lengths to hold on to him.
      >
      >'Get rid of him!'
      >
      >Two years ago, Ms Agnes Asimiti killed her son to appease her husband.Asimiti killed two-year-old Per Eki and buried him in a coffee plantation because he was illegitimate and was causing a rift between her and her husband.
      >
      >During her trial, Ms Asimiti said: "I decided to do it because I was stressed and my husband wanted to leave me. I had no choice but to kill the baby." In the process she cleared her husband of all blame.
      >
      >Last month, a Nakuru judge set her husband free, charged Ms Asimiti for manslaughter and then set her free on account of a serious illness that Asimiti was suffering. So now Agnes and her beloved husband are free - and more importantly, together.
      >
      >For many mothers, there is no choice between husband and child - the protection of the life of her child comes first. Agnes Asimiti was willing to sacrifice her child to hold on to her husband. And it gets worse.
      >
      >Self mutilation
      >
      >Most people cower at the thought of nicking themselves with a knife. Not 21-year-old Monica Kaari - not when her marriage was at stake. The mother of a one-year-old boy took a razor blade to her genitals in order to reconcile with her estranged husband. While women all over the world are running away and seeking refuge from Female Genital Mutilation, Monica locked herself in her parents' house in Meru and gave herself the cut. She dabbed the wound with Dettol and a herbal disinfectant, but did not bother to see a doctor afterwards.
      >
      >Apparently, her in-laws had vowed never to entertain an uncircumcised woman in their family. They had even forced her husband to kick her out of the house while she was still pregnant with their son, Karimi Karuti, in 2001. She did not get the cut because her parents did not believe in female circumcision.
      >
      >Perhaps this is symptomatic of life in the poverty-stricken rural areas, where women are often never educated enough to hold a job or aspire to a career. Their financial and social standing is derived solely from their husband. Without one you are, in every sense of the word, a nobody.
      >
      >The situation is the same in Jamaica, where women go to extreme measures to hold on to their boyfriends.
      >
      >'Love Mi Browning'
      >
      >Buju Banton's 1990's hit, 'Love Mi Browning', is a snap-shot of what beauty values are in Jamaica. In it, he sings, 'Me love money and ting, but most of all me love brownin'". In Jamaica, the term 'browning' is used to refer to a woman whose skin is any hue from chocolate to coffee brown, and lighter. And it is this type of woman that men prefer to be seen with.
      >
      >That's not all. For a woman to truly be considered beautiful, she must, ideally be a size 16 or more. In a stunning reversal of beauty standards, a Jamaican woman will only be confident enough to put on a bikini and go to a disco if she has rolls of fat, a huge behind and big breasts to show off.
      >
      >So what do you do if you are a size 10, dark-skinned woman? You bleach your skin and take chicken pills. According to Marie Claire magazine, women take these pills to pile on the pounds - in a few months, a woman can double her weight. The pills are fed to chicken just before they are slaughtered, to help them look healthy, and are only available to people who can prove that they are, indeed, chicken farmers. But since most women own a chicken or two, they can always get some.
      >
      >The pills have horrible side effects. For the first few weeks when she starts taking them, a woman will lose control of her bowel movements. "You can't really get out too much at first. You have to be able to get to a bathroom quick," says one. Other side-effects include bad breath, nausea, fatigue and thirst.
      >
      >In a country with high poverty and unemployment levels, most women depend on their boyfriends for a living. Men supply their food, furniture, clothes and rent, and pay for drinks when they go out. Many women do not have an income of their own.
      >
      >But in order to keep their boyfriends - who often have many women at a go - they also have to be light-skinned. Without the money to buy skin-lightening creams, many women make home mixtures out of curry powder, toilet bleach and toothpaste.
      >
      >Most women end up with a light-skinned face and dark-skinned body, It doesn't matter; men still prefer them to a totally dark woman. Their faces are often damaged by the mixture they apply and looks raw with red patches on it. No matter; even this could mean the difference between finding a man or not.
      >
      >Desperate measures
      >
      >In 2001, the Kenya Bureau of Standards banned certain skin lightening products from shop shelves, for the harm that they were doing their users' skin. Because they contained more than two per cent of hydroquinone - the substance that causes skin to become light - as well as mercury, they are extremely harmful to the skin. Women who have used them say they develop withdrawal symptoms comparable to those a heroin addict gets when they eventually come off the drug.
      >
      >Faiza Ali, 29, was one woman who used these products in order to hold on to her marriage. She says: "I would use the most powerful (products) in the market, such as Movate Hot Gel. Sometimes, I would mix them up to get faster and better results. When I started to use these products, my skin changed and it was beautifully soft, smooth and light brown."
      >
      >Eventually, Faiza met and married a Saudi Arabian man who was attracted to women with light skin. She continues: "This made me even more determined to maintain my light skin tone and I resorted to desperate measures. At one point I stayed in-doors for two weeks, during which time I applied masks, eggs and other concoctions on my face, together with a mixture called 'mkorogo'. 'Mkorogo' is a blend of ingredients including sodium hydroxide, hydrocortisone, hydroquinone, hydrogen peroxide, mercury and an emollient lotion. Guaranteed to turn your skin into a light, golden tone within two weeks without exposure to the sun, Faiza applied it to her entire body.
      >
      >However, when the products were banned, she stopped using these mixtures, and was soon reaping the results. "My skin started itching and burning. My face suddenly became dark, with patches around the eyes. I am, of course, a shadow of my former self."
      >
      >Her husband left her for a genuinely light-skinned, and she now fears for her future, especially without a husband.
      >
      >Love is blind
      >
      >But in some cases, poverty is not the sole cause, or even one of the reasons, for what people would consider an unusual marriage. Take the case of Irene Wanjiru, 22, who recently married evangelist Sylvester Karanja.
      >
      >It wasn't that the groom was much shorter than her, or even that he was twice her age, but that he suffers from a rare skin disease that he cannot hide. Sylvester suffers from neurofibromatosis (nerve tissue tumours) that have resulted in ugly warts and sores all over his body.
      >
      >As Irene explains it, it was not out of pity that she married him. And it certainly is not out of poverty, or any particular hurry to find a husband. Irene married Sylvester out of genuine love. After seeing him preach for the first time in 1997, Irene at once felt sorry for him. However, listening to him speak, she was struck by how unselfconscious he was. Going up to him after the sermon to congratulate him, they started to talk more regularly, and soon, Irene had to admit to herself that she was falling for him.
      >
      >When he proposed, Irene was afraid of what her people would think of him, so she ran off to think about it. As fate would have it, Sylvester managed to trace Irene a year later; she then decided that she would say yes to his proposal. In spite of the fact that many of her friends and relatives did not approve, Irene went ahead and married Sylvester in June this year.
      >
      >Physical appeal is one of the reasons people fall in love with each other. And a successful physical relationship is one of the cornerstones of a happy marriage. If Irene and Sylvester can remain happy in spite of his physical shortcomings, this will prove to the world that true love is, indeed, blind.
      >
      >Even beautiful movie stars and celebrities are not immune to this syndrome. Twice married Jennifer Lopez, voted among the most beautiful people in the world, has proven that she will do anything - including forgiving her man of anything - to hold on to love.
      >
      >She is currently engaged to fellow movie star Ben Affleck, and are set to get married in the near future. While their every action - including their mega shopping sprees and trips abroad - are the talk of Hollywood, it was Ben's recent indiscretion that everyone wanted to know about.
      >
      >On July 17, Affleck was spotted in a strip club in Vancouver, Canada, enjoying the services of some strippers. He later went into the back of the club for a private party, during which he reportedly gave two strippers oral sex. One of the girls retold the evening's events later on for the News of the World newspaper. July 17 was the same night the couple were seen proclaiming their love for each other on American national television. In spite of it all, Lopez forgave Affleck, and they are still making plans to get married.
      >
      >We are all guilty of going to some extent to hold on to the people we love. Some people might consider them extreme. To others, they may just be common place. It all depends on what angle you look at it from.
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