Category Archives: women’s writing

A comprehensive evaluation of the overall impact of aluminum on human health is overdue

A decade since the launch of the vaccine a book questions the claim it prevents cancer,’ wrote Carolyn Moynihan as she began her review of my book Gardasil: Fast-Tracked and Flawed published in August in MercatorNet. Her review was fair with her concluding paragraph:
Lobato concludes her book with an appeal to the media to do their job and give the public the fuller story about the HPV vaccine. You may not agree with her version of the story at all points, but she has shown Big Media some of the things they could be airing in the interests of informed debate.
A month later MercatorNet has published another piece presenting ‘expert’ evidence given by Professor Silvia Carlos an expert on infectious diseases in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Navarre, Spain. One of the issues that they discuss with Professor Silvia Carlos concerns the safety of aluminium in the HPV vaccine. It is vital that we understand this issue as Gardasil contains 225 micrograms of amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate per dose. The purpose and mechanism of the aluminium as an adjuvent is explained by Exley, C., Siesjö, P. & Eriksson as owing to the homogeneity and generally weak immunogenicity of recombinant antigens, the inclusion of adjuvants is often necessary for the induction of robust immune responses and effective immunisation. In other words the human papilloma virus-like particles made by DNA recombination technology are not strong enough to bring about an immune response so aluminium which enhances the body’s immune response is added.
Silvia Carlos claims that the amount of aluminium in the vaccines is low and quotes the CDC, Centres for Disease Control and Prevention which says that aluminium has been safely used in vaccines for over 70 years.
However Canadian researchers Lucija Tomljenovic and Christopher Shaw state in their paper Aluminium Adjuvants: Are they safe?  
Despite almost 90 years of widespread use of aluminum adjuvants, medical science’s understanding about their mechanisms of action is still remarkably poor. They state that:

Aluminum is an experimentally demonstrated neurotoxin. Experimental research clearly shows that aluminium adjuvants have a potential to induce serious immunological disorders in humans. In addition: the use of adjuvants in human vaccinations has been linked to adverse effects often classified under Autoimmune (or autoinflammatory) syndrome induced by adjuvants . Combined with the relatively low cost of hydrated colloidal aluminium salts and their ease of inclusion as effective adjuvants within clinically approved vaccine formulations, the continued use of ABA (aluminium based adjuvants) in human vaccinations is likely to continue. Aluminum adjuvants are also used in vaccines such as hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria-tetanus-containing vaccines, and Haemophilus influenzae type b and pneumococcal vaccines.

Canadian researchers Tomljenovic and Shaw state that unlike dietary aluminium which usually is rapidly cleared from the body, aluminium that is used in vaccines such as Gardasil ‘is designed to provide a long-lasting cellular exposure’. They explain that while the aluminium that is contained in vaccine facilitates an immune response against antigens it can make its way into the central nervous system. ‘It is not really a matter of much debate that aluminium in various forms can be neurotoxic.’

The authors of a study called Vaccines, adjuvants and autoimmunity have found that Vaccines and autoimmunity are linked fields. They report that: Vaccines are able to elicit the immune system towards an autoimmune reaction. It is vital that we understand the part that vaccines such as Gardasil play in the development of  autoimmune diseases for they are increasing all over the globe and currently affect one in five Americans. In the study the immunologists have reviewed cases of ‘vaccine-induced immunity’ explaining the process as Autoimmune Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants. Adjuvants are added to vaccines in order to stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies but in some people they cause immune reactions and symptoms that manifest as autoimmune disease. The latest HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 contains 500 micrograms of (AAHS) which is given as two or three shots.

The safety of our teenagers is at stake. They are being injected all over the world with Gardasil which has 225 micrograms per dose and in Australia next year will be given Gardasil 9 containing 500 micrograms per dose. Tomljenovic and Shaw call for a comprehensive evaluation of the overall impact of aluminum on human health which they stress is overdue. In the meantime the HPV vaccination programs should be ceased. There is zero scientific evidence that HPV vaccines have been proven to prevent a single case of cervical cancer in any country (Dr Sin Hang Lee).

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under books, gardasil, health, history, media, Media and health, news, pharmaceuticals, politics, vaccination, vaccines, women's writing, womens rights

Wave

Screen shot 2015-06-15 at 7.23.18 AM

 

 

A terrific new novella by Hoa Pham

 

Wave explores the alienation of being an international student in Australia with great pathos and depth, told with Hoa Pham’s characteristic compassion and lyricism.—Alice Pung

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under books, women's writing, womens rights

Haifa Fragments

In Haifa Fragments 

khulud khamis unpacks the multiple layers of culture, religion, sexuality, politics, feminism and nationalism in the hope of gathering the fragmented pieces of the past and reclaiming the lost contiguity of being Palestinian. – Samah Sabawi, Palestinian playwright and commentator

Screen shot 2015-02-02 at 2.38.39 PM

 

Maisoon is a Palestinian citizen of Israel, raised as a Christian and in a relationship with a Muslim. Her boyfriend Ziyad wants the tradition-defying Maisoon to commit to their relationship. ‘…For Allah’s sake, Mais, what’s your problem? I want to marry you! I want us to be a real family.’

But the young jewellery designer is determined to find her own path with both Ziyad and her father constantly frustrated with her.  Her father, Majid dreams that his only daughter will become a doctor. To Layla his wife, he sighs: “Everything is wrong. Her quitting medical school…and…and…” ” She’s going out with a Muslim!”

Majid has his reasons and these and his carefully hidden past eventually become known to his wilful daughter. In the eyes of Maisoon, her father was the responsible bank clerk who worked overtime most days and always hoped he’d be promoted but wasn’t. He was the meek obedient citizen who knew that he didn’t belong:’Because his name was Majid’. He was of the generation ‘who never dared to raise their heads’- ‘those who grew up under military rule’. Majid wanted a better life for his daughter and disapproved of her working for the Yahudiyya (Jewish) boutique owner…’she could have done better’.

As Maisoon uncovers forgotten papers she is moved by what she learns of her father’s political past. The young Majid had been in love with a Muslim woman and taken part in the armed resistance, resulting in jailtime. He was also a poet.

Forgive me.

So today they finally got you. 

Last time we smoked nargila together you laughed. You said, 

They’ll never get you.

But they did.

You said, ” Who’s interested in a fighter whose weapon is the pencil?”

But they were.

 

‘Baba, the bank clerk? A poet? Could it be?’ This man, her father who was so angry about her own political activities. The same man who implored her to give up her peace activism: ‘It’s gone, our land is gone, and we are citizens of this state. You can’t bring back the past. It’s dead’.

khulud khamis, unpacks multiple layers in this intriguing novel. The layers are many and concern themselves with those of culture, religion, sexuality, politics, feminism and nationalism. Maisoon lives in a complex world: she is a feminist and peace activist who rails and acts against the gross injustices metered out to those who live in the occupied territories. And as a feminist she wants to live her own life, not the one that her father wants her to lead. She resists a permanent relationship with Ziyad as she explores her sexuality with Shahd. And as she comes to grips with her father’s secret life – a life formed of struggle involving culture, religion and nationalism, ‘the lost contiguity of being Palestinian’ is reclaimed.

Haifa Fragments is published by Spinifex Press

Release Date: March 8, 2015

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, feminism, fiction, history, Palestine, politics, war, women's writing

In search of cerebral content

Opinion_lettersjpeg_thumb

 

 

 

 

What happened to the opinion page? Remember The Age  when it was a broadsheet and there were three or more opinion pieces in the middle pages that bordered the letters to the editor. These were lengthy pieces of analysis  on topics relating to current public debate. Usually 800-1000 words of worthy content  engaging the reader and leading to enjoyable swapping of ideas and information among family and friends later in the day. Of course there are still opinion pieces  in The Age but these are poor replacements, and badly positioned so as not to be  easily seen and rarely read.

And as for ABC radio: Jonathan Holmes former host on ABC TV’s ‘Media Watch’ and now a columnist at The Age recently wrote about content in this digital era lamenting the fact that on Radio National, long-form, specialist journalism is being down-sized in favour of the radio equivalent of fast food. This is sad for those of us who like to read and listen to programs that make us think and not just designed to dumb us down.

Article%20Lead%20-%20narrow6376523111ysdvimage_related_articleLeadNarrow_353x0_11ypkf_png1417557002488_jpg-300x0And it’s not just radio, TV and newsprint that are changing for the worse, it’s the cinema too. Reflecting on her 28 years presenting ‘The Movie Show’, retiring presenter Margaret Pomeranz says: the big change has been how much money has come to dominate the industry, with studios bankrolling sequels but not taking risks on smaller films.

And then there’s the publishing industry – same problem, different product. This time it’s books and the wonderful ideas within that are at risk from technology giants such as Google, Amazon and Apple .

The blurb for  Bibliodiversity: A Manifesto for Independent Publishing written by Susan Hawthorne reads:  In a globalised world, megacorp publishing is all about numbers, about sameness, about following a formula based on the latest megasuccess. Each book is expected to pay for itself and all the externalities of publishing such as offices and CEO salaries. It means that books which take off slowly but have long lives, the books that change social 269norms, are less likely to be published.

Independent publishers such as Susan Hawthorne of Spinifex Press are seeking another way. A way of engagement with society and methods that reflect something important about the locale or the niche they inhabit. In  Bibliodiversity Hawthorne writes that Independent and small publishers are like rare plants that pop up among the larger growth but add something different, perhaps they feed the soil, bring colour or scent into the world.

We need to cherish our remaining newspapers, our beleaguered ABC , and nurture our book and movie industries from which we gain so much.  And in the words of author P.D James who died last week: Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

And hang on to the dwindling hope that good content sees the light of day in a world where money, not thought, rules.

Leave a comment

Filed under books, journalism, local news, media, popular culture, reflection, social change, women's writing

Write what you need to write!

P.D. James on writing:
Screen shot 2014-11-28 at 4.39.11 PM“Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.” Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under books, cruelty, documentary, feminism, history, journalism, media, media representation, news, politics, popular culture, women's writing, womens rights

The women roar

9781460703625

Last Woman Hanged written by journalist and author Caroline Overington is the story of Louisa Collins. Twice married, Collins endured not just one, but four trials for the murder of her second husband and was finally convicted of his murder and hanged. It’s also story of how the courageous women of New South Wales and beyond rallied to fight for the life of this unfortunate woman and in the process women’s rights and suffrage were won.

It’s an engaging book! This Australian story takes place in the latter half of the nineteenth century where life was extremely hard for women. It concerns Louisa Collins, a young woman who had been forced into an early marriage to a man she didn’t love, and to whom she bore nine children. Her youthful days were spent feeding, washing and caring for her family. When hardship struck and the young couple found it difficult to make ends meet, Louisa and her husband Charles Andrews took in borders and very soon one of these, Michael Collins became Louisa’s lover. It was just a few months later that Louisa’s husband suddenly became sick and died. Friends and acquaintances noted and were appalled that Louisa failed to mourn the loss of her husband and all too soon became Michael Collins’ wife.

From what we read Louisa was in love with Collins even though it is suspected that Collins married her for the insurance money left to her on the death of her first husband. Collins soon gambled this away leaving the couple in debt with many mouths to feed. It wasn’t long before Louisa’s second husband Collins also became sick with ‘gastritis’ and despite medical attention succumbed. This time the sudden death of a relatively young man was noted and Louisa was accused of slowly poisoning Collins with arsenic.

The evidence gathered at the four trials into Collin’s death was circumstantial. No-one saw Louisa administer any arsenic neither was she seen to purchase the poison. Whereas the first three trials had failed to reach a guilty verdict the fourth trial saw her guilty of the crime of murdering her husband. Those involved were determined to find the woman guilty. Life in the 1880s was difficult for women who were often at the mercy of abusive husbands from whom they could not escape. Employment for women was rare and refuges even rarer. Therefore Louisa Collins must be seen to be punished for the murder of her husband – it wouldn’t do for her to escape punishment for other women suffering at the hands of her husband might get similar ideas.

But the evidence that convicted her was circumstantial. The testimony obtained from May, Louisa’s young daughter claiming that she had seen a box of rat poison containing arsenic in the house and the evidence from the expert who doubted that the men would absorb enough poison from handling fleeces to cause them death was crucial and led to Louisa’s conviction.

But not before the women of the colony had their say. The women roared. For they had very few rights. A woman’s place was definitely in the home. Women could not vote, and they did not sit on juries. Women had no say on the question of capital punishment. Many women supported Louisa and wrote to the governor and newspapers declaring that while Louisa may have done a terrible thing and poisoned her husbands, she should not be hanged. This they considered was barbaric. The women would have their say and they did.

In January 1889 a committed group of women set about to try to save Louisa’s life. One of the most determined was Mrs Eliza Pottie, a fifty-year-old mother of ten who among her other activities was president of the Mission Home for Women at Glebe, established to help unmarried mothers. But most importantly Mrs Pottie was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union which believed in controlling the supply of alcohol to protect women from violent husbands. They advocated for women to be able to work and vote. Together with ten other women, Pottie drew up a resolution arguing that it was abhorrent that a woman and a mother should be hung till she was dead. Other women such as Elizabeth Parsons was responsible for the so-called petition of the women of Victoria which was signed by more than 500 women who declared that although the crime was loathsome the punishment by hanging was barbaric and was anathema to the spirit of modern civilisation. Although the Governor Lord Carrington promised to consider the petition he did nothing and Louisa was hanged at Darlinghurst Gaol on Tuesday 8 January 1889.

As well as being a really absorbing  story about Louisa Collins, her life and crimes, throughout the latter pages of the book Caroline Overington tells the little known stories of the wonderful women who as a result of their involvement in Louisa’s awful plight, underwent consciousness raising leading to a better life for all women.

Louisa’s ordeal led Australian women to become aware of the injustices that confronted their sex and to work towards suffrage and the right for women to earn a decent living and the right not to lose their children after divorce.

Caroline Overington correctly labels Last Woman Hanged a terrible true story but it’s much more. It’s also a wonderful and inspiring story of women’s fight for justice and this needs to be told!

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under books, domestic violence, feminism, politics, social change, unemployment, women's writing, womens rights

Surrogacy-male violence against poor women

Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 6.30.22 PM

On ABC TV’s ‘Foreign Correspondent’ program July 8, reporter Jane Cowan took a critical look at commercial surrogacy. The Last Resort was filmed in Cancun, Mexico where poor women, often from rural villages come to the popular tourist city hoping to become surrogate mothers. In Mexico successful surrogates are paid up to $13,000 for the delivery of a child to desperate infertile western couples.

The business of surrogacy takes place at Planet Hospital, run by ‘rogue operator’ Rudi Ruprak, a former software developer. Now I would have thought that anyone running a surrogacy business would have to be medically trained but this is not how it happens at least here in Mexico, and in India and Panama where Ruprak has operated and left failed surrogacy ventures.

A former employee-turned patient claimed that Ruprak targets gay couples and single people who due to India’s new surrogacy laws find it difficult to access surrogacy there. In Cancun, Planet Hospital draws its surrogates from poor women, often those escaping male violence, women essentially alone and vulnerable. One of the women featured on the program dreamt of becoming a surrogate so as to earn enough to set up a business enabling her to support her extended family. Sadly her hopes were never realised. When she miscarried at four months, Planet Hospital had already closed its doors leaving the former surrogate penniless and alone in Mexico. She mourns the loss of the child saying :’We also have feelings’. And the gay man who spent $22,500 on embryos could not even access them because as the business went belly-up his embryos were locked away and only accessible should he agree to pay off some of the failed companies’ debts.

I think that this was a powerful program and one that concentrated on the lack of regulations that exist in the industry. There was not a lot of emphasis on the abuses that the women are subjected to, such as the physical effects of the surrogacy and its accompanying treatments, the deprivation of a normal life for the nine months when the women are essentially locked up and kept apart from family and friends. And then if they make it to the end of the pregnancy, once they give birth, they are separated forever from the child. This is abuse and exploitation of women and especially of the poorest, most vulnerable of women who have little job prospects and need this money to improve their families’ lives.

This program makes us think: Does everyone have to have a child? Because this is an industry that only exists because increasingly society seems to believe that everyone is  owed a child while in reality there are plenty of unfortunate children who need the love and attention of rich, childless people.


Screen shot 2014-07-12 at 5.49.51 PMKajsa Ekis Ekman, author of ‘Being and Being Bought: Prostitution, Surrogacy and the Split Self’ claims that surrogacy is ‘child trafficking’. She refers to the industry as a ‘capitalist creation story’ where the parent is the one who pays and the product is a baby. Ekman is to speak at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at the Sydney Opera House in August. The organisers of the festival have labelled her talk with the provocative title: Surrogacy is child trafficking. Kajsa’s presentation is sure to get the attention it deserves!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under books, documentary, feminism, health, history, media representation, politics, popular culture, social change, women's writing, womens rights