Maquina Lectora

Notes of a curious mind

Tag: Human rights

The Dream of a Celt by Mario Vargas Llosa

This is a fascinated story of a complex man who lived an extraordinary life as a hero of human rights only to die as a traitor in the eyes of British officials.

Roger Casement was born in Kingstown, County Dublin, to a Protestant father and a Catholic mother. He was secretly baptised into the Catholic faith by his mother at the age of four but for most of his life, he considered himself as a Protestant and only a few weeks before his death, he was formally converted to Catholicism. In his youth, Casement worked briefly as a clerk for a Liverpool shipping line, before he moved to Africa in 1884 to work with Henry Morton Stanley, where later as British Consul, began investigations into slave labour in Congo. His report on the atrocities to the indigenous people by the Belgian Force Publique was published in 1904 and it caused a public outrage all across Europe.

In 1910, Roger Casement was sent by the British government into the Amazon jungle to investigate alleged abuse of workers in the rubber industry in the region of the river Putumayo, a no man’s land between Peru and Colombia that today belongs to Colombia.  At the end of the nineteen century, a Peruvian merchant called Julio César Arana, taking advantage of the rubber boom, begun to collect wild rubber in the disputed region of Putumayo. Before long his Peruvian Amazon Rubber Company became million-dollar company and Arana decided to registered it in London in order to attract more capital.  Soon, the alleged atrocities to indigenous populations and to British subjects, such as the Barbadians, by the employers of Casa Arana, forced the British Parliament to order an investigation.

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The War on Women by Sue Lloyd-Roberts

The War on Women is a book that shocks. After every chapter you have to pause, think what you just read, take everything in. The inhumanity of man to women, and sometimes woman to women, the misogyny, the hatred, the fear towards women, it’s just heartbreaking.

It is a book filled with compelling stories of women, of injustice and abuse in countries with different cultures as Ireland and India,  in countries as distant as Egypt and Argentina. Sue Lloyd-Roberts believed that no country could take the moral high ground when it came to human rights abuses.

Abducted women are drugged and thrown out of planes by the junta in Argentina, during the “Dirty Wars”.  Young women as young as fourteen years old are raped in Kosovo by members of an international peacekeeping force. Girls endure ‘horrible, horrible pain’ because their external female genitalia have been partially or completely removed by force (FGM).  But it is also a book that inspires, because there are women that fight back. Like Maimouna from Gambia that fled her village in Gambia so she can stop her family’s tradition role i genital ‘cutting ceremonies. Or Célhia de Lavarène, the French journalist that fights human trafficking for sexual exploitation. Women that do make a difference.

Sue Lloyd-Roberts was a  determined and pioneer journalist, she exposed so many of world’s tyrannies. She was also  courageous and fearless campaigner who gave voice to people who otherwise would not be heard.


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