Sunday, 24 January 2016

Tutelary Gods of Sydney

"Sydney" by vampiresaredifferent.deviantart.com
The founding of Sydney by Europeans theoretically began on the 26th of January 1788 when a flag was first flown on Sydney’s shore, courtesy of a small number of British officers who had disembarked from the first fleet; it took up to eleven days for the remainder of the men to make their way to shore, at which point the women arrived:
“On February 6 their disembarkation began … Those who had decent clothes had put on all their finery … The last of them landed by six in the evening … as dusk fell the weather burst. Tents blew away; within minutes the whole encampment was a rain-lashed bog. The women floundered to and fro … pursued by male convicts … One lightning bolt split a tree in the middle of the camp and killed several sheep and a pig beneath it. Meanwhile … sailors … asked for an extra ration of rum ‘to make merry with upon the women quitting the ship.’ … Bowes [a doctor who travelled with the first fleet] remarked, ‘it is beyond my abilities to give a just description of the scene of debauchery and riot that ensued during the night.’ … with ‘some swearing, others quarrelling, others singing – not in the least regarding the tempest, tho’ so violent that the thunder shook the ship exceeding anything I ever before had a conception of’ [Hughes, The Fatal Shore, Random House at 89].”
This event marked the true date upon which Sydney was founded and the circumstances were both dramatic and remarkable – it is as if Jupiter took an offering of “several sheep and a pig” for himself by the action of his lightning, while the settlers drank and f—ked in a wild Bacchanalian rite as the storm roared around them.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Speaking Out - Sexual Assault and Cultural Predispositions

Today it has emerged that a large number of sexual assaults took place during NYE celebrations in Cologne by around "1,000 drunk and aggressive young men ... of Arab or North African appearance". One particular story to emerge from this series of incidences is as follows: 
One man described how his partner and 15-year-old daughter were surrounded by an enormous crowd outside the station and he was unable to help. "The attackers grabbed her and my partner's breasts and groped them between their legs" [www.bbc.com/news].
The first time I was ever sexually assaulted was by north Africans
I feel keenly for this 15 year old girl because when I was the same age I was also assaulted by a group of males in central Cairo - although it was clear what was happening (running up to me in an almost childish game and trying to grab at my genital region), not one local Egyptian came to my aid. During the same trip I was also groped on the genitals by an old man while he spoke to my mother - I was too stunned to say anything at the time but I was so distressed afterwards that my mother cut short our trip (and so I never got to see Alexandria). These two incidences constitute the first time a man ever touched me intimately - not ideal. A year later I got talking to a German exchange student at my school and she told me she had had a similar experience when she went to Egypt.

A barrier between men and women is created after a large number of women were sexually assaulted during protests in Cairo
Source: www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/09/sexual-violence-egypt-target-woman