Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Reflections in the aftermath of International Women's Day: Feminism and Chelsea Manning

Reflections in the aftermath of International Women's Day: Feminism and Chelsea Manning

On Women’s day I sat down to reflect upon and maybe write a small article about all of the brave women who have dared the risks of making, or trying to make, change in our corrupted world.  There were women’s marches on a global scale this year but I first looked at and saluted our own Canadian women.  What Canadian woman could not thrill at the risks Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott have taken in their careers to expose the wrong-doing of the Trudeau government in seeking to cover up the sins of a powerful corporation (SNC-Lavalin).  And then there was the wonderful pride and courage exhibited by the many First Nation women who risked arrest, and were arrested, for standing their ground in environmental blockades.  I also salute Dr. Alexander Morton for her tireless and valuable work on the deplorable fish farms that constantly threaten our wild salmon. As a dual citizen, I also felt a glow of appreciation when I heard of the young Democratic women south of the border. They are trying desperately to revive their party new again; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Llhand Oman, Tulsa Gabbard, and a few others who are identifying as Democratic Socialists. And then I got to Chelsea Manning.  


Where to place her in the “woman as hero” category?  Biologically, Manning is not a female, but she presents as a woman, as the word “woman” is a social designation. Manning looks, speaks and acts as a woman. I will go one step further and say Manning also acts like a mother. In what way?  In the way she has exposed the criminal drone killings of children when she was in the military.  Of course, it was criminal to kill the adults as well in the material Manning sent to Wiki leaks, but the sight of children scrambling to escape were heart rendering.  Manning knew she was taking terrible risks when she released the tapes.  The U.S. still has the death penalty. Even if she wasn’t killed outright she knew she was facing a possible life time in prison. She was given thirty-five years. That she was pardoned after seven years was a last minute decision by President Obama before leaving office.  


Now the U.S. Secret Services want her to appear before a secret grand jury to testify against Wiki leaks and Julian Assange without a lawyer and only the prosecutors present. She reused, saying she was against secret grand juries in principal, and she had nothing to add to her previous military testimony. So Manning is back in prison.


How long will she say there?  Will they be able to break Manning down in their desperation to get something more on Julian Assange?  Time will tell.  In the process Chelsea Manning has further clarified the word “feminism” for me.  The word can mean different things to different women, but for me it has to be synonymous with the search for motherly justice, which in turn means the demand for protection of all children. Without this definition, feminism will mean little of importance to the human race. Chelsea Manning has demonstrated for the world that she was willing to put her very life where her heart was, and it was a motherly heart. Chelsea Manning is my pick for Feminist Woman of the Year.