Headline USA New York

Hundreds of dead bodies of COVID victims are still stored inside freezer trucks

Nearly 700 corpses in New York City are kept inside storage freezer trucks at a disaster morgue set up during the first wave of coronavirus deaths in spring.

The Wall Street Journal reports that around 650 dead bodies were still stored away in the fleet of white freezer trucks parked along the Brooklyn waterfront.   

Most of the bodies are of people who can’t afford a traditional burial or whose families haven’t been located. 

The makeshift morgues were created in April, when New York City was in the midst of its coronavirus battle that essentially shut down the metropolitan as cases and deaths grew.

The Wall Street Journal reports that around 650 bodies are still stored inside freezer trucks along Brooklyn’s waterfront in New York City 

With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City morgues and graveyards became overwhelmed and freezer trucks were installed to house additional bodies

With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, New York City morgues and graveyards became overwhelmed and freezer trucks were installed to house additional bodies

On April 1, New York City had recorded more than 83,000 infections and just 1,941 deaths. At the time, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed that there was only a 20 per cent chance patients on ventilator would ever come off the device.

As of Sunday, there have been 278,956 confirmed cases and 19,537 deaths.

Most of the deceased would have typically been buried in New York City’s public burial grounds, Hart Island in the Bronx, where any average of 24 bodies were buried amid the spring surge.  

The number is approximately how many bodies would be buried in one week at Hart Island.

But after reports suggested Hart Island would be the site of mass burials, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised that no such thing would occur in the city. 

Officials with the chief medical examiner’s office told The Journal that they’ve struggled to find relatives for around 230 dead residents.  

A spokesperson said in situations like this, it usually indicates that the deceased was estranged from their family or the next-of-kin details were incorrect.

When officials have successfully contacted relatives, the bodies have remained in freezer trucks due to financial reasons.    

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York's Hart Island where the department of corrections is dealing with more burials overall, amid the coronavirus disease

Drone pictures show bodies being buried on New York’s Hart Island where the department of corrections is dealing with more burials overall, amid the coronavirus disease

The Journal reports that burial assistance in New York City was raised in May from $900 to $1,700 – a whopping $7,300 less than the average $9,000 price for a traditional service with burial. 

New York State Funeral Directors Association said cremations cost an average of $6,500,

Dina Maniotis, the chief medical examiner’s office’s executive deputy commissioner, said the pandemic added additional stress and confusion around already difficult process.

 ‘This has been traumatic,’ Maniotis told The Journal. ‘We are working with them as gently as we can and coaxing them along to make their plans. Many of them will decide they want to go to Hart Island, which is fine.’

Bodies are moved by medical staff to refrigerator truck morgues under the cover of darkness at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York

Bodies are moved by medical staff to refrigerator truck morgues under the cover of darkness at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York

 The chief medical examiner’s office wasn’t designed to handle the drastically expanded workload that arrived with the pandemic.

The Journal reports that its forensic-investigations department has just 15 staffers assigned to identify bodies and seven others to contact relatives.

The department was built to manage around 20 deaths a day, Aden Naka, the office’s deputy director of forensic investigations, told The Journal.

However, the pandemic’s peak this spring saw the unit inundated with as many as 200 new cases each day.

The forensic-investigations department was forced to bring in additional scientists from the office’s laboratories to help bolster the team.

Meanwhile, relatives swarmed the office with phone calls about potentially dead relatives and the proper next steps.

The New York City health department redirected more than 100 staffers from other fields to address the influx of calls – which reached 1,000 daily from the normal 30 or 40.

Naka said that some of the callers were recovering from the virus. Others were out of work due to the pandemic and a few were dealing with multiple coronavirus deaths in their families.

‘This was one of the few times where it routinely felt appropriate to ask people to remember to take care of themselves, to remember to be kind to themselves,’ Naka told The Journal.

‘So many people just needed us to hear their stories, to listen to their experiences, to be a friendly voice on the other end of the phone, in a way that I have not experienced before.’

A medical worker approaches a refrigerator truck being used as a morgue outside of Brooklyn Hospital Center amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 3, 2020

A medical worker approaches a refrigerator truck being used as a morgue outside of Brooklyn Hospital Center amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 3, 2020

A backlog of cases had struck the office, meaning some families didn’t find out a loved one had died for weeks or even months. 

Lea-Anne Carafa, of New Rochelle, told The Journal that’s what happened to her family when her husband, Frank Joseph Carafa, died inside his bed in May.

She wasn’t alerted of the death until July 28, when she received a phone call from the medical examiner’s office regarding collection.

‘It’s so hard knowing that he was deceased in a medical examiner’s office for all that time without his family knowing,’ she told The Journal.

Frank Joseph Carafa, who was separated from Lea-Ann at the time, had just recently rented a room in Manhattan. His death certificate did not list coronavirus as a factor. 

Lea-Anne Carafa, of New Rochelle (right), told Wall Street Journal she learned aout the death of her husband, Frank Joseph Carafa, nearly three months after he died

Lea-Anne Carafa, of New Rochelle (right), told Wall Street Journal she learned aout the death of her husband, Frank Joseph Carafa, nearly three months after he died

 A medical examiner’s office spokesperson said the department dealt with a backlogged system, and that the first successful contact is usually the result of many of investigative procedures.

Bodies are typically identified with by family members, documents, medical records and sometimes police records. During the pandemic, officials learned that many next-of-kin weren’t responding because they also had died.

The Journal reports that number of bodies in freezer truck storage has dropped from 698 to 650 from September to November.

The storage facilities will likely stay in place until the pandemic is over.   

In New York City, several areas have experienced an uptick in cases and been declared a cluster by city officials.

Staten Island led the pack, as of Thursday, with a positivity rate of 4.75 per cent followed by the Bronx at 3.82 per cent and Queens at 3.36 per cent.

Parts of Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island have been listed as hotspots. 

The seven-day case average was 1,112 as of Thursday.

Hospitalizations in New York City have reached 60,547 and the citywide seven-day average on Thursday was 3.07 per cent.

Local public schools halted in-person learning and switched to complete remote learning after the infection rate surpassed three per cent. 

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Sports UK

Man Utd victims of major cyber attack as hackers infiltrate club’s IT systems

Manchester United’s clash with West Brom will go ahead despite a major cyber security breach at the club on Thursday.

IT experts were drafted in overnight to help shut down the attack, with United confirming that Saturday’s 8pm kick-off against the Baggies had not been affected.

Hackers broke through United’s defence systems and trawled for sensitive information in what the club described as ‘sophisticated operation’.

Despite that, though, they are confident they failed to breach any fan or customer data.

A statement from the club read: Manchester United can confirm that the club has experienced a cyber attack on our systems.

“The club has taken swift action to contain the attack and is currently working with expert advisers to investigate the incident and minimise the ongoing IT disruption.

“Although this is a sophisticated operation by organised cyber criminals, the club has extensive protocols and procedures in place for such an event and had rehearsed for this risk.

“Our cyber defences identified the attack and shut down affected systems to contain the damage and protect data.

Manchester United are looking to plot their path back to the top.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.

But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.

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“Club media channels, including our website and app, are unaffected and we are not currently aware of any breach of personal data associated with our fans and customers.

“All critical systems required for matches to take place at Old Trafford remain secure and operational and tomorrow’s game against West Bromwich Albion will go ahead.”

It is understood that forensic tracing was ongoing last night as the club sought to identify whether any fan data has been accessed.

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Indian girl in Dubai enables bullied victims in schools to seek help anonymously

Ishita Karuturi
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A 13-year-old Indian girl in Dubai is set to launch an app to allow victims of bullying seek help anonymously.

Ishita Karuturi, a Year 8 student at a Dubai school, is behind the ‘Dunk-A-Bully’ app that will soon connect students with their school counsellors while staying incognito. Dunk-A-Bully is already raising awareness against bullying through its Twitter and Instagram pages, with all posts created and designed by Ishita. The news comes as the UAE is holding its fourth annual National Bullying Prevention Week till Saturday.

NAT SCREEN SHOT-1605762437362

Pandemic’s fallout

The rise in time spent at home because of distance learning during the coronavirus pandemic has made children more vulnerable to online bullying, which can be easier for the bully to get away with because of digital anonymity tools, officials and experts have warned. Almost half of the students (46 per cent) were “dreading” coming back to school because of physical bullying after the lockdowns started being lifted, according to information cited by Dunk-A-Bully.

‘Don’t be scared’

Speaking to someone after being bullied is critical for emotional and mental health, but students often shy away from seeking help because of another fear — the fear of being labelled a “tattletale”, someone who snitches on another’s wrongdoing, Ishita said.

“Dunk-A-Bully will enable schools to tackle bullying by providing students with the tools to gain confidence to talk about their problems surrounding bullying. When you get bullied, there is a lot of harm done, but what people don’t know is that if you keep the [trauma of] bullying [buried] inside you and you don’t speak to anyone about it, it can lead to depression, anxiety and it can have an impact on your future and your academic achievement. Before it gets too serious, students should talk to someone. Dunk-A-Bully allows them to do that anonymously without being scared, because usually students are scared to be labelled a tattletale,” Ishita explained.

Beyond offering tips on overcoming bullying, the app will allow a victim to message or chat with the school counsellor anonymously, after answering some brief questions so they can be directed to the right counsellor. After messaging, if they feel comfortable, they can go and meet the counsellors. In the future, the app could be expanded to cover other individuals, such as adults and external counsellors, as well as wider mental health issues, Ishita said.

Winning idea

In February, Ishita’s idea won her the ‘Young City Makers Championship’ title — a new championship that Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, had launched with the aim of engaging the youth to improve government services in Dubai and suggest future ones. Ishita used her cash prize of Dh10,000 to enlist the services of developers to build the app and she made it her summer project. She wants to pilot the app, which is “basically 90 per cent done”, at her school first before taking it out to other schools.

Before starting the Dunk-A-Bully project, Ishita had delivered a TEDx talk at her school “on the impact of sitting on your emotions and not speaking to anyone about it”. Apart from devoting her time to Dunk-A-Bully, Ishita likes drama, reading, writing, video editing and computer science.

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Headlines UK London

More than 40 mini-hospitals will be set up in England to help growing wave of long Covid victims 

More than 40 mini-hospitals will be set up in England to help the growing wave of long Covid victims

  • Centres to offer support to as many as 500k people suffering prolonged effects 
  • It comes after NICE, a public body in England, officially recognised long Covid
  • About 5% of those who get Covid have symptoms that last for 12 weeks or more

More than 40 mini-hospitals are to be established in England to help those suffering from long Covid.

The centres will offer support to as many as 500,000 people thought to be suffering prolonged effects of the virus, including breathlessness, fatigue and anxiety.

The move comes after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which decides which treatments and drugs NHS patients are entitled to, officially recognised long Covid.

The centres will offer support to as many as 500,000 people thought to be suffering prolonged effects of the virus (file photo of a hospital ward)

About five per cent of those who get coronavirus experience symptoms that last for 12 weeks or more, according to research by King’s College London. It is double that for those under the age of 50.

More than two-thirds of those hospitalised because of the virus suffer from debilitating symptoms more than seven weeks after being discharged, a study in the medical journal Thorax reported.

According to The Sunday Times, NHS England has provided £10 million to fund the specialist centres which will combine mini-hospitals within large hospitals, clinics at GP surgeries and stand-alone sites.

Ten are scheduled for the Midlands, seven in the North East, six in each of the East, South West and South East, five in London and three in the North West.

Last night, NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: ‘These pioneering long Covid clinics will help address the very real problems being faced by patients and will help the NHS develop a greater understanding of the lasting effects of coronavirus.’

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The identity of the two young victims of the Wendake tragedy revealed

Michaël Chicoine, accused of having taken the lives of his two children, aged 2 and 5, was back in court on Wednesday and the public prosecutor asked the court to lift the publication ban which prevented, until now to reveal the bond between man and children.

• Read also: Accused of killing 2 and 5 year old children

Before starting the proceedings, the prosecutor, Mr.e Thomas Jacques, asked judge Réna Émond if it was possible to turn the television on which the accused appeared, so that “the members of the family” could see Chicoine, who was in the courtroom virtually from the Québec City Detention Center.

He later said the investigation into the mid-October tragedy in Wendake was still ongoing.

Thus, the case of the father who faces charges of second degree murder will be brought back to court on January 12, still at the stage of disclosure of the evidence.

Lifting of the order

The prosecution also asked the court, in agreement with defense attorney Mr.e Pierre Gagnon, and with the family of the two small victims, to lift the publication ban that had been issued by the court during Chicoine’s appearance.

An order which notably prevented mentioning the bond between little Olivier, 5, and his brother Alex, 2, to the 30-year-old man.

Michaël Chicoine is accused of the murder of his two children, Olivier, 5 years old, and his brother Alex, 2 years old.

Courtesy photo

Michaël Chicoine is accused of the murder of his two children, Olivier, 5 years old, and his brother Alex, 2 years old.

Recall that the day before the discovery of the bodies of the two toddlers, Chicoine had surrendered himself to the police station in Victoria Park.

Hours later, police officers made the terrible discovery of the children’s lifeless bodies after arriving at Chicoine’s home in Wendake.

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On the run to make other victims

Images obtained by The newspaper show the Halloween killer presumably running away from the first crime scene by jogging before taking the rue de Buade, where he attacked a couple.

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec: An attack “more than barbaric”, says a victim

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec City: everything you need to know

• Read also: Too early to speculate on the mental state of the accused

After parking his vehicle near Château Frontenac on Halloween night, the man drove through Place d’Armes to attack a first victim, François Duchesne, 56, for free. This attack took place just in front of rue du Trésor.

Carl Girouard

Ygreck illustration

Carl Girouard

Images captured at 10:22 p.m. on rue du Trésor show Carl Girouard running down the small alley, jogging. The 24-year-old man dressed in black is then seen holding his gun in his left hand.

At the intersection of rue de Buade, the killer slows down and seems to be looking to the left before walking to the right. The nine-second video shows the accused’s only passage on rue du Trésor.

Video about de Buade

A second surveillance camera video, however, shows another scene, much more disturbing, which this time occurs on the rue de Buade. The camera, which points in an easterly direction, that is to say towards the rue des Remparts, is filming a man and a woman strolling on the sidewalk.

According to Steven Wong, owner of Wong Restaurant, the footage shows the pair of friends leaving the camera view. However, ten seconds later, another couple passed in the distance, then, “all of a sudden”, began to run in the direction of the rue des Remparts.

Mr. Wong explains that the assault took place out of view of the camera as the man and woman walking on the sidewalk reappear in the image seconds later. “They were coming from across the street for example,” he says, “the girl tried the door [du restaurant] “.

The door in question was however locked. The duo therefore resumed their course presumably to the Frontenac staircase, where good Samaritans came to their aid.

Walk towards the ramparts

The killer then reappears in the image. “You see the murderer walking calmly and, at the end, we see his legs descend towards the ramparts”, says the restaurateur.

As in the Rue du Trésor video, the man has his back to the camera, but it is possible to see the weapon while he puts a hand to his face. “The costume really looks like an Assassin’s Creed genre,” Wong concludes, referring to the hero of the famous video game.

The images also establish that the accused then took the rue des Remparts.

According to information collected by The Newspaper, he allegedly attacked two people, including the 19-year-old victim Gilberto Porras at the intersection of rue Hébert.

A few meters further, he crossed the path of Suzanne Clermont, who was smoking a cigarette. When he saw the footage, Mr. Wong obviously passed them on to investigators.

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Filipinos in Dubai play basketball to raise funds for victims of super typhoon in the Philippines

Luminous team emerged as the champions and their players received medals and lifted the trophy.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Bound by the spirit of Bayanihan (communal unity and cooperation), a group of Filipino basketball players in Dubai held friendly games over the weekend to raise funds for the benefit of families affected by the recent super typhoon that hit the Philippines.

“As much as playing basketball is in the psyche of every Filipino, helping kababayans (compatriots) in times of need is also in our DNA,” Dubai resident Arnel Fernandez, 47, basketball organiser and founder of OldSchool Basketboleros, told Gulf News. “Our country, particularly the Bicol region where I came from, was devastated by super typhoon Rolly (international code name: Goni), recorded as the world’s strongest cyclone this year. We saw in the news how the strong winds and torrential rains of Rolly wreaked havoc on Monday and we were moved to help our fellow Bicolanos,” Fernandez, who is from Libmanan, Camarines Sur, added.

Devastated region

According to reports, Rolly, the world’s strongest tropical cyclone so far this year, left at least 22 people killed (19 in Bicol and three in Southern Luzon) and injured hundreds of Filipinos. Official records say close to two million people were affected across different parts of the Philippines, with over 360,000 residents or more than 105,000 families in Bicol left homeless or displaced by the super typhoon.

Arnel and his wife Japrille Fernandez.
Image Credit: Supplied

Fernandez noted he heard from friends and relatives that most services, including electricity, telecommunications and water supply in some areas were still cut off. Damages to infrastructure in Bicol — an agricultural region — alone was pegged at 5.8 billion Philippine pesos (Dh440 million) as the storm destroyed houses, properties and crops.

Small amount, big help

Fernandez said his group was able to raise only a small amount but it would certainly help needy kababayans. “This is the spirit of bayanihan — we help in our own small way but with our collective efforts, we can really make an impact,” he explained. “We are very happy to contribute something, although many of us are also struggling with our finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fernandez, who added he and his wife Japrille are planning to forego a party for his 48th birthday on November 19 and give the money instead to charity in Bicol.

This was not the first time, however, that Fernandez and OldSchool Basketboleros held charity games. Previously, as part of their ‘Tulong Mo, Laro Mo’ (Your Help, Your Game) series, OldSchool raised funds for a cancer-stricken Filipino basketball referee and another basketball player who had a motorcycle accident. They also organised friendly games to raise funds for the victims of Taal Volcano eruption early this year.

Health protocols

Fernandez said strict health protocols were observed during the games. Players were required to wear masks when not on the basketball court and temperatures were checked before the game. Games were held in a bubble at Al Nasr Club in Dubai and officiating was conducted by JK Sports. There were no audience or cheering fans but matches were beamed live on their personal Facebook accounts.

Six teams were formed, with 12-15 players in each team a mix a various skills and abilities. Luminous team emerged as the champions and their players received medals and lifted the trophy.

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Horror night in Quebec: identity of injured victims revealed

The identity of four of the five victims injured by the saber murderer on Saturday night in Old Quebec was made public Thursday morning at the Quebec City courthouse.

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec: Carl Girouard back in court, identity of four of five injured to be revealed

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec City: everything you need to know

They are Rémy Bélanger, 37, Gilberto Porras, 19, as well as Lisa Mahmoud, 24 and Pierre Lagrevol, 26, two French nationals.

Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol were injured in the massacre in Quebec.

Courtesy photo

Lisa Mahmoud and Pierre Lagrevol were injured in the Quebec massacre.

According to our information, Lisa Mahmoud, 24, is still in hospital, five days after the tragedy.

The young woman who has posted several photos and videos of her condition on social networks since the tragic events says she is living the “darkest and most painful period” of her life.

The most “dark and painful” period of my life

“Please know that I am moved by all the love you are trying to convey to me. I am currently living through the darkest and most painful period of my life. I never would have thought I was going through this. I was the victim of an attempted saber murder, received several blows … But thank goodness I’m still alive, “she wrote on Wednesday.

She also said she was “extremely shocked” by this “more than barbaric” attack.

During a brief exchange with The newspaper, the victim said she was due for a third operation on Thursday.

Events feed

Through her posts, she briefly traces the events of Halloween night as she went out “to take pictures in the [quartier Petit] Champlain ”with his best friend, Pierre Lagrevol.

  • Listen to ex-judge Nicole Gibeault’s court column on QUB radio

She reports that she was in this area shortly after 10 p.m. The two French nationals would then have moved towards the Château Frontenac, where they would have been attacked around 10:35 p.m., according to her. “We were on the way back home,” describes the young woman, specifying the time of the attack, still on social media.

His friend, Pierre Lagrevol, 26, who was accompanying him, also reported the facts on social media on Thursday. “We were going to take pictures at little Champlain, we came across this madman who assaulted me and my best friend, we managed to escape, others were not so lucky. Now it’s time for us to physically rebuild ourselves [et] mentally! Thank you for the support and we are well surrounded, thank you! ” he writes.

Pierre Lagrevol, injured in the massacre in Quebec.

Courtesy photo

Pierre Lagrevol, injured in the massacre in Quebec.

Joined by The newspaper Thursday, Joane Hétu, director of Ambiances Magnétiques, the record label of the victim Rémy Bélanger, declined to comment. The 37-year-old improviser cellist, who works under the artist name “Rémy Bélanger de Beauport”, was reportedly transported by ambulance to a Montreal hospital on Saturday, where he remains.

Remy Belanger

Courtesy photo

Remy Belanger

Recall that Suzanne Clermont, 61, and François Duchesne, 56, lost their lives after being attacked by the alleged murderer Carl Girouard on Saturday night.

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Horror night in Quebec: vigils organized for the two victims

Flag at half mast, illuminated pavilion, vigil: the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec will pay tribute in the coming days to its director of communications and marketing, François Duchesne, one of the two victims murdered on Saturday evening in Old Quebec.

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec City: everything you need to know right now

• Read also: Horror night in Quebec: two tragic destinies united by bad luck

A vigil will take place on Tuesday November 3 from 6 p.m. in front of the Pierre Lassonde pavilion, for his family, friends, colleagues, and those who would like to pay tribute to him.

“All those who will want to show their sadness and especially to pay tribute to François will be welcome,” the MNBAQ said in a press release Monday morning.

In fact, the pavilion will be illuminated in green over the next few days, a color that symbolizes hope, to underline the memory of the one who worked hard to make the lighting of the Grande Allée building possible. Like the flag of the National Assembly, the one on the pavilion’s forecourt will be half-masted for three days.

A candlelight sharing evening is organized in front of Suzanne Clermont’s at 7 p.m. Monday, rue des Remparts. People are invited to bring flowers and candles.

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California Headline USA Los Angeles

Chronology of Horror: Anonymous and Famous Victims of Patriarchal Violence, by Maythé Ruffino | The opinion

The list of crimes against women is excessively concentrated during 2019. The journalist Gabriel Torres Espinoza calls it The year of the femicide with impunity. There are communities, societies, institutions and entire countries with laws, regulations and social, police and even military control mechanisms to subject women to states of slavery, oppression, exploitation and inequality. Is the law sharia in every village dominated by the violent fundamentalists of Boka Haram, the laws of Islam in South Arabia and thousands more. Other societies, those that are said to be more modern, disguise these forms of oppression. Women who reveal themselves to horror, abuse, exploitation and subjugation suffer violent reactions. Few survive to tell the tale, like Malala Yousafzai against the Taliban, or the three Chibok girls: Deborah, Blessing and Mary who in an unthinkable, risky and heroic way escaped the horror of Boko Haram in Nigeria, or the extraordinary Mixtec saxophonist María Elena Ríos, who, like the Hindu Reshma Bano Qureshi, survived attacks with sulfuric acid, brutal crimes all committed by misogynistic men. Others are brutally punished for their daring rebellion, such as Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh who was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes for demanding the right of women in Iran to show their faces and not wear the hijab. His sentence is greater than the 100 lashes with which the Koran dictates to punish those who commit sodomy.

Anonymous victims

End 2019 with[LR1] news of alarming numbers of feminicides of women in Mexico (ten per day), Argentina, Honduras, Spain, all over the world. While many of these women in their countries fought for their lives, and even denounced their ex-partners for the threats made against them, the state and its executive, legislative, judicial, and police structures did absolutely nothing to prevent their death, and moreover, in most cases they did nothing to punish the culprit.

Constantly appear in social networks and newspapers, more and more abused, violated, murdered women and girls in the world. They are statistics with numbers that cause horror, they come from different non-governmental, local and international organizations. They show how contemporary societies – “developed” or not – are only capable of quantifying femicides, monstrous physical attacks, kidnappings, trafficking in girls, adolescents, women; rapes, attacks, but they are not able to stop, punish, do justice or prevent them. The horror is quantified. Everything is numbers, the red blood, the suffering bodies, the screams, the suffering. The names, the little stories, the little lives, disappear. The veins, the cadences, the breaths are emptied. Women fade, they turn black on the ground, they turn to ashes in memory. Their faces and bodies are disfigured by the corrosive acid of patriarchy. Of them, in our society, only a black number remains that fattens anonymity and oblivion.

Visiting social networks becomes unbearable, unlivable, when next to a cute and wild animal doing some mime, the acid-destroyed face of a woman appears, the dismembered body of a teenager, the veiled face of a raped little girl who has been forced to give birth to a spawn. Lives and experiences are simplified into icons with red faces, the best of reactions, or yellow icons with blue tears. Some supportive men will put a blue finger, the kind that appear in cartoons with the plump thumb up. And the women? And the women? And the women? And their bodies, their stories, their pain, the harassment, the anguish, the persecution, the suffering? Where do they end up?

Famous Victims: The Case of Guadalupe Valencia Nieto

On December 2, appears on my social media wall the note of The country by Carmen Morán Breña, abruptly dislodges me from my work routine and I read: “A Me too from the 1960s in Mexico: Half a century later, the pianist Tita Valencia identifies Juan José Arreola as the man whose psychological abuse drove her to madness, a process that broke her literary career. ” I devour almost without being able to breathe the horror story, precise, of course, that Guadalupe Valencia Nieto tells the journalist Morán Breña at home, without avoiding questions, without euphemisms or metaphors.

Tita Valencia gives her name and surname to the one she had represented in 1976 in her book Bullfighting like a minotaur, the abusive man, older than her by nineteen years. The beast is the consecrated Mexican writer Juan José Arreola. Along with the legal and social identity, along with the lineage, it also identifies their intimate part, their ways of exercising violence, oppression, the specific ways that the intellectual had of being cruel, ruthless, destructive.

A couple of statements Valencia makes leave me locked in against horror, like a butterfly pierced by a pin in the center of its life. The first states that Arreola’s sexual, emotional and psychological predation was not exclusive, what there were other women he raped and abused, and notes the note: “That strutting of the teacher with his students, that ‘letting himself be loved’ could generate more victims. Does Valencia remember some of those companions …? “Yes, of course, there are two who are famous, but precisely for that reason, I prefer not to give their names,” he says in his soothing voice. “They were young like me, aspiring writers.” Fragile, he goes on to say ”.

I am shaken by deep pain, sexual predators never have a single victim, his rapture spreads and destroys all vulnerable beings in his path. And I wonder, who were those young girls that hung around Arreola that could have been his victims. On a personal level, I know several famous women, with first and last names, who were in his inner circle and that causes me stupor, anxiety, anguish. I keep reading the note, stunned. I am already immersed in a psychological, emotional, moral and political-legal process of prosecution, in the face of violence against women, we must take sides. Faced with a crime, it is not possible to remain silent, to look the other way. Either I’m with Valencia or with Arreola. There is a part of me that hurts to discard the narratives, the cunning, the good things about Arreola’s literary production, the admiration for the man of letters. But the disappointment, the disgust that the predatory man produces in me, is opposed to the deep pain and feeling of unconditional solidarity that listening to the story of Valencia produces in me. And I believe her.

The overwhelm persists at the thought that there were other girls who were abused by Arreola. I review in my head the names, the faces, the lives of the possible victims, it saddens me deeply, their silence corrodes me. Valencia’s narration, at every step, more and more, forces me to discard Arreola as a writer, because for me, a writer is, first of all, a human being, and that humanity does not fit in my world if it exists through crime, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. It hurts to discard good literature, but it hurts more to keep a despicable being and “excuse” him for his abuses or crimes for preserving his art. That is my micropolitics, my intimate, personal politics, that is my sentence. That is my way of doing justice to abuse and crime. I write my sentence in a short paragraph on the networks condemning Arreola as an abuser. From the world of writers, artists and intellectuals with whom I cross-network experiences, only three people react to the event in solidarity with the victim. Everyone and everyone is silent. Indifference, silence and lack of solidarity make me feel angry, frustrated, disappointed.

The second statement from Valencia that deserves a deep reflection appears in this part of the interview: “The case has all the characteristics of a regular abuse, now turned into a Me too avant la lettre: a hierarchical relationship, a constant neglect, now I take you now I leave you, ‘those abandonments’, the uncomplexed exhibition with other women. And the reversal of guilt, which leads the victim to assume the responsibility that does not correspond to him: ‘Forgive this outrage, forgive me that sometimes I hate you, love, and I rebel. Forgive me that at dawn … I asked myself what makes feminine pain so negligible and masculine pain so transcendent. For men to go through history what happens only to hysteria in women. ” There are two key aspects in this quote, the first is the character that the journalist gives to the Valencia complaint: that of inserting it as a #Metoo premature, avant la lettre, almost half a century before the fourth wave of feminism began. The second, coupled with the idea of ​​self-blame for the raped woman, and that it is the victim who asks the rapist for forgiveness for suffering the consequences of the crime; Valencia makes clear a historical policy of the patriarchal system with a sharpness and sharpness that surprise: the man tells his story where the woman does not appear and when it appears, the woman is narrated by the man as hysterical.

This clarity of Valencia is surprising for directly opposing his blindness as a victim and his own submission to the executioner. This contradiction and complexity shows how patriarchy and its modes of oppression are exercised, conceptualized and oppressed even from the body, thought, feeling and worse still, from the very politics of women, from the same victim. However, the clarity of Valencia becomes the complaint that establishes that female pain is inconsequential in society. While the pain of the man, of the male, is recorded in human experience as “history”, a history of the male for men and above all oppressing and ignoring the history of women. The woman’s pain does not have the same value and is registered as ‘hysteria’, as an effervescence of emotions when best judged. Most of the time, historically, the pain and suffering of women has been classified as a mental illness. Much documentation and dissertations already accounts for this, from Michael Foucault -in his Madness story- to the extraordinary narrative of Cristina Rivera Garza -in the novel No one will see me cry.

Famous Victims: The Case of Elena Poniatowska

Similarly, in the context of the famous Guadalajara International Book Fair, two days after Tita Valencia denounces Arreola, just on December 4, she appears in The Excelsior, Virginia Bautista’s note with an evasive title, almost an amateur journalist: “Elena Poniatowska eliminated class prejudices for her son.” I almost didn’t read it. But I have a tender admiration and personal taste for our Elenita. And I keep reading – in a very poorly written note, where the news hides behind the shame, or the fear, or the ineptitude, I don’t know – horrified the revelation that in a private and convulsed process of writing and inquiry that Poniatowska carries out in his latest novel, The Polish lover spinning his autobiography and the historiography of his ancestors, he recounts the crime and rape he suffered at the hands of a “teacher.” Poniatowska, like Valencia, was a victim of Arreola. The abuse here denounces a rape, a bastard son never recognized by Arreola, an abandoned and denied son, who never received any financial, emotional, psychological, intellectual support. A son taken from Poniatowska, who rescues him against patriarchal determinations that deemed her incapable of raising the child.

She, like Valencia, does not identify Arreola in her text as a predator either. He identifies it in that interview published on December 4. The journalist Bautista says that Poniatowska ratifies it ‘later’, in another interview she gave to The Excelsior, but the date of that ‘after’ turns out to be a ‘before’. She herself interviewed Poniatowska in the wake of the editorial launch of her book on November 23, twelve days before, let’s put it this way, writing the rehash of the novel’s launch. The polish lover at FILG. That first note is better titled, but it is just as evasive: “Elena Poniatowska, tribute to the Polish roots: The Mexican writer publishes her‘ most personal novel ’, in which she reviews intense and painful moments.” Excelsior, 23/11/2019 05:00 by Virginia Bautista. I’m in a hurry to read that first interview. Again, the rape complaint, one of the central parts of the interview, appears buried in the historical review and minutiae of the novel. It is that neither Bautista nor Poniatowska herself make that event, that complaint of rape that radically changed the course of the life of the writer herself and the destiny of her son, the most important thing.

I see self-silencing, self-blame as common barbed threads that gagged these two great artists for more than half a century: Tita Valencia and Elena Poniatowska. And I keep thinking about the ‘other famous woman’ who did not name Valencia but who knows for sure was also a victim of Arreola. And the not famous ones, the ones that will sink your horror into anonymity. Poniatowska first denounced Arreola, on November 23, on December 2 Valencia did. My heart races and I wonder, when will the other victim report Arreola? Will the others appear or will they remain anonymous? Will they die with that silence rotting their eyes?

I post Bautista’s note on my wall criticizing his bad journalism. I suggest a possible edit to the title: Elena Poniatowska reveals that Arreola raped her and is the father of her first child. Alarmed, I see that no one reacts to Poniatowska’s report of rape and abuse. How terrible! The woman’s pain is not worth it. It hurts less than a book cover, a newspaper article, than a blue finger in the world of simulations of social networks. The pain of anonymous women is not worth it, but neither is that of famous women.

To end the chronology of violence against famous women, appears the beautiful literary review of María Teresa Prieto de The polish lover. But when it comes to reporting the rape that Poniatowska suffered, she is timid and weak. Where he should have raised his voice accompanying Elena in the ‘horror event’, when he recounted and denounced the rape that Juan José Arreola suffered, he barely mentions it. People who are careful not to give first and last names after the index finger that shouts “the rapist is you” protect their careers as journalists, intellectuals, academics, their contacts and connections with family members, friends, student readers, admirers of the circle of the famous, of the Arreola. And I ask: how to act before famous rapists, before men of power, literary, intellectual, artistic? You have to keep looking the other way, away from the horror and suffering they cause, without assigning them responsibility or paying for their atrocities, and read their literature? Buy your books? See his films, his works of art, his staging? Make tributes to them? Can today’s society leave the rapacious man intact in order to enjoy his literature or his art? And to the victims, dispose of them as garbage? Understand them as collateral damage of the creative process, inspirational.

Originally Posted On 12/31/2019.

Poet, Mexican writer. Graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied Political Science, Latin American Studies and Hispanic American Literature. He received his master’s degree from California State University, Los Angeles and is currently pursuing his doctorate at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has given literary workshops, given lectures, and participated in cultural, literary and poetic life in Mexico, Spain, Canada, Argentina and the US. He has published in various magazines and newspapers in the cities of Mexico, Managua, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Washington, Madrid, Montreal and Argentina. Anthologated by the Fondo de Cultura Económica in the 2004 Mexican Poetry Yearbook (as Maythé Rueda) as one of the best Mexican poets. From his creation the collections of poems: Trenas de Bruma, Discrepancies, Sand bites, Tearing darkness, Transitory poems, Bird Wings, De sal y ceniza, Dislocations and Closed blinds. Member of the editorial board of the magazines Monóculo, La Hoja and La Luciérnaga. Winner of the 1999 Long Beach House of Culture Poetry Prize, and 2006 Cal State LA Poetry Prize. She was a writer and literary critic for the Los Angeles daily La Opinion, as well as directing literature workshops.

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