EDITORIAL: Bethel’s work a credit to The Bahamas

LAST week saw the celebration of International Women’s Day.

Across The Bahamas – including here in the pages of The Tribune – people took the time to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women, as well as taking a moment to note the progress that still remained to be made.

It is all too easy for such celebrations to be isolated on a single day and then, the moment over, moving on without continuing to recognise the achievements of women.

So we take that time today in this column to note the work of Marion Bethel, who has played a major role in two landmark human rights cases.

The cases may be far from our shores, but it is a credit both to Ms Bethel and to our nation that she has played such a pivotal part in proceedings.

The first case dates all the way back to 1944, and the “comfort women” forcibly taken to the Red House, the Japanese headquarters in San Ildefonso, Pampanga. The women were repeatedly raped, tortured, exposed to sexual violence and inhumane detention.

The second case involved a Spanish woman who underwent premature labour induction and a caesarian section without her consent.

Reparations have been requested in both cases, along with an apology.

It may seem that these matters are far from home – so what do they mean for The Bahamas? But as Ms Bethel says in the second case, “This case calls on us in The Bahamas to reflect on and address our own protocols and standards concerning the treatment of women in healthcare facilities in compliance with the human rights standards of dignity, respect and autonomy.”

In short, in the failings of others, we can learn lessons for ourselves.

So we salute Ms Bethel, a figurehead in elevating the fight for human rights, and note that celebration of those who achieve so much should not be limited to one day, but whenever we have the opportunity.

It should be noted that much was also said on International Women’s Day about rights and progress – and yet, the much talked about laws on marital rape, for which last week had been talked of as a moment when the government would announce progress on consultation and legislation, have not advanced any further yet.

Words are easy to say, but action is where governments must be judged. Unless active steps are taken to further equality, then those words may just be lip service.

What’s new?

As you look through The Tribune over the coming weeks, you may well see a few new features – and we will take a moment here to introduce them.

In Friday’s edition last week, there was the debut of two new regular features. One of these was the return of the Clubs & Societies page, essentially a community noticeboard where groups and organisations from Rotary to sororities, from running and cycling clubs to church groups and more can let us know about their activities. This is a chance to share with the public who you are and what your group is doing. Email clubs@tribunemedia.net to join in.

Friday also saw the appearance of the first in a series of articles by Eric Wiberg, who will take us on a journey every second week to discover the crashed planes around The Bahamas.

On Tuesday of next week, The Tribune launches its new Education page, with reporter Fay Simmons looking to share stories from within schools and other education establishments. You can email her at jsimmons@tribunemedia.net with your stories.

Returning to our aviation historian, Mr Wiberg will also be one of the first voices to feature in our new series of Tribune podcasts, launching in the next two weeks.

All of these will add to our regular content – more in the paper and more on our website.

We look forward to your stories.


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