Not because I’m not a feminist (by gosh I am), but because I don’t want in any sense to diminish the work and experience of any family carers whatever their sex. Being a carer is about fate, not gender.
But this week’s revived coverage of the wicked murder of Jean McConville forty years back raises all sort of feminist hackles and furies in me.
And a lot have to do with care and caring.
Here is a 37year old widow – lone parent and sole carer – beaten, brutalised, and torn screaming from the screaming arms of her ten young children and slaughtered. Just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time and acting with common humanity in a world where common humanity was not common currency.
And who cares? Who cares for those she cares for?
Seems to me the personal aspects of the whole incident have been treated as being of extreme insignificance by people who have divorced politics from reality . Over the last 40 years poor Jean McConville was never seen as as important, as real as the political processes around her.
Which have been clearly dismissive of such concepts as human care and concern.
We hear Jean McConville wasn’t ‘guilty’ of anything more than comforting a dying soldier – and, tell me, what carer wouldn’t comfort a dying person? Yet that simple act of care was enough to sign her a death warrant, a bullet in the head and a sandy grave.
(But, say she was, in fact, ‘guilty.’ Tell me, what guilt should reasonably be considered guilt sufficient to allow for such a punishment to fall on her and her entire family?)
It’s not only hearing details of the abducton, seeing heart-rending footage of the children interviewed days afterwards that makes me incandescent, it is also the repulsive uncaring irresponsible language in which things are described.
She is one of the ‘disappeared‘, her senseless slaughter nothing but a ‘disappearance’ – and her children are threatened, separated and thrown on the state, their lives blighted, pretty much without comment. And now we hear this entire terrible history dismissed as a ‘legacy issue’ – and any belated concern for justice is described as sending out the “wrong signal“, dismissed as “a political gambit.”
It’s as if the IRA were horrific teenagers, mouthing,”I said I’m sorry.” They seem to think that should therefore be the end of the matter.
Little people don’t matter, do they?
Especially if they are women.
And most especially if they are poor and unsupported women.
Like I say, I am incandescent.