The failure to serve posthumous justice to the thousands of people — mainly women — persecuted as witches in post-Reformation Scotland “prolongs misogyny,” a Scottish lawmaker launching a bid to grant them a legal pardon has said.
“The only way we can move forward in terms of where we are with misogyny and prejudice in society is by fixing these injustices of our past,” Scottish National Party lawmaker Natalie Don said, ahead of yesterday’s launch of a Scottish Parliament member’s bill.
She also hoped that the bill could contribute to awareness of parts of the world where women and girls still face such accusations and their violent consequences, she said.
A pardon for the 4,000 people tortured and often executed under the Witchcraft Act of 1563 would be a collective rejection of misogynistic attitudes in the past and the present, Don said.
She believes the campaign for acknowledgment of the historical femicide has gained traction in the past few years because of its contemporary resonance.
“Specific kinds of women that were targeted, generally because they were a little bit different, they were poor, they were outcasts. We still see that in the modern day — although it’s maybe not the same characteristics — where women who do choose to be different or independent feel men’s anger,” she said.
When Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued a formal apology to those affected on International Women’s Day in March, she said that the “deep misogyny” motivating the Witchcraft Act had not been consigned to history.
“Today it expresses itself not in claims of witchcraft, but in everyday harassment, online rape threats and sexual violence,” Sturgeon said.
The launch was welcomed by Queen’s Counsel Claire Mitchell of the Witches of Scotland campaign, which has led calls for an apology and pardon.
“This is a way for people in the 21st century to acknowledge and to have their say in pardoning those who suffered the most grave miscarriage of justice centuries before,” she said.
Momentum for national acknowledgment continues to grow, with the charity Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland last month securing an apology from the Church of Scotland for its central role in the persecution, and has now identified a possible location for a national memorial in Fife, the locus of much of Scotland’s witch panic.
The bill is launched amid a swell of grassroots groups researching local prosecutions and organizing community memorials.
A long trek across the desert of northeastern Niger brings visitors to one of the most astonishing and rewarding sights in the Sahel: fortified villages of salt and clay perched on rocks with the Saharan sands laying siege below. Generations of travelers have stood before the “ksars” of Djado, wondering at their crenelated walls, watchtowers, secretive passages and wells, all of them testifying to a skilled, but unknown hand. Who chose to build this outpost in a scorched and desolate region — and why they built it — are questions that have never been fully answered. Just as beguiling is why it
‘NATURAL CAUSES’: New evidence indicated Kathleen Folbigg’s two daughters died of myocarditis caused by genetics, while a son died of a neurogenetic disorder An Australian woman who spent 20 years in prison was pardoned and released yesterday based on new scientific evidence that her four children died by natural causes as she had insisted. The pardon was seen as the quickest way of getting Kathleen Folbigg out of prison and a final report from the second inquiry into her guilt could recommend that the state Court of Appeals quash her convictions. Folbigg, now 55, was released from a prison in Grafton, New South Wales, following an unconditional pardon by state Governor Margaret Beazley. Australian state governors are figureheads who act on instructions of governments. New South
RE-ENGAGEMENT: Both sides described the talks as ‘candid’ and ‘productive,’ with the US State Department saying that it wants to restore ‘high-level diplomacy’ Senior US and Chinese officials yesterday held “candid” talks in Beijing, days after the two countries’ defense chiefs squared off at a security forum. US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Kritenbrink met with Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Ma Zhaoxu (馬朝旭), becoming the most senior US official to publicly travel to Beijing since an alleged Chinese spy balloon was downed in the US. Both sides described the talks as “candid” and “productive” in their readouts, with the US Department of State saying that the exchange was part of ongoing efforts to restore “high-level diplomacy.” The Chinese
OPERATION BLACKSTONE: Belgian diplomats implied that it is worth releasing Iranians detained on terrorism charges to allow for innocent people to return home Three Europeans released from detention by Iran arrived in Belgium early yesterday, the latest in a series of prisoner swaps. One Dane and two Austrian-Iranian citizens landed shortly before 2:45am at Melsbroek Air Base just outside Brussels. They had flown from Muscat, the capital of Oman, which helped broker their release. Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Hadja Lahbib welcomed them at the airport, along with Danish and Austrian diplomats. The trio’s release, as well as that of a Belgian aid worker a week earlier, were part of a prisoner swap in which Tehran got back an Iranian diplomat convicted and incarcerated in Belgium