Finished on 15/5/20 in Brisbane, Australia.
"Blood and race have such a sensitive history. In the early days of US blood banking, blood bags were labelled as N for Negro or AA for African American, and hospitals as august as Johns Hopkins refused to transfuse Caucasian patients with Negro blood. Lemuel Diggs, who ran the blood bank at Memphis's John Gaston Hospital, had stored different 'coloured' blood on different refrigerator shelves, openly. Southern states routinely segregated 'white' and 'black' blood. Most admitted their policies had no scientific basis. The Red Cross, which refused donations from African Americans for plasma collection, called its reasoning 'a matter tradition and sentiment rather than of science'. The US War Department directed that 'for reasons which are not biologically convincing but which are commonly recognised as psychologically important in America, it is not deemed advisable to collect and mix Caucasian and Negro blood indiscriminately for later administration to members of the military forces'. Nazis did the same, refusing non-Aryan blood and dying of their wounds as a result. In the United States, blood segregation stopped only in 1972, when Louisiana finally repealed its blood label laws (along with the segregation of water fountains, public conveniences, trains, dance halls, and marriage)."
"To counter the helplessness of mass disaster, we donate a pint of usefulness: this instinct persists today. After 9/11, 570,000 additional units of blood were donated, but 208,000 were discarded and only 260 units were needed to treat 9/11 victims."
"In the 1990s, Uganda launched a highly successful behaviour modification programme with the slogan 'Zero Grazing'. Grazing was having more than one partner. Uganda wanted people to stick to main meals. It worked: condom use increased dramatically and Uganda's HIV prevalence dropped. Then conservative Christian ideology arrived from the United States along with PEPFAR (President's Emergency Pan for AIDS Relief) money and found a receptive home in President Museveni and his wife, and condoms were burned, and HIV came back."
On the Nepalese custom of ostracising women during menstruation -
"In this cluster of houses, 90 per cent have a chaupadi shed. In one, there is a cup and bowl belonging to a female guest who had just left. They will stay in the shed until the sixth day, then be cleansed with fire and taken into the house.The guest must have been unmarried: married women only have to observe chaupadi for three days, not the full five or six. The woman of the house tells us, 'I don't believe in this but my mother-in-law does.'
This is not a simple story of patriarchal men imposing evil restrictions on suffering women. Chaupadi is driven by women. It is perpetuated by the grandmothers and the mothers-in-law and the mothers."