Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I know it's been long I don't drop any line here but I'm kinda glad I haven't been exactly idle. As I am happy that everything went fine with the vigil we at Galway Pro-Choice have put together to commemorate Savita's death, I decided to post here today. In case you don't know who Savita is, here is a little summary of her story: she was a migrant woman from India who was denied an abortion here in Galway (Ireland) on the grounds of religion. Yep, you read it right. Savita was told she couldn't get an abortion because Ireland "is a Catholic country".

So we organized a vigil to observe the date and it was beautiful. It started and ended peacefully, we had people write messages for Savita and her family and also candles were lit and I had a chance to speak up at the event. I'm very grateful I got the opportunity to talk, so I wrote the poem I'm posting below, read it out and had a very positive feedback on it. Also, I was so moved by Dette's speech that I have no words to express how much I've been personally growing in this activism. I hope I will be able to write a bit more about Savita soon (and keep updating this blog more often). For now, here is the poem I wrote:

This is not a speech.
I don't know how to do speeches.
I would define it as
A woman from the Global South
Attempting to figuratively denude herself
Hoping somebody will listen

Before I came to this island
I'd heard about Savita
But somehow failed to
Connect all the dots.
So as her globally known tragedy
Unveils to me, I immediately remember
Her story - Was that in Galway?
I'm beyond terrified now

The news - it was given to me
By another migrant woman
Just like myself
We look at each other and there's horror
In our eyes

What binds us together - beyond the fact
That we are women from the Global South
Is that what happened to Savita
Could very well happen to us
I look everywhere around me
And I see breathtaking places
Beautiful colors
Friendly people

Judging by its cover
It's very, very easy to forget
That living here
As migrant people
Is a constant struggle
In order to prove that we are ready

We have to prove we are good enough
To live in Ireland
That's the Western way of telling others
How they should behave
And setting standards even the West itself
Fails to meet

That's the scenario
We have today
But make no mistake
Nobody says goodbye to
Their roots
The food, the smells
For any reason other than striving
For a better life

Savita's husband
And then Savita herself
Had to go through a Via Crucis
In order to be deemed 'ready'
To try to make a living in Ireland

Ask any migrant person
Ask any asylum seeker
Anyone who's just managed to get through
How arduous the whole process is
It literally tests a person's limits
And the limit in Savita's case
Was her own life

I am here telling you this
Because one of the first things
I hear whenever I meet a fellow migrant
Is the very puzzled question
Is Ireland ready for us?

I've been living here for a year and guess what?
Ireland is not ready for me
And each and every migrant woman
I come across here
Confirms to me that Ireland is also
Not ready for them

But as we move on with our lives
And try our best to adjust
As we clean your homes
And serve your tables
Or provide any high qualified service
Like doctors, engineers, dentists
Like Savita did
As we dwell into Irish culture
We realize there is actually a whole spectrum
Where racism and xenophobia
Are on display
It's a whole range of misogyny
Where the veil of religion still
Prevents issues from being directly addressed

It's a shame things are the way they are now
It's a shame to come here and realize you will
Always, no matter what
Be the other
Perceived as somewhat inferior
Or exotic

But what hurts me more, somehow
Is the very realization
That besides not being ready for us migrants
Ireland is also not ready
For its own women.