The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo.

“Ten women are killed everyday in Mexico and 97% of femicides are never solved.”

I was interested in the show because I will give every true crime documentary a go, and also the name sounded intriguing. Las Tres Muertes de Marisela Escobedo or The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo is a Mexican documentary about Marisela Escobedo’s tireless quest for justice after her 16 year old daughter Rubi is murdered by her (Rubi) boyfriend and father of her child.

Rubi is only thirteen when she starts dating 20 year old Sergio Rafael. Right off this is disturbing. The mother tries and fails to get a police report and claims she had to accept the relationship out of fear of losing her daughter. Unsurprisingly, Rubi falls pregnant a couple years into this “relationship” and gives birth to a daughter. Then one day Rubi is gone leaving her baby behind and no one knows where she is. It takes a lot of effort from her family to uncover the truth- she was murdered by Sergio after attempting to leave him. This was the first death.

Sergio confesses to the crime, leads the police to her body, and even apologises in court, which is what makes it all the more surprising when he is unanimously acquitted of the crime by all three judges. This was the second death.

The acquittal made absolutely no sense, and I stared at my telly with my mouth open in stupefaction. I wondered if Sergio had some political connections but no he just had some incompetent judges. The idiot judges claimed that despite his confession, the prosecution did not prove Sergio’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. A distraught Marisela refuses to accept this verdict, and immediately returns to her protests, going all over the country in her unrelenting quest for justice for her daughter. By this time Sergio has joined a cartel and is now under their protection, which makes Marisela’s mission even more treacherous. However this does not deter her and she continues to call out everyone from Sergio to the government.

Unfortunately Marisela’s will and strength is not enough. A few days before Christmas, she is shot dead while camping out in front of the government palace. This is the third death.

At this point I was in tears. It is highly frustrating and disturbing to see the level of injustice and unfairness meted out to Marisela and her family. Is it really too much to ask that a murderer who confesses to a murder be punished for said murder? It was ridiculous enough that Marisela had to go to such lengths for justice but it was depressing that she couldn’t even get that. Seeing Marisela shot in the street was the final straw.

I felt the same anger and helplessness that I felt reading about Trujillo’s reign of terror in the Dominican Republic as written in Juniot Diaz’s book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I can imagine how helpless Marisela must have felt fighting the government and cartel. It is the same helplessness people all over the world have felt for ages, but most particularly in this glorious year twenty twenty. The world is always in a state of unrest but this year has been a rollercoaster of non-stop foolishness and chaos. In particular, the past few weeks have been hectic for Nigerians who are fighting against police brutality, only to have the government order the military to gun down unarmed protesters. For decades Nigerians have endured corruption and nonsense from the government, and every time we rise up we are immediately cut down. It is frustrating to feel so helpless.

Fear and helplessness are two of the worst things to feel. Those in charge thrive on the fear to keep people in check, and when people try to revolt their efforts are thwarted thus fueling the feeling of helplessness.

This is the same helplessness women across the world feel; it does feel that we are prey who always have to be on guard from the predators lest we be attacked in any one of the thousand of ways. It is so sad to see that despite what little progress we seem to have made in some areas, an overwhelming amount of women are still at risk every day, and most will never truly get any justice. The feeling that you can be kidnapped, raped, murdered without any repercussions is wild! The fact that some people have the power to do whatever they want without any fear of consequences is infuriating.

Sergio is eventually killed in a shootout with soldiers, and a man who claimed to have killed Marisela dies in prison, but it does not feel that justice was ever served for Rubi and Marisela. There is no happy ending here, and the documentary reminds us there is still a long way to go for women in all parts of the world. Rubi and Marisela are just two of the many women in Mexico who will never get justice, and let’s not get started on the rest of the world.

Whew. I had managed to hold it together (barely) but this documentary made me come undone. I am exhausted. I do not feel optimistic at all; the fear and helplessness is overwhelming. I am exhausted and I just want to lie still in a dark room while everything sorts itself out.

Netflix and Chill #3: Ratched (2020).

Off the bat I knew I was going to like Ratched. I like American Horror Story, and have liked it since the very first season. I also enjoy Ryan Murphy’s stuff (well AHS and Scream Queens), and seeing familiar faces such as Sarah Paulson and Finn Wittrock, plus the fact that it was set in 1947 made it all the more appealing.

The shows opens up with the murder of four priests by lonely boy Edmund Tolleson, a clearly unstable orphan. He is arrested and shipped off to Lucia State Hospital for the mentally unwell to be evaluated on whether or not he is fit for trial and consequently fit for execution. This is where Mildred Ratched shows up. She is a mysterious character who shows up at Lucia, determined to get employment as a nurse. Even though she is told by the director of Lucia (Dr Richard Hanover) that there is no vacancy, she manages to force herself in. It is soon revealed that Tolleson is Ratched’s brother and she is on a mission to save him from execution

Dr. Richard Hanover is a frazzled doctor who has high dreams of revolutionising mental health treatment, beginning with lobotomies (not for the squeamish-there is a hammer and ice pick involved) to hydrotherapy (boiling the patient at 117 degree celsius for 20 minutes then dunking them in ice). Lucia is in dire need of funding and he is under pressure to declare Tolleson fit for trial so as to please the hard on crime governor who is seeking reelection. But there is also something else he is running away from, and is Richard Hanover even his real name?

Mildred is cool under pressure, her mind quick and devious, and she soon has Hanover under her thumb. She loves her brother, and finds herself caught up in so many schemes in her quest to liberate him. Through flashbacks and a clever puppet show scene, the viewers are let into their tragic childhoods as they are shuttled from one foster home to the other, each more abusive the previous. They are separated after an incident at the last foster home, and Mildred dedicates her life to finding and helping her brother. However, by the end of the final episode, Mildred finds herself the hunted, and by none other than the one she was trying to free.

Ratched is as gruesome as one might expect, but there is so much more. There is fashion dah-ling, there’s love- misguided and otherwise, vengeance, and quite a few interesting characters. Sophie Okonedo gives an outstanding performance as a woman with Multiple Personality Disorder. Jon Jon Briones plays Dr. Hanover, a role he executes well.

I was hoping Ratchet would be a one season show-wham bam thanks for watching, but it ended on a cliffhanger so there is bound to be another season. A quick google search suggests there might be even more. I enjoyed watching season one, but I am not sure if it will sustain my attention beyond this. Only time will tell.

Fun fact: Nurse Ratched is named after a character in Ken Kessey’s famous 1962 book- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I have not read it yet but now I want to.

Netflix and Chill #2: Oloture (2019)

Oloture is the story of a young journalist, who for some reason goes undercover as a prostitute. I say “for some reason” as it is never truly clear what her purpose is and why she put herself through such danger. How does one go undercover as a prostitute anyway?

We see Oloture as she pretends to be a prostitute, befriends some of the girls, and jumps out of windows to escape patrons (like I said, it is difficult to be an undercover prostitute). Her undercover work puts her in contact with a sex trafficking ring that smuggles girls to Italy which is where the film takes a dark turn. The head of the trafficking operation is a chain-smoking madam named Alero, who charges $1,200 from each girl who wishes to go abroad for greener pastures. The first outing with Alero is to a politician’s seedy sex party which Oloture is excited to attend. Again I asked myself, how exactly is this undercover prostitution thing going to work at a sex party? Well her plan was to tell the man that she had a tummy ache and didn’t want to have sex, to which the man replied oh I have just the thing for a tummy ache, and gave her some pills which of course turns out to be sedatives. He proceeds to rape her once she is incapacitated.

This gruesome experience marks a change in Oloture who becomes moody and despondent, even trying at one point to punish the bigwig who raped her. Still she goes along with Alero’s plan to take the girls to Italy. Again I asked myself, what exactly is this girl’s plan and how is she going to get out of this? Finally it is time to depart for the trip, and the women are lined up into buses and taken out of town to some unknown location. They are then taken to a voodoo priest who does voodoo stuff on them, I assume to ensure their loyalty to Alero. Things come to a head when one of the girls is murdered as a warning to everyone. The girls, including the journalist extraordinaire Oloture, are put on another bus and taken across the border.

The story ends, not with a happy ending, but with more questions. Is there going to be a second part? (I hope not). What exactly is going to happen to Oloture? What was the aim of all of this, and was it worth it? We would like for there to be a happy ending and justice to be meted out as deserving, but unfortunately that is not real life.

As a child, Italy to me was synonymous with sex trafficking, and a lot of Nigerians will say the same. I read a lot growing up, and the tabloids and newspapers were awash with stories of Nigerian women lured to Italy with the promise of a better life, only to find themselves forced into prostitution. There are countless stories of these women stuck abroad due to the high debts they owed to their madams and the fear of the voodoo oaths they had taken. These women would finally come back home used up and disease ridden. As I got older, I slowly forgot about this and Italy become more about fashion, food, and fancy lifestyle, of Milan and Versace, of Tuscany and pasta. For a while I even completely forgot about the sex trafficking. Then a few years ago (maybe even a decade ago), I came across one of the old magazines which had a story about the sex trafficking, and I wondered how I could have forgotten such a thing, and was saddened that this was still going on. In real life, these women do not have happy endings.

I quite enjoyed the film and thought it was well done. I viewed it more as a documentary or expose on the reality of sex trafficking in Nigeria than an actual film which is why I am not too critical on its shortcomings or the ending. The acting was great and everyone delivered their roles perfectly. All in all, I found it tragic and aggravating in equal measure that women have to go through such horrors without any action from the government.

Also super interesting is that it is loosely based on the true life experience of Nigerian journalist, Tobore Ovuorie who went undercover in 2014 to expose the human trafficking trade in Nigeria. The story is truly graphic and horrendous, I shudder to think that this is happening. I am amazed that she risked her life for the story, but also disappointed because I know it was all for nought. That’s the thing about Nigeria, the risks and sacrifices are often for nothing. Just like Oloture, there didn’t seem to be much planning and security behind the women undercover. Tobore and Oloture could have been killed and that seems like an unacceptable level of risk for such a mission.

Netflix and chill #1: A Beautiful Mind

I had quite a productive weekend, and by this I mean I managed to watch a few of the things on my Netflix list which always makes me feel as if I have achieved something. It is difficult for me to concentrate on one thing for too long and it often takes me a whole day to finish a film, as I shuttle back and forth from Netflix to Youtube.

A brief summary of some of the things I watched, even though nobody asked for this.

This movie was recommended to me by a former flatmate who so highly extolled the virtues that I was determined to see it. When I saw it was coming to Netflix I quickly added it to my list and waited for it to arrive. Yet when it did arrive it took me over two weeks before I finally sat down to watch it and a further 12 hours to finish it. In short, I found it tedious with bursts of excitement.

A Beautiful Mind is a biographical movie about the life of John Nash-famed American Mathematician and Nobel Laureate. The drama starts in 1947 at Princeton University and follows John Nash through his career, marriage and eventual battle with paranoid Schizophrenia. In the film, John manages to publish his original dissertation and is recruited by The Pentagon to help them crack codes. He is then given a classified assignment by “big brother’ William Parcher of the United States Department of Defence. He does this for a while until one day he and Parcher are involved in a shootout which terrifies him. He tries to quit the assignment but he is blackmailed by Parcher. One day he breaks down during a talk at Harvard and is sedated and put in psychiatric hold which is when it revealed to the viewer that he is schizophrenic and everything is a lie-there is no classified assignment, no Parcher, it was all figments of his schizophrenic mind. This was the most exciting part of the film, and I found it more interesting from here on. The rest of the film dealt with the effects of his diagnosis on his work and marriage.

Before watching the film I had no idea what it was about and what to expect. This is typical of me as I like to be surprised. I was also not familiar with John Nash so I was not expecting the “twist” (although I later remembered I had watched a youtube video on him and his son where the schizophrenia was discussed). The first part of the film was interesting enough, I guess but I must have been too distracted to enjoy it. It was set in 1947 which usually isn’t a problem for me as I love old shit, but I simply was not interested in this so I found it dull. Let me put it this way, if the film had not come so highly recommended I would not have finished it.

Russell Crowe did a fine job as John Nash and I thought the film did a great job of showing his schizophrenic episodes. As I always do after watching a film, I googled him and was shocked to discover that he and his wife Alicia were killed in a car crash in 2015. Also worthy of note is that John Nash has two sons both named John, the second of which is also schizophrenic.

The next film I saw is Oloture which I yap about in my next post. Come with me.

Down the same drain.

“I get out my work and have a show for myself before I have it publicly. I make up my own mind about it – how good or bad or indifferent it is. After that, critics can write what they please. I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.

Georgia O’Keeffe, American Artist.


The first step is admitting you have a problem.
The second step is making no effort to change and continuing in the same problematic routine until you cannot take it anymore.

I recently realised I have an addiction to sugar. I actually realised this months ago but let’s not dwell on that. Long story short, about two years ago I started breaking out on my face. I had always had pimples now and then but this was ridiculous; incessant and never ending. I kept waiting for it to get better but it got worse and worse until my face became a cesspit. In typical fashion I just went about my life without being pro-active until one day I thought to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps it was the makeup I was using, or making I wasn’t cleaning my makeup sponges properly. Maybe it’s my pillow-even though I changed the pillowcases every week that was apparently not enough. My formerly smooth-ish face was ravaged with ugly pimples and the nasty dark spots they leave in their wake.

It wasn’t until I spent Christmas 2019 with my family that it even occurred to me that my diet could be a factor. I was surrounded by my family, ate mostly home cooked food and did not have my typical deluge of junk at my disposal. Surprisingly my skin was largely co-operative leading me to the conclusion that sugar is bad for my skin. What did I do upon realising this? Eat more sugar of course.

As if my skin was not problematic enough, lockdown brought about an entirely new problem. A few weeks in, my face was attacked by angry painful pimples across and under my jaw, the likes of which I had never seen before. I was flabbergasted. Surely some evil forces were against me. I thought back on Christmas 2016 when a friend remarked on how clear my skin was and how my problems started soon-ish after (a year and a half later but who’s counting). Surely by uttering those words, my friend dared the universe into afflicting me with acne?

A quick google search revealed that the cherry on top of the acne sundae was called cystic acne, and a major factor is dairy. I switched to soy and other plant based milk a while back, but I always have yogurt in my fridge, I don’t say no to ice cream and cheese is my true love. The lockdown induced baking craze was another factor; semi skimmed milk costs less than half the price of soy milk so me being a cheapskate I briefly went back to animal milk for all the baking I was doing. This must have jolted my system, resulting in the cystic acne. Again what did I do upon realising this? Go back to plant based milk but continue with cheese, greek yogurt and ice cream, of course. At a point I even started drinking soft drinks (7up, pepsi etc) which I hadn’t drank in years, because I thought what the hell my skin is effed up, might as well gorge on nonsense.

However enough is enough, every idiot has its breaking point. I took inventory of my face and mah God it’s a mess. I was too lazy to go out last week and so did not get to stock up on toffee sweets and gummy bears, the result of this was that I did not get any new breakouts. So I have decided to stick to this and be good. No processed sugars and no dairy. I nearly slipped on this because I was about to order food from Dominos until I reminded myself that cheese is in fact dairy (heartbreaking!). I also just had a diet coke but it says zero sugars so we’ll see.

If I learned one thing from this experience, it is that I am not that different from a crackhead; the addiction to sugar is real and destructive. I have so much sympathy and empathy for everyone dealing with an addiction because it’s really not easy. I knew the adverse effects sugar was having on me yet I could not stop. I would exercise by taking a walk to the shops and leave with a bag of sweets which I would devour within hours; once I popped I could not stop. At a point I was not even enjoying the sweets; they were there so I had to eat them all. It was madness and chaos. Part of this is due to the fact that I live alone, and with no company there is nothing else to do but eat and watch television. I have realised I have zero self control when it comes to sweets so it’s best to stay away and not buy junk at all.

The first step is admitting you have a problem and then taking serious steps to rectify it. (I am a sugarholic and I have a problem).

My goal is to clear my skin and improve my life. So help me God.