I love how maternal Tulip is to Cassidy, she’s protecting him the whole time, y'know, like mothers him and that dog, that’s a big deal that’s…y'know all Tulip constantly suffers, like we’ve seen her on her own a lot of the time and she just fucking deals with stuff. That particular relationship, I just adore that side of the whole thing.
—  I fucking love this. Joe seriously gets it. 

RUSSIA. Chechnya. Alkhan-Kala. February 2000. An injured Chechen fighter in a hospital. 

Chechen fighters had left Grozny after several month of fighting the Russians. Two groups of about 2000 fighters left Grozny through a mine field and several hundred where killed or lost their feet.

Grozny was once again the epicentre of fighting after the outbreak of the Second Chechen War, which further caused thousands of fatalities. The Second Battle of Grozny lasted from late 1999 to early 2000.

During the early phase of the Russian siege on Grozny on October 25, 1999, Russian forces launched missiles at the crowded central bazaar and a maternity ward, killing more than 140 people and injuring hundreds. A massive shelling of the city followed.

Supported by a powerful air force, the Russian force (around 50,000 soldiers) vastly outnumbered and out-gunned Chechen irregulars, who numbered around 3,000 to 6,000 fighters, and was considerably larger and much better prepared than the force sent to take the Chechen capital in the First Chechen War (1994-1996). In addition, the tactics of both sides in this second campaign were drastically different. 

The Russians met fierce resistance from Chechen rebel fighters intimately familiar with their city. The defenders had chosen to withstand the Russian bombardment for the chance to come to grips with their enemy in an environment of their choosing. In stark contrast to the ad-hoc defence of 1994, the separatists prepared well. Grozny was transformed into a fortress city. The Chechens dug hundreds of trenches and antitank ditches, built bunkers behind apartment buildings, laid land mines throughout the city, placed sniper nests on high-rise buildings and prepared escape routes. In some instances whole buildings were booby-trapped; the ground floor windows and doors were usually boarded-up or mined, making it impossible for the Russians to simply walk into a building. Relying on their high mobility (they usually did not use body armour because of lack of equipment), the Chechens would use the trenches to move between houses and sniper positions, engaging the Russians. Well-organized small groups of no more than 15 fighters moved freely about Grozny using the city’s sewer network, even sneaking behind Russian lines and attacking unsuspecting soldiers from the rear. 

The majority of the city’s civilian population fled following the missile attacks early in the war, leaving the streets mostly deserted. However, as many as 40,000 civilians, often the elderly, poor, and infirm, remained trapped in basements during the siege, suffering from the bombing, cold, and hunger. Some of them were killed while trying to flee. On December 3, about 40 people died when a refugee convoy attempting to leave the besieged areas was fired on. Around 250 to 300 people who were killed while trying to escape in October 1999, between the villages of Goryachevodsk and Petropavlovskaya, were buried in a mass grave. On December 5, Russian planes, which had been dropping bombs on Grozny, switched to leaflets with a warning from the general staff. The Russians set a deadline, urging residents of Grozny to leave by any means possible by December 11, 1999:

“Persons who stay in the city will be considered terrorists and bandits and will be destroyed by artillery and aviation. There will be no further negotiations.”

The Russian commanders prepared a “safe corridor” for those wishing to escape from Grozny, but reports from the war zone suggested few people used it. Desperate refugees who got away were telling stories of bombing, shelling and brutality. Russia put the number of people remaining in Grozny at 15,000, while a group of Chechen exiles in Geneva confirmed other reports estimating the civilian population at 50,000. Russia eventually withdrew the ultimatum in the face of international outrage. But the heavy bombardment of the city continued.

The Russian ground troops advanced slowly. Russian ground forces met stiff resistance from rebel fighters as they moved forward, using a slow, neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood advance. Both sides accused each other of launching chemical attacks. 

The final seizure of the city was set in early February 2000, when the Russian military lured the besieged militants to a promised safe passage. Seeing no build-up of forces outside, the militants agreed. One day prior to the planned evacuation, the Russian Army mined the path between the city and the village of Alkhan-Kala and concentrated most firepower on that point. As a result, both prominent separatist leaders and several hundred rank-and-file militants were killed or wounded. Afterwards, the Russians slowly entered the empty city and on February 6 raised the Russian flag in the centre. Many buildings and even whole areas of the city were systematically dynamited. President Putin announced Grozny was “liberated” and said that military operations had come to an end.

On February 3, the day after the breakout, the Russians began “mopping-up” in the ruined city. Many serious crimes were committed against civilians, most notoriously the Novye Aldi massacre in which at least 50 civilians were killed when the neighbourhood was looted. 

A month later, it was declared safe to allow the residents to return to their homes. The United Nations workers who entered the city with the first convoy of international aid discovered “a devastated and still insecure wasteland littered with bodies”. There were some 21,000 civilians still in Grozny. The city’s losses were never counted.

In 2003 the United Nations called Grozny the most destroyed city on earth

There is a massive element of racism in the way the show portrays the Snow Queen relationship and the fandom should talk about it just like the fandom talks about rape culture and the hypersexuality of female villains.

Regina is played by a woman of color, who says her character is Latina, and she is explicitly placed against her will as a care giver for a selfish and oblivious white child (let’s point out a character from Grimm’s defined by her whiteness). It is a narrative where Regina’s agency was taken from her by many people but in particular by a white man looking for a caregiver for his white child.  This is not just a narrative device but a historical and contemporary reality of many women of color.  The nanny, the help, the house slave.  That Regina was a queen does not change this narrative.  In fact it makes it so much worse and the show has done a terrible job of showing it leaving it to implication and the acting talents of Lana Parrilla, Bailee Madison and Ginnifer Goodwin.

It is made worse by the fact that the show has given us this “idealized” race doesn’t exist environment of the Enchanted Forest and than places it on American television to be aired in a world where there are millions of women of color who have been placed or are currently in that exact position.  Any race blind fantasy society placed on American television is bound to expose the racism of the creators of that fiction because they fail to account for the interaction between the audience and the text.  The text does not stand on it’s own.

Real bonds of affection form between many of these caregivers and the children in their care but they are always distorted by the inherent power imbalances of them.  You can love those relationships and the women in those relationships can love the children they care for even after they are no longer employed but as a societal element the relationship itself is in fact racist and portraying it in fiction without highlighting the racialized element of it is racist.

But none of these things is served by pretending the show is not telling us this story.  We know the show is telling us this story.  When I invoke Lana’s words (or Ginny’s or A&Es) it is not to say “see it is okay for me to enjoy this story” it is to show that this is the story they are explicitly telling.  They are not being vague about it.  The statements are not ambiguous.  They are telling a story between these two women that is about a reconciling adult stepmother and the stepdaughter she had forced upon her.  Lana is not the woman of color telling me it is okay.  She is not my woman of color friend I am using to silence other women of color.  She is the actress playing the part telling us what she is playing.  When Jennifer Morrison tells us that Emma would rather die than be without Hook we talk about that statement as it reflects on the Captain Swan relationship.  We don’t say that it’s okay to love that element of Captain Swan because the actress told it to us in a positive manner.  We also don’t pretend that’s not what she’s playing just because we don’t like the implication.

We talk about plenty of problematic elements on the show.  We talk about the hypersexualization of female villains with Zelena and Regina and how that sends a message that female sexuality is bad while male sexuality is dashing.  We talk about rape culture across the board in the show and the terrible implications of the way the show has handled rape without using the word rape.  And we talk about these things even though they trigger sexual assault victims.

I do not have a problem acknowledging and talking about the racism inherent to the Snow Queen relationship.  But we can’t get to that point without first acknowledging that that is in fact what the show is writing.

Let’s call it out as racist.  Let’s talk about how Regina’s character has been written in an incredibly racist way by casting a woman of color and not acknowledging that in text while still making her a villain.  

But we can’t do that if we don’t acknowledge the elements exist in the text.  That is letting the show off for it’s racism.

That is pretending the show isn’t as racist as it is.

I do not invite debate with me on twitter by random strangers about my view of Snow and Regina’s relationship.  I do not appreciate the lecture on Regina’s agency every time I dare whisper the Snow Queen Maternal Heresy .  I resent the HELL out of the fact that I can’t even breath this opinion before some SQer (and it is always an SQer) shows up to give me the “gentle correction” for my straying from the dogma.  I can practically set a stop watch by it.

I furthermore resent the HELL out of the fact that I share this interpretation of the relationship with the writers, and both actresses, who I can quote from multiple sources.

We rightly condemn people who invalidate other interpretations of the show that are near and dear to you.  I do not understand why mine are fair game.  Especially when mine are the ones the writers are writing and the actresses are playing.

Bats are not uncommon here at Wildlife Aid, but a baby bat is something of a rarity.
This baby pipistrelle was found by a member of the public on the floor in their house. They were understandably confused as to exactly where the bat had come from - they didn’t even own a cat they could blame it on! We think the unlucky youngster may have fallen from a ‘maternity roost’ in their roof, but we’ll never know for sure.
Luckily, it seemed to be uninjured, but was dehydrated and thin. After being given some rehydration solution, it was sent off with a specialist bat carer for dedicated treatment. We wish it well!


Three years from the day we said “I do” and still the greatest day of my life.

I can’t imagine anyone else by my side through the chaos of this last season… I’m trying to soak up our final days of being “just us”, and as overwhelmingly excited as I am to meet our sweet girl, it’s hard to picture it all changing…. Yet, I’m sure I’ll say I can’t imagine life any other way next year too!

I love you, D! Thank you for always supporting my crazy plans and your servant heart for our family!