eumelia: (jewish revenge)
Trigger Warnings: Genocide, sexualised violence, and rape.


It being International Woman's Day, I figured I'd talk about the Holocaust.

In case you didn't know, it's more shocking that ever thought. You'd think it was impossible for the Holocaust to be an even more terrible moment in history than it already is perceived and conceived to be.

The New York Times story states:
Thirteen years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.
[...]
The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.

Emphasis mine.

I have to say when I read this, I felt sick. I was honestly shocked. The Holocaust is a piece of history I've taken the time to learn about - entire branches of my family tree were eradicated during the second world war - and much of my knowledge came from what I'd been spoon fed by the education system of my country.

You're probably asking yourselves why I'm talking about this on International Woman's Day.

If you continue reading you'll reach this little factoid:
The documented camps include not only “killing centers” but also thousands of forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named “care” centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel.

Emphasis mine.

Why is The New York Times disinclined to call rape, what it is? I think the idea of rape as a war crime is still something that mainstream media is reluctant to talk about, because rape is sadly ubiquitous in "times of peace".

More to the point, the way rape is perpetrated during war and upon an occupied population is very often misrepresented and downplayed, often because rape, during war, is "expected". It is a risk of war, much like bullets and bombs. If you are a woman in a war zone, you should prepare for the enemy to use their weapons upon you.

"This is my weapon, this is my gun."

My point is that that little titbit is all that was said about the "special treatment" of women during the Holocaust. There is a great deal we do not know about the difference women and men experience war and how acts of war are perpetrated on their bodies.

More often than not, women are not counted as people, but as spoils. Hence the creation of special brothel camps.

Women Under Siege's report to the new findings gives a good overview when it comes to how much more needs to be done in order for justice to really be done.

Rape and genocide go hand in hand. Rape and war go hand in hand. But for some reason, they're not always counted as crimes against humanity.

Tumblr crosspost
eumelia: (rest and relaxation)
My afternoon siesta lasted three hours.

I woke up feeling quite terrible. In fact I thought I was going to throw up. However, I wasn't going to let that stop me, though it did delay my reflexes and I felt foggy brained for a long time.

But my sister had booked and paid for an evening hike at the excavation sites of Caesarea, and we would walk among the ruins with swinging lantern lights (something the kids found very enjoyable).

So with the above being part of the plans there was much discussion by members of my family suggesting I stay at the cottage and let someone else take my place on the hike, which annoyed me enough to get moving, take a quick scalding shower (I woke up with a fever and thus was feeling cold) and swallow down some paracetamol.

Oh, and our neighbours decided to blast their music again. Cue my bitch-face + a headache (despite the medicine). I was ready to either murder someone or leave.

After taking the medicine, chugging down a bottle of water and eating an apple I felt better, though nowhere near 100%.

The hike was brilliant though. Our guide was a geek! The moat reminded my nephews of Helm's Deep and one of them said it looked like where Aragorn and Legolas fought the Orcs and the guide asked them if they knew who Aragorn's father is and then started reciting The Song of Aragorn!

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


My sister and brother-in-law looked very pleased and I clapped like a moron and bounced like a ball, something I regretted, because, well, fever.

But all our kids, three nephews and a niece, now felt they had the guide all to themselves and latched onto him like limpets.

My sister, who is a Mediaevalist of the Middle East was very impressed with the guide's correct knowledge of the era and the Mamluks who fought the Crusaders. I gotta say, if I had to chose a side, I'd go with the Mamluks, as my sister said, because they won.

They won hard.

In any event, we walked along the shore line and the guide talked about the Romans and their bloody "reality shows" in the Hippodrome and Arena, the Byzantines and their syncretism of Jesus and Sol Invictus, the other multiple temples to the Sun that scattered the shore line, and he recreated, using shadow puppets the Egyptian god Ra's descent into the underworld and ascent into the sky, which was rather entertaining.

By the end of the hike most of the lanterns had gone out, which made the atmosphere even eerier, but I suppose that is the point.

As I said the kids loved it.

The drive back to the resort was a bit of a nightmare, because the paracetamol wore off and the fever attacked me again.

By the time we arrived back I was very wobbly and the short walk had me collapsing on my bed. I was given water and ibuprofen. I changed into pyjamas and was moaning and groaning the whole night, I was told.

I woke up on day 4 (and check out morning) was given more medicine, tea and I nibbled on dry cornflakes.

Thankfully my brother and his family wanted to go home as soon as possible, so I hitched a ride with them and got home long before everyone else.

I continued to be floppy throughout the day, but as of this writing I'm back to normal. I suspect sunstroke to be honest.
eumelia: (cahoots)
As [livejournal.com profile] etrangere said in someone else's post about this subject: "ironic icon is ironic" with regards to the icon adorning this post.

Making the rounds in the X-Men:First Class fandom is a fanart with the captions:
Charles as a British Airborne Medic
Erik as a German SS Officer [...]


Uh, yeah.

You can view the fanart and the artist's explanation as to their motivation in drawing it here.
ETA: Unsurprisingly, the artist has locked their post. Screenshot, because this shit should not be covered up.

ETA: Reading this person's replies to some of the critical comments on their work makes it clear that they have no idea that what they did was problematic. So, if you're going to read the comments, be prepared for more fail.

In the post the artist goes on to say that when they posted the fanart on tumblr they were butchered in the comments, and that if anyone hates the idea of Erik in an SS Officer uniform we should assume that he's undercover.
(Emphasis mine)

Well, thanks for clearing that up! That makes the entire thing absolutely okay and not questionable at all!

Ahem.

Look, the whole thing is in bad taste, for a variety of reasons. For me, the idea of putting a Jewish man in a Nazi uniform and telling anyone who may be offended by it to pretend he's a not actually a Nazi, is grossly insensitive.

There is a history, it's dark and fucked up, it has an aftermath that is hardly spoken outside of Europe and outside of specific communities that may or may not have remained in Europe after the second world war.

What the artist does in their post is an attempt to cover their own ass. They knew, very well, that they were posting a contentious piece of work, which, once posted is open to criticism and the aforementioned contention.

I don't want to pretend that Erik is in an SS Officer's uniform for "good reason". There is, in fact, no "good" reason. No matter how you construe the scenario, Erik in a Nazi uniform is a fucked up notion. No matter what "AU" you imagine that creates a sequence of events which leads to the logical conclusion of Erik wearing a Nazi uniform, it is still a reflection of a history and a reality that happened.

The fetishising of Nazism is a kink which can (ETA: with a great many disclaims and qualifications, if you ask me) be filed under "your kink is not my kink and that's okay". There is still a social and historical context which is open for discussion when fanworks start dabbling in this history which still affects me as a gay Jewish person to a degree that is at times hard to describe.

Not to mention that this dabbling shows how much disregard they have for the subject, the history and the people who are still affected by the fact that the second world war's ramifications are still felt throughout the world.
eumelia: (Default)
That's what I see when I encounter a 100x100 icon of Erik's tattoo.

What tattoo?

The tattoo on his forearm, that was stamped (with needles and ink) on him when he and his family were sent to a concentration camp from a ghetto.

I know screen caps create the illusion of having no context. But the movie uses its first twenty minutes to ensure that we know that Erik has not forgiven the Nazis (human and not) for what they did to him and his family.

I mention this, because I feel it needs to be said that the Nazis marked people entering the camp (Jewish and not) as a way to keep them demoralised, without control and, I'll say it again, dehumanised.

An icon of that number, is a fetish of the aforementioned dehumanisation. What we are seeing on screen happened, in history, in real life, to millions of people.

Erik is fictional, what happened to him is not.

The number tattoo, being reduced to a number, actually happened.

People who went through and survived are still alive.

It is inappropriate to use that number on an icon as a way to present the character is an objectified manner and yes, that is what icons do and that is what they are for.

When we see Erik's tattoo, which is exactly twice, it is in the context of bringing down Nazis, because it is evidence to what was done to him, to Jews, to Gypsies, to homosexual men and women, to anyone the Nazis deemed subhuman and sent to die in a camp designed to kill.

That is what that number means.
eumelia: (media lies)
In case you didn't know.

Israel showed great restraint against the Syrian-Palestinian demonstrators who tried to go though the Northern border in a commemoration march of the Occupation of the West Bank since 1967. They showed this restrain by shooting live ammunition at them.
Lucky me, I got to see it on the News and begged the people in control of the remote to change the channel, they declined saying this was the first they'd heard about it. I'd read about it previously during the day and really didn't need to see live gunfire murdering people.

But I'm funny like that, I guess.

My association mechanism went to May 35th. But that's just me.

It doesn't help that various News channels claimed Israel was at war with Syria, which really was News to me, seeing as not having signed a peace treat doesn't mean we're attacking each other and playing the War games.

The IDF simply shot at people that neither Syria, nor Israel, consider to be worthwhile human beings. Palestinians on any side of any border really can't catch a break.

Also, Egtpy has not opened Rafah crossing.

It really must be June, if this shit is going on. Or, you know, any other day of the week. News thrives of conflict and disaster and this is probably not the worst thing to happen today.
eumelia: (tardis)
Warning: This post will contain mass amounts of spoilers for the first two episodes of the 6th series of Doctor who "The Impossible Astronaut" and "The Day of the Moon". It will also contain mass amounts of squeeage, incoherence and ambivalence.

...When I left my home and my family I was no more than a boy*... )

Next time, Mermaids!

*Lyrics from Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer"
eumelia: (science will be okay)
Friends, I was awake for more than thirty hours.

I got up yesterday at 8-ish in the morning and did not sleep until I passed out for a three and a half hour nap on the least comfortable couch for napping.

I don't know why I do this to myself, deciding that foregoing sleep is a good idea.

In the meantime, rather than write what I had planned on writing the other day and really not feeling up to writing about the current attacks on Gaza, let me mention that over the past two days, both my brother and [Southern!Girl] have sent me the same story!
I was both charmed and kinda creeped out by how similarly they thought about what would interest me!
I'm hoping they're not sharing a trans-Atlantic psychic bond I don't know about...

Regardless, the story they sent me was about the archaeologists who found a "gay caveman" near Prague. I've only managed to find the sensationalist reports, so if any one has an article from an Archaeology blog and/or journal about this issue I'd be very much obliged.
I think it's important that evidence regarding gender variant people in pre and ancient history is important, the fact that a male skeleton was buried in a traditionally feminine pose is significant.
I'm not keen on the anachronism of "gay" and "transsexual" as descriptors for this findings.

Homosexuality as a human category is extremely new, it's hard for us (queer or not) to conceptualise in which sexual behaviour didn't necessarily connote sexual identity - even today, when we try to assert this, it is met with much resistance.

And yet, the category of sexual identity, rather than behaviour is something new, not even 200 years old since the word was first put down in paper back in the 1870's.

So, why this anachronism? Why must we place our own identity markers onto historical moments who most likely did not even consider sexuality in the way we do in our Euro-Centric ideas of universality.

We need to find a way to talk about gender variant people and same-sex relationships that happened before the notion of homosexuality and heterosexuality as identities came to be. That's a lot of history to think about.

Food for thought.

The same way some interpret Jesus as an openly gay man, which to me is simply a queer interpretation of a canonical text, but Jesus as a religious figure can't simply be queered in the way other characters are interpreted in queer and social literary theory.
This, again, is an anachronism, especially if you're going to use Freud, because once to go Freudian you can't really say much any more - if everything is Freudian (especially in the stereotypical, Oedipal triangle one tries to talk about considering Jesus, Mary and Joseph as people, it gets boring, really fast and just adds to the whole sensationalism bit.

Much like the News about Gandhi being bisexual, which was reported quite extensively in Israel due to the fact that his alleged male lover (I say alleged, because I really don't know and I really want to find out!) was a German-Jew muscle-man.

However, Gandhi was a man who lived and died and had an actual impact on people's lives as a non-fictional person, unlike Jesus, who lives in texts and in the hearts of those the idea of him touched and certainly unlike this anonymous cave person who can be a great piece of evidence regarding the fact that gender variance isn't anomalous.

The sexual identity is historical figures and characters is important, because the invisibility and exclusion of queers from history is a thing we feel on our bodies and on our minds. So, yes, it matters if this cave person who is physically male was treated differently in life as he or she were treated in death. And yes, it matters, that interpretations that allow erotic love between Jesus and his followers (who were male and female) not be dismissed as perversions or reduced to Freudian pathology. And yes, it matters if Gandhi was bisexual, because his life influenced a nation and a philosophy people outside of India continue to follow and his sexuality was a part of his life.

Let's not erase lives, histories and ideas - but they should be in perspective as well.
eumelia: (omg lesbians!)
Wow, the US Military Machine is a Paranoid entity.

Seriously? This?!?!

Large Image Under The Cut )

Generally speaking, I don't have a lot of good to say about the military, the IDF being a prome target of my criticism regarding militarism, fascist mentality and conservative notions of gender and sexuality.

And of course, general critique of war and the social order.

But one thing I have to hand to the IDF, they are good when it comes to formal rights of LGB people in the service (Trans people, as far as I am aware, should they be out and in transition are not drafted under a medical clause). There's the general misogyny and homophobia which can a bit over board in such a machismo centric system, but formally, your rights as an LGB individual are protected in the service to my country.

Or something.

It's been so since 1993 (yeah, the same year the US Army's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was instated) - in which sexual orientation was removed as a risk factor regarding posts of a sensitive nature, same sex partners are awarded the same benefits as opposite sex partners and soldiers are even allowed to participate in Pride (privately, of course... not so much in uniform).

Back to that comic after than long and convoluted aside.

What the fuck?! Really?

What is this fear? I really don't, don't understand it. I mean, I do, obviously, being a functioning member of society that imbibes homophobia, sexism and other forms of bigotry on a daily basis, what I don't understand it the reason for it to be so terrifying.

I've read the theory. I can explain how this terror works. Power, pleasure, privilege and Othering.

Intellectually, I know. I do not understand, how, rather than attempt to treat people as though they were created equal by virtue of being born - someone would rather write a policy entrenching inequality and disfranchisement into a system in which hierarchy in already compounded by power, pleasure, privilege and dehumanisation.

Who had that bright idea?
eumelia: (bollocks)
Via a comment on a different journal, I read that the mod of the My Chemical Romance Bandom com on LJ wrote a response to what has been going down with the aforementioned AU H/C Bingo fic, in which a depiction of the Holocaust, the camps and the treatment of gays during that time was used as a backdrop for angst of two US soldiers.

Yeah, I read the story.

It makes me fingers itch. I want to grab a red pen and mark and correct and fucking rip that story inside out until something resembling "adequate" comes out of it.

The mod, has this to say:
The story was properly disclaimed, and with plenty of warnings with regards to the themes it dealt with, therefore any comment that is not related to any possible literary criticism, should have been left alone.
I chose not to read it at first, because I am uncomfortable with the themes dealt with, and that could have been the choice of all of those people who thought, at first glance, that they were going to find it offensive.
I am not going to ban this type of stories, because I still believe in freedom of speech and because I believe that if we ban stories that refer to that particular chapter in history, we need to ban stories about incest, about BDSM, torture, rape, and in one case necrophilia.

We write FICTION.

WE WRITE FICTIONAL STORIES.


These stories are not historically accurate, these stories ARE NOT just written for sexual gratification.

These stories express part of who we are, what we feel, what lives inside our heads and our hearts.

I hope you will agree that RESPECT for your feelings as readers, should find a corresponding level of RESPECT for the writers.
Emphasis mine
In the words of George Carlin: Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits.
You know what I did there?
I executed my right to "free speech", are you offended?
Maybe.
You know what you have a right to do now?
TELL ME ABOUT IT! AT LENGTH! HOW I OFFENDED YOU WITH MY WORDS!
Yeah, really.

I find it utterly, utterly despicable that criticism of offensive material is considered more offensive than the actual subject discussed.

I hate getting personal about it, but it has to be done, because honestly, it's the only way to get it through people's heads.

I am a Queer Jewish Person.

Depictions of gays and Jewish people during the Holocaust matter to me, on a personal level. You know why? Because whole branches of my family tree were eradicated! An entire Queer European Culture was erased!
After the camps were liberated, gay men were sent to other prisons because homosexuality was still illegal regardless of Nazi legislation!
Yes.
Seriously.

Just to put that into perspective for you.

The story in question depicted horrors which happened. That is not the problem, the fact that it was used in a cavalier manner, disregarded the actual lives that lived through it, didn't bother to check the facts of what went on in concentration camps, the fact that American soldiers were sent to POW camps and of course putting the picture of the Gates to Auschwitz in order to illustrate the story.

Yes, these stories are fictional, that doesn't make them "untrue", that doesn't mean that the you can use the material available to you without considering who it affects and what it might mean if you use it. If you wanted to explore the themes and torture committed by the Nazi regime onto gays, you might want to find out what actually happened to these men, who they were, why they were persecuted and where they were sent to.
Let me give you a hint, none of them were captured POW experimented upon, mainly because non-Soviet Ally POW's were treated with the Geneva convention in mind.
Just, FYI.

Fiction does not mean "free for all". You do not write in a vacuum. You cannot say "Don't like, don't read", that's like saying "Shut up, your problems are meaningless".
Fiction, all art, is a dialogue.
You want to dialogue with history via fanfiction, by all means. That doesn't mean you, dear author, are immune from criticism when you are writing a story that depicts a period of time with gross inaccuracy and decides that any and all critical reaction to said story is illegitimate because it was "just a story".

Nothing, is "just a story".

We do not live in a vacuum, what you write will be reacted to, fiction is not a vehicle of self-expression, being accused of bad writing and bad taste is not a personal attack, it is a challenge to one's preconceived notions of what good story telling can and should be.
Good story telling does not continue the dehumanisation of people that happened during that period of time, it does not use Arbeit Macht Frei as a code for free speech (it doesn't mean what you think it means!) and saying that people should "be nice to each other" is silencing and derailing and basically tells those of us who are affected by the depictions of our history to suck it up!

When I see a story that treats a subject matter that is close to my heart for historical, personal and identity related reasons treated with utter DISRESPECT I will call on it. I will say that this author does not care, does not think about and is not informed about the subject zie is writing for "just a story", for "self-expression", for the sake of "fiction".

To conclude, if you're going to use free speech as a silencing mechanism for critical reaction of a piece of fiction that depicts controversial material... you're using it wrong.
eumelia: (exterminate!)
Things always hit you harder when they are closer to home.
Always.

I had a race fail a few days ago, in which I basically preached to a woman of Japanese descent why the casting of Avatar: The Last Air Bender was racist.
I was called on it.
And I apologised and I was told it wasn't a problem.

Still, the shame continues to linger, because my privilege fogged the way I viewed this person and the way I discussed the issue with this person.

However, you live and learn right.

Well, no.

If history teaches us anything is that we would rather forget, or even not know and you basically need a very strong lobbying group in order for things to be remembered.

The past month or so has seen so much fail in fandom, the Race!Fail, the Trans!Fail, The Abelism, I'm quite sure there were more fail I'd forgotten and seriously, even though I commented only briefly I was outraged and saddened by all of these incidences. People can (and have) asked me why do I put so much energy into issues that don't have much to do with me (yeah, I know), I mean... why get so worked up on something that doesn't directly affect me.

Well, for one, despite the fact that I'm not in the disenfranchised group of non-white people, trans people and disabled people, these issues affect me mainly because the fact that those groups are disenfranchised I can safely go about my day not thinking about it.

But you know why I really take the time to give a damn and cracks my heart wide open? Beyond it being the right thing to do and being in an ethically sound position.

I want to be safe.

I want my body and mind to flourish, and the body I currently inhabit may have a lot of privileges associated with it, but its history is also bloody, by virtue of it being cis female, queer and Jewish.

My Jewish body is very weird thing. On the one hand it is Israeli Jewish, meaning it is the default body of superiority where I live, on the other, it comes from generations of bloodshed, exile, pogroms and genocide.

The history of this genocide, like most genocides oddly enough, is well documented. The violence was recorded, photographed, duplicated and triplicates by well meaning bureaucrats who kept the train tracks clear.

The genocide of my people even has a special name, The Holocaust1, and like all historical events which linger in the collective memory of a people, a nation, a community, we tend to treat it with a deference of some kind. Even as I make Holocaust jokes, and sing "Springtime For Hitler" and make cracks about Germany blitzing its way though the Mundial and yeah, I'm waiting for Germany to serve up Spain's ass in the upcoming Semi-Final...

Still.

The Holocaust is an event that continues to shape my life and inform me of who I am, as a Jewish person in Israel and Palestine, as a queer person and as a feminist woman.

It does not, however, as a historical event, exist to be a backdrop to an AU Fanfic about American Soldiers and their love affair. What? The Battle of the Bulge was too tame?!

Yes, someone wrote a story, which has since been locked, but luckly there exists a Screencap (H/T to [personal profile] allchildren). I have not read it. I do not intend to.
I did read the Author's notes though; the warnings read thus:
Beating, abuse, non main character death, scientific experimentation, starvation, physical and emotional damage
Oh and the added disclaimer (after "nasty comments" began to appear) the gist of which is that this piece of work is NOT meant to be historically accurate. Accompanied to this Author's Note is a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, you all know the one, the one that was stolen and returned and reads Arbeit Macht Frei - "Work Makes One Free".
The... writer... of this AU fic stated that they added the picture, not for itself, but for the slogan, the meaning of the words upon the gate.

I've said it before. I'll say it again. I will probably say it for the rest of my life.

Context matters. Context, much like money, makes the world go around. That slogan cannot be removed from the gates it is attached to. Those words do not mean what you think they mean. The work they are talking about is not craft and the liberation they symbolise is not freedom.

A story, does not need to prettify history in order to make palatable for the readers. On the contrary, history should be shown in its grittiest form, it should be shown to be true and it should be portrayed with verisimilitude.

So, when you use a historical backdrop, in which you, dear author, feel the need to excuse yourself that by writing this you are no different from anyone who writes about rape, incest and domestic abuse, then you do not understand what fetishisation means.
You do not understand what treating subjects (people and events) with respect means.
You do not understand what this writing about history means.

You do not understand what context means and beyond that making you a disrespectful, blinkered and privileged fool, it also makes you, no matter your style, no matter how well written the characters are, a really really bad writer.

Personally. I blame Hollywood. And you know, bad education, entitlement and plain good ole' dehumnasation and antisemitism.

Also. No. Just. No.

This Nice Jewish Grrl needs to lie down now as she can't believe fandom sucks so hard right now.

ETA - 09/07/10: The story that is screen capped above is "1945" by [livejournal.com profile] slashxyouxup and is now unlocked. I'm not holding my breath though.

Footnotes
1) Even though we were not the only targeted people. The Roma people and other Gypsy groups were targeted and experimented in the same manner, homosexual men were castrated and murdered and many others. Still though, when you've got an entire country (Poland) set up to be an extermination station, while special Commando forces, Einsatzgruppen, are sweeping though Europe targeting Jewish Communities, you're going to feel that this is the Pogrom to end all Pogroms... in a way... it did...
Back.
eumelia: (Default)
I come from a family of history nuts.

We all adore history, we have different ideas of what history means, but we all love it, learn it and think memory is one of the more important things in life.

I recall the one time I looked my history in the face, when I was 17 and went on the class trip to Poland. I don't think I would have gone without my mother, who insisted, because I seriously hated my peers.
It was an odd time, of false camaraderie and a whole lot of national zeal. I still feel weird thinking about those ten days in Poland, in which the only time we saw something "fun" was in Krakow - where we went shopping in the square and travelled down the salt mines (which is used as a wedding hall, these days... or at least back in 2002).

In Majdanek, which is the concentration-death camp next to Lublin and has a fucking huge ash mound - yeah, seriously, there are reconstructions of the housing blocks, which have been converted into museums. There is a block that has nothing but shoes in it, there's a red high heeled shoe there that I'll never forget.

One of the blocks is an information archive, it has documents, SS uniforms, prisoner uniforms (those stripy "pyjama" things), ID cards for the well known Nazi commanders who did their duty there and a wall with badges.

Badges explaining what each one meant and who wore them.

I had only ever heard of the yellow star of David. When I saw the pink triangle I was shocked. What was a symbol I associated with Gay Pride doing here!?
I read the info and discovered what it meant and why it was reclaimed by gay people.
(I was 17, in a relationship with a boy and was only beginning to understand my own queerness).
I saw the black triangle and saw that it was given to Anti-Socials - which included gypsies, anarchists, the mentally ill and Lesbians.

This confused me.

Surely the Lesbians should be with the pink triangle.

Lesbian women were "Anti-Social", not because they had sex with women, but because they refused to marry and "breed" for the Reich. This I discovered not long afterwards when I realised that my country only counts the 6 million as victims and the rest as incidental - never mind that there are, you know, Jewish queers. So I read up on the other victims of the Holocaust.

Why am I writing this?

Because history continued to rely on the fact that men are more important than women.

As many of you know, Berlin has Holocaust Memorial instillations. A huge Jewish one and across the road from it, a Gay one. It was installed in 2008 to commemorate the gay victims of the Nazi regime. It includes a continued video of two men embracing and kissing. Very sweet.
I remember back when it was installed how happy I was that this piece of history, general and gay, was being recognised and promised myself that when I was in Berlin I'd go (as though I wouldn't any way). It was also stated that every two years the image would be replaced and this year it would be two women embracing and kissing.

Woe.

This, some say, is not historically accurate:
[..]Alexander Zinn, a board member of the foundation that maintains the former Nazi concentration camps near Berlin, said such a move would distort history as there were no known Holocaust victims targeted for being lesbian.

"Historical truth must remain the focus," Zinn told AFP.

He has banded together with other Holocaust experts and fired off a letter of protest to Culture Minister Michael Neumann and Berlin's openly gay mayor, Klaus Wowereit.

Neumann defended the plans as true to the original concept of the memorial in addressing present-day discrimination against lesbians and gays as well as the plight of homosexuals at the hands of the Nazis.

"The option of using a lesbian film motif in the memorial is in no way meant to put on the same level the persecution of homosexual men and women under the Nazi regime," he said in a statement.

Yeah, gay women didn't suffer enough under the Reich.
That's basically what's being said.

I'm not saying that Lesbian women were persecuted in the same way. Obviously, they were not. Mainly because, women's sexuality doesn't exist without the presence of a penis. That's the crux, these "anti-social" women refused to marry, continued to wreak havoc on the ultra-masculine, misogynistic and fetishistic society that had managed to infect Germany during Weimar.

Regardless, Lesbian women were persecuted for being gay, just, as mentioned, not in the same way. To deny this, is to erase an important part of War World 2 history, the history of the Holocaust and the history of queer women, who are erased from history with fervour any way!

Lesbians Locking Lips on the memorial for the persecution of gay people during the Nazi Regime is just as important as gay men doing so. It is different. The outcome may have also been different, but the motivation was not.
How could it be historically inaccurate?

This is what happens when I read the news on Peach eve.
eumelia: (Default)
I understand hate.

That feeling of disgust that sits at the pit of your stomach when you think of something or someone you wish simply didn't exist.

I understand wanting to eliminate that source of that seemingly wants to take over your life, that by simply existing, changes you or casts a shadow upon who you are.

There's a reason love and hate are so closely tied together - both emotions bring about physical changes and you can't help but want to expel and express those emotions.

What I don't understand and with great hope never will, is prejudice. Prejudice has many symptomes, hate is only one of them and it is such an impersonal hate that I can't understand it. Hate (like love) are so personal and energy consuming, I'm always baffled as to why you'd bother to hate a group of people.

Of course, I understand how it works, how it expressed, how it is reproduced... all that. I've made it my business to counter all of that.

But for the life of me I do not get it.

I do not get how people (like retired US General John Sheehan) can say things like the fact that the Dutch army has openly gay soldiers caused the massacre and genocide in Srebrenica.
Why?
Because "homosexuality" is bad for morale.

For Fuck Fucking Fuckity Sake!!!!!!!!!!!

My rage issues resurfaced, before I did my breathing exercises. Beyond him being totally and utterly wrong, saying things like that are is simple incitement and I doubt anyone will do anything about it.

Queers are always fair game for slander.

And way to completely reduce that kind of tragedy to absurdity. This beyond a simple case of arrogant ignorance.

Fucking hell.
eumelia: (Default)
First week of the Semester is over.
Wow.

I have some pretty interesting courses. A lot of queer content.
And a course about de Sad and Masoch... how awesome is that?!

There were a bunch of News stories I wanted to link, but damn, I'm tired.

I think, beyond taking boring ass courses in my previous semester, I was - per usual - very badly organised and pretty much unmotivated. I can blame a lot of things, my own lazy ass mainly, other things as well.

Yes, I know, vagueness.

Once again I feel far older than some of my classmates and this time I'm not in any intro classes in which I'm more theoretically advanced. One of my classes is called "Stars in the Closet", which is about Sexual Minority representation in visual media - fun! - and the first class was on Monday - so I heard the same historical introduction to queer theory for the millionth time and the Prof mentioned the sodomy law that was repealed in Israel back in 1988.

Someone asked: "There was a law like that?"

Dear god people. I mean, perhaps I'm biased that I expect straight people to know about laws that are oppressive towards minorities - like we know about the Law of Return (possibly the worst non-policy regarding immigration ever!) regardless, on the one hand, yay, people are surprised we had a law like this and found it ridiculous. On the other hand, there was an act of murder and terror back in August that made me feel a whole lot less safe as a queer person in Israel - supposedly we're stronger... I bet the march in Jerusalem is going to be just as fucked up this year.

I'm digressing.

Also, Purim. I have bad associations with Purim - it either rains or explodes. I've eaten endless Hamentashen, got wet today because it decided to pour, pour, pour buckets on me, on the day I decide not to take an umbrella and wear my new non-water tight shoes.

Not a fan of Purim.

But tomorrow I'm going to a Purim party! Not sure about a costume, but I have a Guy Fawkes mask, so I can do something with that.

So, friends, how was your week?
eumelia: (Default)
Dear, dear me.

Gone a second time and back with more insight and a bunch of icons.

Where to begin? And can I ever end.

Let me first say, the clothes. My god, the clothes.

Friends, I want to be a dandy.
I want to wear Tweed and braces and waistcoats and a bowler and a cravat! The clothes seemed to be hyped up versions of themselves. Feh, the whole movie was a hyped up version of Sherlock Holmes and was faithful to the books in many ways - though departed in many many others.

This is a bit long. Just a bit )
eumelia: (Default)
One of the most lauded attributes the IDF uses to promote itself as an enlightened and ultimately is the egalitarian treatment between female and male soldiers.

This is bullshit, but it is an image that it quite convincingly manages to throw around - persuading us that through service social equality is gained - yeah.

Combat units in which female integration have supposedly worked the best are the border patrol units. Many women serve at the check points and in the units that patrol the West Bank.

I've blogged about Breaking The Silence (BTS) before, which is an NGO that collects testimonials from soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories and publish it for public knowledge and consumption.
Obviously, they and other organisations critical of the IDF are quietly persecuted and spoken about in the most Antisemitic and anti-Humane terms I've ever heard - "Self-hating", "deluded", "bleeding hearts", "self-destructive".
As though loyalty to the IDF is the litmus of being loyal to the notion that our lives are worth something.

Any way.

BTS published on Friday the 29th of January (yesterday) a new testimony booklet. This one is testimonials of female soldiers.
"A female combat soldier needs to prove more…a female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter…when I arrived there was another female there with me, she was there before me…everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy."

This is a quote from the article (which is problematic and essentialist. Then again, it's YNET) and a woman in this "feminist" army needs to prove she's as good as any man.
She must be violent towards the population the army is policing.

I always find it hair raising when I hear women who serve in the IDF call themselves feminists. It is a kind of feminism. A feminism that only focuses on her own career trying to gain the privilege allotted only to men in that position.

Not too long ago, I had a class in which the discussion of whether the use of the word "feminist" wasn't shooting ourselves in the foot because of the negative connotation.
It's an old and tried debate in my opinion, so I won't regale you on what was said - but one classmate said that as a reserve pilot she refused to consider her gender when she put on her uniform and flew - then, she was just a pilot.

Related though tangential, I have a friend who participates in sexist jokes in her workplace in order to have an environment that she isn't considered a stick in the mud and "one of those" women. Yeah.

Back to the IDF.
Female soldiers in order to show and prove that they are as good as any man, have to be "worse" than their male fellow soldiers.
Prove she's got the "balls", so to speak.

All the people who give testimony to BTS bear witness to the Occupation from the vantage point of those who actively perpetrate it. These soldiers are the nuts and bolts of the Occupation and they come back into "civilian society" with this baggage.
People wonder why Israel can't let go of trauma.
We're all infected with PTSD.

The testimonies are hard to read. They were harder for me to read than previous ones by men, because alas, I am socialised to view men as violent. And women who are violent are aberrant.
Not the case.
So very much not the fucking case.

If this is the meaning of an egalitarian army and this is the means through which Israeli Jewish women gain more power later in life, then the very basic notion of a human being is, is utterly, completely and foundationally twisted in the hegemonic Israeli mind.

Here are the links to the PDF file of the testimonials: In Hebrew and in English.
eumelia: (Default)
You discover that Howard Zinn passed away.

Well.

I suppose it's time to read his book, right?

Edited to add 29.01.09: Dude, J.D. Salinger died as well.

Is this supposed to be the year of Authors Dying? I'll keep my eyes open.
eumelia: (Default)
I don't suppose I need to tell you about the inhumane law regarding executing people convicted for the "crime of homosexuality" in Uganda.

I'm not going to write about that right now. I'm going to write about the fact that in Malawi a gay couple will have to face justice after getting engaged.

The fact that they are being charged with indecency is a problem.
The fact that homosexuality is illegal anywhere is a problem.

I have a different issue.

This may seem tangential, but did you know that the indecency and sodomy ("bugger") laws in Palestine were imported by the British mandate after the Ottoman Empire lost the region after WWI.

Did you know that Malawi was also colonised by the British.

In Israel, the sodomy law was repealed in 1988! Israel considered itself a Western nation, with Western values and ideals and ideas, so it repealed them along with the majority of the Western world.

So when I read quotes like:
The BBC's southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen says Malawi is a deeply conservative society.

It feels as though they're saying: "Those stupid, backward, inhumane and atrocious savages don't know anything about being civilised people", when the bloody law was imported by "the civilised" ones in the first place!

But some voices in government have started to call for more openness about homosexuality as the authorities try to tackle high rates of HIV/Aids

HIV/AIDS is viewed as a disease passed by heterosexual intercourse, In South Africa at least (I just know more about it there and can't comment on Malawi). It doesn't bear the stigma of a "gay disease" within black communities, it is more so in white communities.
But because of the lack of acknowledgment of queer people, lack of access to information regarding safe sex and the transmittance of the disease, creates it's own unique problem.

In any event, the couple in the article - Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza - are incredibly brave and I salute them both. I hope they don't end up being punished for their love.
eumelia: (Default)
I've just come home from viewing the most recent Doctor Who special The Waters of Mars.

In a word: Damn! (or *squee*!!!)

In many more words: Here be spoilers, enter at your own risk )

I hope that wasn't too incoherent!
I will try gather more and better thoughts on this over the next few days.

In the meantime *fangrrl SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*
eumelia: (Default)
Happy November 9th to all of you!

I was four when the Berlin Wall came down and I did not know until much-much later in life what that meant. What the "Iron Curtain" was, what the Eastern Bloc was, or any of that.
I do know that about two years later, when I was in 2nd grade, there were a tonne of new kids in my school with "weird" names and "weird" accents and I was so happy!
'Cause of my own weird name (though I don't speak Hebrew in a non-Israeli accent).

Sonya, Yuri, Misha, Sasha, Anna, Oleg, Kiril... so many pretty names. Yes, I like Russian names, it's what made "Crime and Punishment" bearable for a large portion of the book.

I am digressing.
Back on topic.

The Berlin Wall both when it stood and after it fall was a symbol of arbitrary divisions and unfair conquest; of geopolitics run amok!; of lives broken and torn apart; of a world made up of checkpoints, collaborators and coercion.

Sounds familiar.

No doubt the Separation Wall that has been partially built along the borders between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (it's not, in fact built along the recognised 1967 borders, which is one of the major problems) has been compared to the Berlin Wall - as oppressive acts committed by oppressors.
Though with 20 years hindsight, it's clear that the Fall of the Wall was a precursor to a time of a great ambiguity - Divided We Fall. What exactly does being United mean?
The Legacy of 1989 Is Still Up for Debate (NYTimes Article).

Last Friday, I mentioned that a section of the Separation wall was broken down by demonstrators. Indeed they did it in honour of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

WATCH: Protesters breach West Bank separation barrier.

(Once the demonstrators were dispersed, it was re-built. But you can't take away from the euphoria that moment brought)

The Fall of the Wall was the end of an era, it was the beginning of a new World order. We are still shaping it, our times are in flux and, just for the melodrama, we have the power.
eumelia: (Default)
I was going to write about the Goldstone Report and how Israel, once again, managed to avoid any kind of accountability for their actions in Gaza.
This UN fact finding mission had strong words about Hamas' conduct as well, calling the firing of Qassam rockets war-crimes.
This is something that is often omitted, mainly because Goldstone puts the onus onto Israel, seeing as Israel did kill 1,500 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians.

The main conclusion I've come to in this whole affair is that the UN, once again, proved itself to be the most redundant and irrelevant organisation in the world.

So much potential UN, your execution of anything leaves much to be desired. You're good at reporting things and writing them down, but acting upon it.
Not so much.

Can't help that the US pretty much bullies you into submission time and time again when it comes to Israel.
Israel, of course, also bullied Mahmoud Abbas into deferring talks about the report, thus turning the President of the PA and head of Fatah into a collaborator.

Strong words, but that's the way he is viewed at the moment, at least, that's the only way I can think the Palestinians would view him at the moment.
There are demands that he quit. There is of course backtracking, much backtracking.
The people are feeling the leadership.
Not really, no.
I have to say, even at my most cynical, because I think the PA is as corrupt as any other government only doesn't have the power or money to cover it up, I didn't expect this.
Goldstone was the PA's golden ticket at getting something, world recognition.
Israel blew it too, by not co-operating and using the power of the all-mighty Hasbarah to discredit Justice Goldstone; our own reactionary and paranoiac response to to the fact finding mission, headed by a self-identified Zionist, a man who has headed numerous Israeli academic boards and has Israeli family, has driven the report out of Israel's (or Palestine's) control.
Because now Lybia is taking the task of holding talks about the report.

Who said Israel and Palestine deserved each other?

It is worth mentioning that this month is the anniversary of the October 2000 Events. There are currently riots in Jerusalem (I'm happy the J-Lem contingent of my family is not there at the 'mo) hence keeping out Sheikh Ra'ad Salah for the month.
September-October are always tense due to the High Holidays and the intensifying security forces around the Western Wall and the Al-Aqsa mosque.
It doesn't help that said security forces are racist and not shy about it.
That U.S Jews feel they have the right to Jerusalem more than any other religion that holds it holy, because yeah, that's what's happening at the moment too.
"It's mine!", "No, It's mine!!"
If there was going to be a massive earthquake, let it be there.

Regardless of who is to blame, this is just a taste of things to come.
The Palestinians will have Intifada vs 0.3, the IDF will once again head into the depth of the West Bank, probably "re-conquer" the Gaza Strip, while feeding us (Israelis) the tripe of "they brought on themselves", "we have no choice", etc. etc.

Same ole tune, shiny new instruments.

More on this and digression thereof in a little while. This should give you all something to chew on for a bit.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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