eumelia: (coffee)
There are crossposting issues between Dreamwidth and Livejournal at the moment.

Hopefully it will be resolved soon, but on a totally selfish level, let me just say I'm really glad the issues started after I became rather post heavy this month and not before.

When I do write, I'll still be crossposting, it will just be manual. Because I'm pedantic like that.

ETA: It would appear the crosspost is working again?
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
Currently, circulating the Israeli (and Hebrew speaking, obviously) Left leaning blogosphere a story of rape is being told.

The woman in question, who bravely wrote her story, in her full name, regarding the crime against her body.
The author, Eshkar Eldan Cohen, published her story on the social commentary website and magazine "Ha'Oketz" (העוקץ - The Sting) that focuses on the intersection of non-Ashkenazi Jewish ethnicities (Mizrahi, Sephardi, Ethiopian), the occupation and class disparity.

The perpetrator is a known personality in the Left milieu.
He committed this rape twenty years ago.
He is a known harasser. From the descriptions, I feel that I know of him, but that's not what I want to talk about.

The article by Cohen has over thirty comments (not a lot, but quite a few for a site of that nature and an article of this kind) and one of the recurring themes in many of the comments were:
"Why didn't you go to the police" and "Why don't you tell us his name"

Those two things are what I want to talk about.

The very question (and it's variations) "Why didn't you go to the police/press charges/tell someone/etc." is victim blaming.
Yeah really, it is.
By saying that she should have said something places all the responsibility on her, especially when the incident, as most of them are, are without violence that leaves bruises. Force doesn't have to entail physical restraint and doesn't have to leave marks upon the body.

This guy was a personality back then, as such, he was probably held in high regard, spoken about as a "good guy", creative, "nice", wouldn't hurt anyone.

The social imperative that we're taught about remaining silent when it comes to rape and sexual assault is far more powerful than the abstract notion of justice.
The shame of losing bodily integrity, of knowing that the history of who came before the rapist is somehow relevant (it isn't) and the knowledge that because rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment are a spectrum of what is considered a woman's worth in society.

Which is not much.

When you request the identity of the perpetrator, when the person who was victimised refrained from giving it in the first place you're being obtuse at best and completely disrespectful of someone's right to privacy at worst.
She didn't give the name for a reason.
The main reason is that it would be libel.
Because other than her story (and a few other people, maybe), there is no proof that he actually did it.

There are far more rape victims than there are rapists, because rapists are repeat offenders and they rely on the silence and social shame that comes with the crime.
Usually, they're quite convinced they didn't rape anyone. They were doing what comes naturally.
Taking what is their due.

This is what a rape culture looks like.

This story is circulating in Hebrew, as mentioned, but as an Israeli blogger who writes primarily in English I decided I had to write about it. This is happening now and should be known, all the time.

Because silence is violence. Speak up. Shame is one of the most destructive emotions in existence and it should be eradicated where we are able to do so.

Hear Me Gag

Feb. 5th, 2010 06:16 pm
eumelia: (Default)
Directly continuing from my previous post, the persecution of those pesky Human Rights orgs and those who speak in criticism of Israel continues.

My initial comparison to The Crucible was not unwarranted and I wonder how long before a(n) unofficial committee to investigate un-Patriotic acts against the Jewish State is put together and made public.

Naomi Hazan (alternate spelling "Chazan") has been fired from The Jerusalem Post the daily Israeli English language News paper where she wrote a column. According to the Ha'aretz article regarding this turn of events, that Doron Horovitz, The JP's editor in cheif, declined from commenting about this very "sudden" decision.
The same article, titled "Amid row over contentious ad, Jerusalem Post fires Naomi Chazan of New Israel Fund", goes on to talk about the "Im Tirzu":
Im Tirtzu is trying to cast itself as a centrist movement, refusing to explicitly state an alliance to any party, Left or Right. However, a Haaretz probe found that the influential forces behind the movement make no secret of their rightist political loyalties. Financially, Im Tirtzu is supported by a foundation that has contributed to radical right-wing organizations such as the Women in Green; Pastor John Hagee, the head of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which contributed to Im Tirtzu, has been implicated in the past by a number of anti-Semitic statements.

[...]

The main channel for donations to Im Tirtzu is the Central Fund of Israel. In addition to Women in Green and Im Tirtzu, it supports Honenu, an organization sponsoring legal defence to radical right-wing activists in trouble with the law. Honenu boasts of financially supporting the families of the Bat Ayin underground, convicted for trying to bomb a girls' school in East Jerusalem in 2002; of Ami Popper, who shot four Palestinian labourers during the first intifada; Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox man who stabbed participants in a Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem in 2005; and Haggai Amir, brother of Yitzhak Rabin's assassin Yigal Amir. Im Tirtzu's Web site asks donations to be sent through the American foundation.

[...]

Meanwhile, the Hebrew news Web site Walla! revealed this week that one of the donors to Im Tirtzu is CUFI, Christians United for Israel, led by evangelist preacher John Hagee. CUFI's Web site stated it had given Im Tirtzu $100,000.

Hagee achieved notoriety in 2008, when saying that Hitler carried out the will of God, to return the Jews to Israel in accordance with the biblical promise.
Emphasis by me.

I find the fact that Israel gets funds and support from Christian groups that want to exist for the sole purpose of believing that through it we'll be annihilated... a tad disturbing, to say the very least.

The Knesset (our Parliament) has caught wind of this very ugly media shit storm and are going to be setting up an investigation committee that will check the "New Israel Fund"'s donors... not, you'll note, "Im Tirtzu"'s or "The Central Fund of Israel".
Those pesky human rights activists and organisations, questioning policies and disseminating information that pertains to Israel's character.
"Im Tirzu" are basically calling into question the right to free speech and whether it's legitimate to question anything the IDF and Israel does - all this in relation to the Goldstone Report, but it's so much deeper than that.

It's wrong to call for a proper investigation regarding excessive force, but inciting a media storm and publishing an ad in which Antisemitic iconography is employed is fine and dandy.

In other ways this country is going down the toilet - as though the Occupation and the violence that floods our society due to it wasn't enough, of which the above are direct examples - The minister of transportation said he was in favour gender segregated buses ("Kosher Buses" as they're called) is the segregation was, I'm not kidding, voluntary.
If you are a woman and you happen to get onto a gender segregated bus (which aren't marked to make them distinguishable from "regular" buses) then you will be either shamed into getting to the back, forcibly removed from the bus or simply, you know, told to wait.
Yes, well, of course it affects the women, who according to Jewish orthodoxy are filthy, impure and human enough to be mothers and workers in order to support the men who study Torah, Mishna and what-ever-the-fuck day in and day out in Yeshivas.

The phenomenon of gender segregated buses has spread beyond Jerusalem and to other cities which have large populations of Ultra-Orthodox, like Bnei Brak and Petach Tikva (both of which are 5-10 minutes away from liberal Tel-Aviv) issue as the Ultra-Orthodox who demand that buses be kosher for "modesty" because men and women are not supposed to be in contact with each other.

Yeah.

Of course, Israel's main problem is its image.
Who knew.
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'm hoping this doesn't get me flamed or that I lose friends from my f-list. *sigh*.

A little anecdote if you please.

My BFF and I are very intimate with each other. We hug, we snuggle with each other. Our body differences make it easy for me to lie on top of hir without me being too heavy and hir softness make it extremely comfy for me to cuddle.

We are completely platonic. Zie's married and monogamous, we've known each other since we were in Elementary school (we're both in our twenties now) and a few years ago we sported a shaved head together.

Yes people thought we were a couple and we both acknowledge the fact that if we were on teevee we'd probably be Slashed (we'd make awesome characters, btw). Well, it helps that we're "canonically" queer I suppose.

Slash, as I've often said, is an interpretation of the text.

The whole debate regarding slash and m/m is coming off as a huge turf war. It really isn't who has the right to write what because honestly, people will and should write what they want.
The policing of identities (straight women writing gay men), while erasing identities (queer women, straight men) is irritating.

I haven't read every single post on [livejournal.com profile] metafandom and [community profile] linkspam because, dude, there are many.
Quite likely mine will get lost in the shuffle; after all I'm just another reader with an opinion.

A few issues rise from this debate;
#1 That these women misrepresent men, because they're in fact writing women (albeit with the men's bodies).
#2 That these women are appropriating an identity that isn't theirs by writing slash and pro m/m and don't take into account the history of that identity.
#3 That these gay men are policing women's expression of sexuality by demanding that they stop fetishising them.

I'd like to tackle these points one by one, I hope I manage: Click to expand )

There is no clear answer. Ignoring that there is hurt doesn't do any good. Ignoring the fact that this hurt is going in all directions is not good either.
The notion that m/m stories (gay or not, slash or not) are being marketed as a "women's genre" is what's problematic and identity erasing – so let's stop jumping on the fact that "straight" "women" are writing "gay" "men".

People and our quaint little categories.
eumelia: (Default)
When I read this headline, I felt the top of my head blow off:

Chief rabbis: Abortions are delaying redemption

Article under the cut )

This may come off as simple Crazy Talk by religious leaders. But these religious leaders as states, are government workers. They get paid by our taxes and they make numrous decisions regarding the validity of Jewish identity (and invalidating non-Jewish or "not Jewish enough" identities).

I'd also like to state, in case this isn't common knowledge, that abortions are not, in fact, easily accessible in Israel.
It is a medical procedure which, when obtained under "government regulations" forces women who do not want to be pregnant to go through a committee made up of a gynecologist, a social worker and another doctor in a different capacity (GP, Psychiatry, etc) so that they can decide whether the woman in question can have an abortion.
Permission is granted automatically when the woman in under 17 or over 45 and cases of rape and/or incest.
If you are over 17, under 45, married or single, if you do not have a pre-existing condition which puts you at risk you have to lie - about your mental health usually, that being pregnant is causing you to have suicidal thoughts and feelings.

This is what government "approved" medical abortions look like. There is a huge black market in Israel for women who can pay privately for abortions. Any doctor found giving this service is prosecuted and sentenced to five years imprisonment for operating outside the approval of what I like to call "The Shaming Committee".

Never before have I seen the religious establishment put their foot in and I blame Efrat (which I shan't be linking to) - the so-called non-profit organisation which is basically a pro-life organisation that claims to aid women financially in order to help them have the baby because abortion causes misery. They claim they give a woman options.
Yes, clearly, when they're trying to outlaw the measly access women have already to safe, medical abortions!

In Israel, unlike in the US and Ireland, the abortion debate is very covert, we're a very pro-natalist nation. So, while sex-ed 'round here is good because there is talk of prophylactics and hormonal birth control, termination of pregnancy is viewed as something of a taboo.

That these religious leaders are piping up on an issue does not bode well.

It fucking pisses me off!
eumelia: (Default)
But in very small amounts.

I was watching the first part of Stephen Fry's documentary HIV and Me (2007).

During this episode he goes to South Africa (which still has the most appalling policy when it comes to HIV/AIDS even though over 25% of the population is infected - the majority of infections pass through unprotected heterosexual sexual encounters. In South Africa this it's not a "Gay Disease" and never was - but the stigma remains.

While there, Stephen Fry meets journalist and AIDS activist Lucky Mazibuko who takes him on an excursion to a school in which he gives an informative lecture to little kids.

On the wall of their class there were two slogans:
Being HIV positive is not a curse.

Being HIV positive is normal


As I watched I felt very moved by the sight of these kids speaking so candidly about safe sex and how you can't HIV/AIDS from touching someone, kissing someone, sharing food with someone, etc.

And then Mr. Mazimbuko brings out a t-shirt that says: I am leading the way to an AIDS free world, referring of course, to these well-informed kids who live the reality of the disease along with Mr. Mazimbuko.

I promptly burst into tears.

How pathetic am I?

You can find the documentary in very good quality on YouTube, link to the first part of the first episode (out of two) here.

Yesterday, I had an on-line discussion about my paranoia about getting pregnant due to the truly woman un-friendly procedures pregnant women have to go through in order to obtain a legal abortion.
STD's were never something I was concerned about because every sexual encounter I ever had been with a condom (if it were with a man) and knowing my partner's history (if I were with a woman - yeah, those were not always as safe as they should be).
Lesbian sex has the lowest risk factor when it comes to contracting HIV/AIDS - that doesn't mean you are safe - especially if you have sores on your genitalia, mouth or a cut on your hands or some such.

Dental dams are not as available as they should be (which is bloody irritating) - and they're not just for Dykes y'all!

Any way. AIDS is a year round issue, not just Documentaries, Movies and Stories. It's an epidemic that is constantly on the rise.

The Israel AIDS Task Force says the number of infected in 2009 is expected to rise - currently there are an estimated 6,275 infected people some of whom are unaware of their status.
Number of people with HIV reaches all-time high in 2009.

On a less preachy note; I remember hearing about AIDS for the first time when I heard that Tom Hanks won the Oscar for his performance in Philadelphia.
That was 1993, I was 8.
I did not understand what AIDS was until I was in the 10th grade (I was 15 and the year was 2000) in which we had a sex-ed class and were were given little notes that has + and - written on them.
We were told to walk around the class in a random way, to keep one note and give out a note to other kids that we randomly encountered.
After that we sat down and the sex-ed educator asked everyone who had a + note to stand up. I and a great many other kids stood up and were told that we were now infected with HIV.

The sex-ed classes were pretty good in explaining how to have safe-sex, that a condom fits everyone and a boy who says the rubber "doesn't fit" is lying - which was hilarious to see all those cocky boys squirm in their seats.
That little experiment left a sour taste in my mouth as it could have been any STD, which is was the educator said, but the example used was AIDS.

In this same class (we had about three, if I recall correctly) there was talk about homosexuality which made me so freakin' uncomfortable. Homophobia was rampant and I was 15 and just realising I was "not like everybody else".
The fact that everyone was saying that AIDS could only occur between two men and all that, which the educator contradicted expertly I must add, but that didn't stop the crass homophobia after class.
It was depressing.

I wish I knew what the state of sex-education in high schools are today - ten years down the line - I can't think it's much changed.
eumelia: (Default)
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Quoi?
What kind of internet user thinks up these questions?

In short, I wouldn't ban any book. Really. No, not even The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, not Mein Kampf, not Huckleberry Finn.
Not any hate-mongering, free-love-ing, right wing, left wing... what have you.

That doesn't mean I'm not going to tell the kid who may or may not be interested in a book to be aware that every book presents and represents a certain stand-point and that it's usually better to be not take every piece of writing at face value.

Literary merit is for book critics, not for critical analysis.

I'd prefer to steer teens towards work that doesn't implicitly (or explicitly) state that some people are more human than others - because that would just make me a hypocrite. But I think that disallowing those subjects simply make it harder to fight and oppose the ideas and ideals which exist - having them where you can see them, makes it easier to argue and fight against.

That's what I think.
eumelia: (Default)
My last word on Roman Polanski, because honestly, what more can be said that hasn't.

I'll just repeat; the fact that he himself was a victim of violence, had a traumatic life and is a brilliant artist (yes, I love Rosemary's BabY and Chinatown) doesn't excuse the fact that he raped a child.

Drugged and raped a child.

Plead guilty in a plea bargain and then ran away because the deal looked as though it was about to fall through.

Art, power and money doesn't excuse the fact that he committed a crime against the body of a girl-child (btw, if it had been a 13 year old boy, I think we would be hearing a very different tune) and against the basic ideas that the law applies to every single one of us, no matter how clever, powerful and the fact that people really, really like the stuff we make.

For some reason, this is a hard concept to grasp for some people.

Art Does Not Excuse Rape.

These people make me happy for the amount of time I take to think about this issue.

This is not just about Roman Polanski. This is about the character of our society. The justice system is not perfect anywhere, but accountability and responsibility should not be taken for granted and the default of the oppressive patriarchy that has allowed Polanski to evade justice for so long should not be upheld.

It wounds and hurts too many of us to count.

N.B.
The Pianist was probably the worst movie he ever made.

Edited to Add:
In the comments [livejournal.com profile] avgboojie says, quite rightly, that 13 years of age, isn't really a child:
I want to stress one important point: a 13 year old girl is not "a child".
Sorry. I don't know of any definition by which a 13 year old girl is a child. 13 year old girls are almost always post-puberty, sometimes (perhaps often) have active sex lives of their own, and while they are considered minors by law, they are not children (for instance, a person having sex with a 13 year old is not a pedophile, since these focus on pre-puberty children).
I think referring to a 13 year old as "a child" (something which is most probably done because "raped a child" sounds far more shocking than "raped an adolescent" or "raped a young woman") is disrespectful towards the 13-year-old person, disowning them of any right to be considered a semi-grown person with free will and any capability for adult reasoning.

The legal status of minors renders them as powerful as children in the eyes of the law, but not in their own eyed.
Her age and own perception doesn't make the rape and assault any less criminal or heinous.
The acknowledgement of this, is also of importance.
eumelia: (Default)
Don't let Roman Polanski evade justice and sign Art Does Not Excuse Rape.

Pass this along, re-tweet, make a post.

This whole story is beyond ridiculous and as I said before, this is not just about Polanski any more.
What this is tells young girls, young boys, everyone in fact, is that if you are rich enough, powerful enough and/or have enough friends in positions of power, your life and pain is basically worthless.

This is currently the kind of world we live in, in which rapists get to have apologists because they make beautiful and powerful things and tell us a compelling story... we have the responsibility make sure these story tellers do not get off scott free for committing crimes in which someone else's body, humanity and rights are trampled upon.

That's all.
eumelia: (Default)
The Lambda Literary Foundation, for those of you who do not know, is an American LGBT Literary that works to raise the status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender authors, who are marginalised, in the literary world.

Awesome says I.

An organisation that works to elevate the visibility and merit of LGBT(Q!) authors is good.

The Lambda Awards (hereby known as the Lammy's) though, are about the stories. Or at least, that's what I (and probably many others) thought.

However, the new guidlines contain within them a new rule, which is a source of contention:
The Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) seeks to elevate the status of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people throughout society by rewarding and promoting excellence among LGBT writers who use their work to explore LGBT lives.

As such, it should be noted that the Lambda Literary Awards are based principally on the LGBT content, the gender orientation/identity of the author, and the literary merit of the work.

Let's get one thing straight (laugh it up); queers having our own space, our own awards and our own rules as to who applies, is not a bad thing.
Really, it's not.
The problem is, who decides.

The Lammy's guideline specifically states:
As to what defines LGBT? That is not up to anyone at Lambda Literary Foundation to decide. The writers and publishers are the ones who will be doing the self-identifying. Sexuality today is fluid and we welcome and cherish this freedom. We take the nomination of any book at face value: if the book is nominated as LGBT, then the author is self-identifying as part of our LGBT family of writers, and that is all that is required. There are many permutations of LGBT and they're all welcome as that LGBT term we've all adopted makes clear.

Okay, so they accept anyone who ID's as part of the LGBT(Q damnit!) family. And if that bisexual cis woman who is married to her straight cis male husband of such-and-such years submits an award. Sure, of course she's eligible.
But wait, no she doesn't, she doesn't live the "lifestyle".
An exaggeration?
Not so much, when that kind of thing happens all the time, you're not queer enough if you have het privilege.
Is it stupid? Of course it is, but whoever said marginalised groups were good with the whole acceptance thing.

Honestly, I don't think it would go that way, I'm also obviously being satirical here. I mean, it could, but I'm trying for optimism here. LGBT(Q) authors having their place and awarding those of us who wrote a story in which our portrayal brings us and the characters in the story alive is a very good thing.
Telling people that who they are may not be enough in order to be eligible for the award is not the way to go.

The main problem that came out of this whole thing is that the change in the guidelines came with such short notice.
The notice of the change came out September 25th, submission begins October 1st and ends December 1st.
Yeah, no matter how you look, that is short notice, especially when it's effective immediately.

I say my opinion is fuzzy, the "litmus" should be for people to be able to say:"I'm queer", accept that statement at face value and move on in order to read a good book or story about people who are like me (potentially). But queer isn't a visible thing, our statements of who we are, are under constant attack because we are marginalised, because we are not "normal", because if we really wanted to and tried hard enough, we wouldn't have to be marginalised, now would we.

I'm getting frustrated from all this thinking about which box we're supposed to fit into. Sexuality is fluid (not for everyone!), but it better remain in that little bowl.

Regardless of how us queers feel about the change in the guidelines, which is not clear cut at all, here is one thing I have to say about those straight authors, who are yelling at the Interwebs, about being marginalised because the Lammy's changed the rules on their gay romance.

Shut up.

No, really. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

I've had it up to fucking here with stupid straight people appropriating my space, in order to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with actually being queer, and has everything to do with "but I want to play in this sandbox too".
Yes, well, at the moment you are peeing in it, because the attitude of entitlement is not the one members of the LGBTQ family who happen to be cis and straight should be throwing around.
You feel strongly about your portrayal of gay characters, that's good, I feel strongly about it to.
Saying that because you feel excluded from a prize, you are oppressed is irksome, irritating and shows that you are so privilege blind that you really have no fucking clue what homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, etc actually causes the psyche of a person who does deal with these prejudices and hates on a bloody daily basis.

God, am I the only one who had a flashback to the trek stupidity a couple months back.
Seriously, peeps, what the fuck?!

On that, I'm not so fuzzy headed.

A thanks to [livejournal.com profile] rm, [livejournal.com profile] kynn and [livejournal.com profile] vashtan; their posts really enabled me write this post in a (hopefully) semi-coherent way.
Their own opinions and fact finding skills were extremely helpful.
eumelia: (Default)
Caster Semenya on suicide watch.

Colour me unsurprised and royally pissed off.

I've been keeping up to date on the story ever since Germaine Greer's transphobic comments regarding the affair.

I have about ten tabs open with articles and blog posts all talking about Semenya.
Many people are talking about the issue, as well they should.

To me, it reads as a cautionary tale to those women who dare to be exceptional, who dare to toe the line of the gender assigned to them at birth, of women who cannot (visibly) be intimidated by a man.

We will crush you, if you dare. The same goes to any gender non-conformist. Caster Semenya had the misfortune to be a good runner, she beat the European competition (in Berlin no less) and was then (almost literally) dissected in public to make sure that she didn't have an "unfair advantage".

The intersection of sexism, racism, colonialism, gender essentialism and the problematic state of women athletes in track and field sports all seemed to coalesce in the most destructive way possible on this woman, whose life (not to mention career) has gone down the drain.

The public eye, the policing of what is considered appropriate identity will kill you dead if you dare step out of line and show that you are good at what you do.
Your identity, that thing you spent so much time moulding and attuning and making your own is shattered by the fact that the medical institute insists that we are as our bodies say we are.

Biology is destiny.

Various hair products, plastic surgery, body-modification parlours and trans people who go through hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery (top and/or bottom) tell a different story.

A woman's body is up for public consumption. Add racism into the mix and you have the masses demanding she be made "presentable".

It was the beginning of the end when I saw that Semenya had been made over. Her androgyny (pic before makeover) became a source of contention in the aftermath of her win. Moreover, the history of black women's bodies being forced to conform to Euro-centric beauty standards and the issue of how black femininity is culturally lesser than white femininity also raised the level of what Semenya needed to do in order to compensate, nay, publicly apologize for the fact that she's a masculine woman (pic after makeover).

In the article The Unforgivable Transgression of Being Caster Semenya, the author expands on the fact that black women (people of African descent in general) have historically been targeted as gender non-conformists, or even failures:
South Africans aren’t the only ones angrily comparing Semenya’s treatment to that of Saartjie Baartman, the nineteenth-century Khoisan woman who was exhibited throughout Europe as a sexualized monstrosity. White audiences guffawed, prodded and poked at her exposed body, which they laughingly demeaned as that of a “Hottentot Venus”: the inverse of European standards of beauty. Challenging Semenya’s femaleness, people now assert, is imperialism all over again.

I'm loath to call gender essentialism imperialism, but different kinds of oppression do often come from the same place.
The policing of identities and bodies into the dominant world order and subjugating those identities and bodies in order to maintain that world order.
The gender binary is the world order.
And it kills.

What I really enjoyed in the article linked above was this paragraph:
[I]nstead of insisting upon the naturalness of her gender, how about turning the question around and denaturalizing the world of gender segregated, performance-obsessed, commercially-driven sports, a world that can neither seem to do with or without excessive bodies like Semenya’s and their virtuosic performances?

The rush to compare Semenya to Saartjie Baartman, while obvious for nationalistic reasons, misses something crucial. Baartman was exhibited and castigated for what the imperialist eye took to be her abberant femininity. A better comparison here would be to the many trans bodies (like famed jazz pianist Billy Tipton[link added by [livejournal.com profile] eumelia) who have been disciplined and punished for their female masculinity.

One of the first things I learned when I became immersed in feminism was that society isn't the way it is, it's how we think it is.
Or rather, it's how we see ourselves as part of it.
That's why racism is systemic and there is a difference between a white person calling a black person a "nigger" and a black person calling a white person a "cracker".
The personal wound to either goes without saying, the history of the words are different and the affect that history has over our minds, bodies and social groups is severe.
Apartheid may be "over" in South Africa.
The disparity between those who Have and those who Have Not remains largely unchanged.

Caster Semenya is paying the price of being too good. Of being a woman whose biological body is now considered medically inapplicable to her gender. She may be Intersex (ETA: a fact that was leaked to the press before the results actually reached her. Classy), but she's a woman and she's being punished for not being female enough.

The article The Sad Saga of Caster Semenya writes:
[I]t is important to note here, critically, that Caster Semenya has always been a woman, has always defined herself as a woman, has lived her life as a woman, has to this date considered herself to be a woman, not transgendered, not a transman. It is critical to note this here as to understand both the statement to come as well as what a public scrutiny of gender is like.

It is a horde of people thinking they have a right to decide where you belong with only an ignorant impression of your gender proclivities and expression with zero understanding of your internal sex. And their opinion is to be given credence over your own. Transpeople undergoing Harry-Benjamin style therapy for “permission” to transition know this feeling very well. It is humbling, infuriating, and leaves you feeling powerless and adrift.

And for her there’s no point at the end of it, just the threat of the removal of everything that has brought you joy, the threat that all of this can be taken away because you were suspicious. Now the public and an arbitrary standard noone fully understands can remove the one passion that has defined your life and remove from you the dream of a little girl (to compete, perchance to medal in the Olympic games, to bring honor to your country and family, and most importantly to yourself).

Gone in an instant.
Emphasis mine

Anyone's perception of self would be undone by the unbearable melancholy of one's identity being forcibly yoinked from pillar to post because of public demands, because gender is a prison even when you supposedly overcome it. Which is what woman athletes do of course, over come the infirmity of their weaker bodies - and they're still not considered to be worthy of same attention as men athletes, because the best woman will always be lesser than the medioce man. Suck on that Billie Jean King.

In conclusion:
Well, it doesn't end here. I hope I don't wake up tomorrow morning and discover that Caster Semenya ended her life because society deemed her unacceptable. The trauma is undeniable, the humiliation is beyond comprehension.
Gender essentialism continues to be the building block of oppression as we live it and no one is safe from the assault on the self if you dare to toe the line.
Failing in your gender, it's a killer, literally.
eumelia: (Default)
eumelia: (Default)
'Twould appear that there is some contention on the interwebs (and IRL of course) whether sci-fi/fantasy fans and authors of colour exist.

Obviously, you do.

You can prove your existence by a shout out here at [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking.

Me?
Have I mentioned my peachy ass?
eumelia: (Default)
I've been a bit down the past few days.
Saturday I was busy and didn't really notice anything.
Yesterday I was a bit out of it, though I enjoyed meeting friends I hadn't seen in a while at Uni and in my own Town.
Today I woke up feeling a bit phlegmatic and worn.
I'm pretty sure it has to with the good ole' biological... stuff... the female body tends to go through on a monthly basis, but... still, it's affecting.

It's probably also to do with the weekend's News stories.

I wrote about the teaser to the soldiers' testimonies being published - We're all right, we're okay / you only think we act this way! - and having read the articles... to say that it made me feel bad is probably an understatement.
The whole Week End Ha'aretz edition was chock full of everything that is and went wrong with the IDF during Operation Cast Lead and beyond.
The main articles to read, if you want to are under the cut )
More articles can be found at the on-line Week End Edition of Ha'aretz from the weekend of 20th of March here - Week's End 20/03/2009.

All the above was written this afternoon, but I didn't a get a chance to post to LJ.

More and more information and articles concerning IDF violence has been coming in and I'm having trouble keeping up.
I'm putting here a few more articles, sans quotes, because in a way it's just more of the same, but it must be noted and must written down somewhere that can be accessed by as many people as possible.
IDF troops used 11-year-old boy as human shield in Gaza.
Rights group: IDF killed 16 medical workers during Gaza op.
IDF soldiers ordered to shoot at Gaza rescuers, note says, with a picture of the note, for those who can read Hebrew.
A bit off tangent, but still connected with the issue - Israel using excessive force against protesters.

In an interesting coincidence, I had to read an article about National shame for a seminar I'm taking at Uni.
I think the only thing I can say is Q.E.D.
eumelia: (Default)
So goes the saying.
Al Capone is reputed to have said that... it's funny that Chicago brought forth a man of that calibre, no?
Huh.
Maybe... not so much.

[Error: unknown template qotd]

What a wonderful question on these here elections days.

I went to vote with Mummy at around 10-ish. I was quite excited seeing as it was my first general elections, as I've mentioned before.

I'd like to address these three options through through the prism of Israel Politics.

I'm an Optimist because I voted positively on the issues and not against a candidate that I found nauseating through a vote that would make me need to have a shower once I got home. I voted for a party which barely has any mandates in the Knesset, but which did the grey work and actually passed laws that were social and environmental. I've heard the MK's and candidates speak and while there are problems, they're not problems that can't be fine tuned, tweaked or dealt with.

I'm a Pessimist because I don't think that anyone of the Prime Ministers to be will be good for the country. I don't think any of them hold any of the People's interests at heart, nor do I believe any of them have the ability to plan more than a year a head.
If someone with some actual fore sight bothered to try and run for PM, they'd be eating dust, because the People (you, me, us) don't have any fore sight either.
We don't have much of a memory either.
Hence by Bibi Netanyahu will be elected Prime Minister.
Again.

I'm a Realist because no matter what happens, we'll drudge and charge through and not much will be different. Because things do not change via a system that is so far removed from those who have voted the Leaders in.

This is, after all, politics.

If I am anything, I am a Cynical Optimist and I believe in the Vox Populi Vox Day and when only 60+% of the Populi cast a Vox... there is not God to speak of, or for.
But I have hope.
Simply because if I didn't, I wouldn't to care.
And then... why would I bother about anything.

I sign this oh so positive entry with a quote:
There's no certainty – only opportunity.
- V for Vendetta
eumelia: (Default)
I've just come back from a movie.

Probably the most important move I've ever seen (or will see) my whole life.

Memory is something we're told to cherish and hold close to our hearts and to never let go of the memories.
Memories are who we are.

I've just come back from watching a movie.
It's an animated feature.
The genre is slippery; it could be a documentary, a biopic or even just your run of the mill (anti)war movie.
But it's not just any of those things.
It's a movie about what we don't want to deal with.

Waltz with Bashir is a movie about how we remember and don't remember and why.
Knowing the details of Sabra and Shatila, the Phalangists and Israel's own complicity in what happened doesn't prepare you for this fragmented tale of memory and the remembering of memories... not forgotten... just... gone away.

Not coherent I know.

I'm still speechless and weepy.
Remembering my own images of war - which were removed from me by cameras and screens and radio coms - the animation helps to keep the gory details away, just like memory filters away those terrible images and you remember them... but without the impact that will have you shaking and sobbing and vomiting.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to write something that will make sense.
Maybe not.

If it's in a cinema near you... go see it.
Go.
Just... go.
eumelia: (Default)
Hebrew and English texts:

Sderot War Diary

Nomika Zion, Sderot, 8.1.09


[...]
Not in my name and not for me you went to war. The current bloodbath in Gaza is not in my name and not for my security. Destroyed homes, bombed schools, thousands of new refugees - are not in my name and not for my security. In Gaza there is no time for burial ceremonies now, the dead are put in refrigerators in twos, because there is no room. Here their bodies lay, policemen, children, and our nimble reporters play acrobatically with Hasbara strategies in view of “the images that speak for themselves”. Pray tell me, what is there to “explain”? [Hasbara literally means "explanation" - Translator's note] What is there to explain?
[...]

יומן מלחמה משדרות

נעמיקה ציון, שדרות, חברה בקבוצת ‘קול אחר’, 8.1.09


[...]
לא בשמי ולא למעני יצאתם למלחמה הזאת.
מרחץ הדמים המתנהל מזה שבועיים בעזה הוא לא בשמי ולא למען ביטחוני. בתים הרוסים, בתי ספר מופצצים, אלפי פליטים חדשים - הם לא בשמי ולא למען ביטחוני. בעזה אין זמן לטקסי קבורה, ואת המתים מכניסים זוגות זוגות לתאי הקירור מרוב דוחק. הנה מוטלות גופותיהם שוטרים שוטרים, ילדים ילדים, והכתבים החרוצים מלהטטים בין טקטיקות של הסברה מול “התמונות שמדברות בעד עצמן”. מה יש להסביר, תגידו לי? מה יש להסביר?
[...]
eumelia: (Default)
My head cold has broken me and I'm sitting here sipping tea.
Ah, well. Tomorrow is another day and it shall be made of coffee.

One of the things that have been on my mind lately is the forthcoming election - for those not in the local loop - Israel is going to have be voting for general elections in early 2009, these are going to be our 6th elections in 13 years.
Oh, no, we're so much better than the rest of the post-colonial countries of the Levant!
If my nose weren't so clogged my *snort* of utter derision would have probably been heard all the way to Beirut.

Any way.

The elections yes.
There are many problems, my biggest one is that I may have to go against my principals and vote for someone in order to prevent someone else from getting elected.

Tzipi Livni, current leader of the Centrist Kadima Party is not doing well in the poles. On any regular day this wouldn't bother me, since I have no great love for a former Likudnik or for a party made out of Ariel Sharon's own megalomania.
However, current poll leader seems to be the aforementioned Likud Party which is headed by Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu...
You cannot begin to understand how scary the thought of this man being back in the PM's office is.
Really, I'd rather have The Master.

A dilemma.

Do I cast my vote for the smaller party of my choice which actually holds onto values that I believe in (e.g. Meretz *sigh* or Hadash) or do I vote for Livni just to make myself feel better that my vote wasn't taken from her and gave victory to Bibi.

What's a Grrl to do?

What would you do?


Something else to think about:

In case you weren't aware, there is a group of young (18-19) Israeli Jewish conscientious objectors, known as The Shministim who refuse to be drafted into the IDF because of an ethical, moral and, yep, conscientious stance.
They are known as The Shministim (English and Hebrew websites) which is a Hebrew nick for High School seniors, and the Army drafts us right out of High School.
Tomorrow (December 18th) is the day of action.
Currently seven of this year's draftees have been charged with refusal to join the army and have been put in jail, some of them multiple times.
Press the links if you want to learn more about them, what they stand for and why it is important to support them.

Here they are, in their own words:

Scratched

Jul. 22nd, 2008 01:16 am
eumelia: (Default)
Fuck.

Well, that's one way to start an entry about the War and the two years that followed it.

When I was called into to the HQ for war-time reserve I really didn't think I'd be stuck there for a month. I didn't think my life would ever include running on adrenaline, going to the bathroom twice in a twelve hour shift and seeing people blow up.

During that time I did my best to disassociate myself from what was going on (I wore a uniform so ripped and graffitied upon, I put on Pride buttons, I drew Venus symbols on the pants and at every opportunity I sat in half a uniform, just the pants and a tank-top - just so I wouldn't look like I was conforming, despite the fact that I was). I was competent and did my best to help the people I was with, but I never tried to improve my skill, I was there to support my fellow shift members - even doing four shifts in a row so that they could get a proper rest and not fall apart at the seams, somehow, I held myself together and didn't fall apart until six months later.

During the War itself I ignored this intuitive knowledge, just like everyone else. I remember saying things that annoyed the people around me because my belief in what I was doing was pretty non-existent, but I did it because I was told I was needed and I'm just that much of a sucker (though no, knowing what I know now I'd never agree to do this sort of thing again... being an agent of death once, was enough).

In the six months following the War I went through a lot of changes. Most of them can be read in this here LJ, if you're so inclined. Basically, the values I held in theory began to solidify and I really couldn't look back at that month of my life without feeling guilty and helpless - especially because at the time I knew that we had gone on the rampage for bravado and to scare The Enemy into submission and not to really go in and get the kidnapped soldiers (yes, the ones returned to us last week).

It was also during those months that my friends and family realised that something was Wrong. I felt Wrong, like I was outside myself, that I had no control over what was going on inside of me and outside of me. So after many attempts to just talk to my friends about the fact that I don't sleep, am constantly angry, am constantly crying and that I am in a constant state of hate, rage and profound distrust, I actually went and sought professional help.

It was also during this time that I drifted quite far away from the comfy Left-of-Centre politics I had lived the majority of my life - Feminist, racism is bad, the Settlements in the Occupied Territories are the root the Occupation and thus must be removed, etc. etc. etc. All this without any understanding of the machinations that created the circumstances in which carpet bombs were used without notifying anyone on the ground.

And so I drifted Left (I suppose I would be considered Loony or Radical, depending on your perspective) and I feel good being in this place of self-examination and activism, it is probably what has prevented me from stumbling into clinical depression.

Trauma never really goes away.
In Hebrew there is a slang word for someone being messed up over something and never being the same and that is שרוט/ה in English it is "scratched", like a vinyl on a record player, when it hits that scratch there is a warp in the sounds that the vinyl is supposed to emit, but it gets stuck on that warp and the cacophony can be deafening.
It can also carry long distances, two years in measured time.
Most likely for longer.

In the shadow of these events, Haggai Alon (חגי אלון), a political consultant and analyst gave an interview to Ha'aretz reporter Akiva Eldar (עקיבא אלדר) about the goings on behind closed doors in the early days of the War and in the latter days and how many, if not most or all of the terrible, ahem, oversights.
The interview in Hebrew - שבויים בקונספציה.
The interview in English - A painful return to fateful hours.

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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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