eumelia: (diese religione)
My dear New York siblings, congratulations, it's about fucking time.

My own misgivings about using marriage as a strategy, we shouldn't be treated as second class citizens, the ability to marry is one way to assert humanity on paper.

Big hugs!

Tangential to this, I was driving with my father this afternoon. He's buying a laptop for himself and he took me along as the most tech-savvy person living at home at the moment.

Which is saying something. But hey, I can read commercial laptop specs and make sure no one's pulling the wool over the eyes of an older man who's command of Hebrew frustrates him.

On the way, we started talking about Amy Winehouse and he mentioned that she was Jewish, I said "yep, I know."

And he said, "Not that it's in any way relevant."

I replied saying that I think it is important to have that sort of thing known, because Judaism is more than just a religion and he asked if I'd want to have "Jewish" mentioned as part of my biography.

I said that it should be mentioned somewhere, but not like "Melody [Pond], Jewish". I'd much rather have "Feminist" or "Queer".

I asked him, "Isn't being Jewish important to you? You immigrated here because of that."

To which he grimaced and said: "I hate what the religious have done to this country, it makes me resent the religion."

It made me think, that I must have really freaked my parents out when I was going through my exploration of Neopaganism, which came and went quite a bit for the better part of a decade, but which was laid to rest at some point a couple of years ago, and during my emotional break down after the Second Lebanon War, during which I thought I should get closer to... well... something, G-d seemed like a good choice.

I replied to him, regarding his resentment, that being Jewish is more than religion, it's a history and a sense of connection and the whole spiel.

Regardless, he said unfortunately religion was the reason Israel existed, which I refuted in a way he found both amusing and horrifying, most likely. But that's what happens when Godwin is invoked.

He said religion was one of the biggest disaster to ever happen to humanity.

And I said, "At least I come by my atheism honestly."

And he asked, out of nowhere, "And your heterosexuality?"

I gave him a side-eye, "I come by my non-heterosexuality honestly, too,"

To which he laughed and said I should start dating again, because he wants me to be happy and that he and my Mom reacted badly to my relationship at the time (no shit, Sherlock).

It was gratifying to hear him say, though the timing was slightly bizarre.

Then again, the car is the time to have a heart to heart. No one can escape.

How was your Sunday?!
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
This being a personal blog in which I talk about as assortment of stuff, some more interesting to you, dear readers, than others, I feel it's important to disseminate information, even if it doesn't actively concern you.
It actively concerns me, so I suppose that's good enough.

Some of you may know about the gag order placed in Israel regarding an "espionage" case.

I don't want to talk about Anat Kam, journalist who was placed under house arrest since December for handing over "top secret" documents that show the IDF breaking High Court Rullings regarding, among other things, the assassinations of various Palestinian leaders.
She handed over this classified information to Ha'aretz journalist Uri Balu while she was doing her time in the IDF.
Uri Blau himself is now in exile in London because the Shin-Bet (what in Hebrew we call the Shabak, שב"כ, which is the acronym for "General Security Services"... they're not a Secret Police, they have carte blanche to do things the police and the IDF cannot do... like break into homes of activists, tap their phones, allegedly torture "security"/"political" prisoners and recruit via any means necessary Palestinian collaborators.

I want to talk about the fact that during my time in the IDF, I too was privy to classified information but I was too naive, insular, politically unaware and oblivious to actually understand that what I was doing was doing more harm to people's lives, than good.

What do I mean by this?

My life as a middle class Ashkenazi Jewish girl in a middle class town a twenty minute drive westward from Tel Aviv insulated me, totally, to the reality of what was going on a twenty minute drive eastward, across the border - "The Green Line". All I knew, before I was drafted in 2003, was that the West Bank had lots of Settlers and Palestinians blew themselves up from time to time.

I was fucking clueless. More on that, because this is long )

This is so tiring.

Israel is only "liberal" for some people who live here.

Wake up!
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)
Fucking Hell:
Only about 60 percent of elementary and junior high schools offer a "life skills" course that includes sex education, and the subject is not taught at all in high schools, according to a Knesset Research Center report. Schools are not required to teach the course.
[...]
Along with sex education, the "life skills" program also includes issues like violence, alcohol, drugs and peer pressure. The elementary schools that teach the program devote one hour weekly to it, while in junior high schools, the subject is taught during homeroom.

But the research center's report noted that sex education is not always part of the "life skills" program, as parents or others sometimes "exert pressure not to deal with certain issues, like sexual identity."

As for high schools, the report states that when sex education is broached, it is often "in response a specific event."

The ministry's sex education unit, according to the report, does not monitor "the extent to which the subject is taught or the type or content of lessons."


I had no idea things were so bad.
I had no idea I was that privileged in my national, public and secular education.

During my twelve years of formal education I had a sex education class twice as a separate class outside the regular curriculum and once as a "special class" when I was doing more advanced biology.
This doesn't include the "special assemblies" we had about AIDS in which we had PWA come and tell us about their lives - one was seriously ill, I remember. Also, the woman was infected by an immigrant from Cameroon with whom she'd had a serious relationship beforehand, the man was infected by a one-night stand in Independence Park (the gay cruising spot), iirc.

You just can't escape it.

I had a sex-ed lesson in 6th grade, in which we were told our bodies were going to change, menstruation, all that blah blah blah, which was given to us in a heterogeneous class (boys and girls) by the school nurse.
In 11th grade by an actual sex-educator who came and explained how sex worked, what a condom is, how a condom works, the Pill, that girls are "allowed to say no", that AIDS can kill you and if you're gay or have anal sex it's more risky.
I basically took what she had to say condoms to heart.
The biology class was a fiasco from start to finish as we went over the biological reproductive system and me, in me being a Rocky Horror going, a virgin where it "counts" - 'cause I hadn't been with a man yet (that only happened after high school), and doing my best not to Out myself to my teacher, was shot down and that harpy asked me "Didn't I think having casual sex was dangerous?"

Yeah.

Memories of sex-ed are a tad shudder inducing, but at least I have them. I learned something - ignored a lot, but if the years of being sexually active, I've managed to avoid STI and pregnancy and I do owe a bunch of that to sex-ed (and my dad, who is a pharmacist and provided me with a lot of information from just being in his store).

Now, I'm discovering that formal sex-ed is taught in only 60% of schools in Israel!

The article also ties the lack of sex-education with the rise in gang-rapes the media has been reporting on. I doubt that, btw. I think the consequences of rape may be a bit more fuzzy - and when I say consequences I mean the fact that STI's are spread and pregnancy can occur - but, the notion that women and girls are there to available for the proclivities of horny boys isn't something that can be countered by two-to-five hours of formal school education that most teens don't give a shit about, anyway.

After all, when I was a teenager, consent was taught as "the right to say No", as though that's the be all and end all of consent. As though other form of coercion weren't just as violent and violating.

I think I need to get into the education system just for that.
I'm just...
This is very scary.
eumelia: (Default)
Within three months of being enlisted into the IDF I put on something like 5 kg.
I had cried, tears rolled down my face, as I told my mother I had jock itch because my thighs were rubbing together, along with the very ill-fitting uniform.
I didn't wear clothes in my proper size for the two years that I served.

Food in the IDF is disgusting.

I was not vegetarian at the time, but I pretended to be, because the processed tofu schnitzels looked more appetizing and less likely to give me salmonella than the "regular" food.

Having done kitchen duty like a champ, I can tell you, the cooks are over worked, it's an yucky job, you have to deal with teenaged girls being grossed out by things (being a young aunt cured me of viewing leftover food as gross) that they've seen people eat and, well, dealing with the fact that despite having the most "practical" power (they're the wheelers and dealers of the army) they're in fact the lowest echelon of military jobs.

Yeah, the food was gross. We comforted ourselves by going to buy chocolate, biscuits, chocolate-chip cookies, crackers and cheese...

Yeah, it was good times in the barracks.

Is it any surprise girls (who do not do combat, which most of us do not) put on, on average, 10 kg of weight throughout our two year run.

I got thinking about because I saw this News article.
It made me guffaw. That's another way of saying LOL.

The IDF is going to cut out of its menu in the canteens (i.e. the cafeteria where you get your food for free) the fattening pastry foods - mainly Bourekas and rogalach - which have been traditional foods found in meetings, unit gatherings and, as mentioned, the canteens.

Nothing like promoting more resentment in the ranks!

I mean, I understand the need and want to promote "good health" which is a real oxymoron in the military - I cannot tell you how many yeast infections I had during my service because the trousers I wore five days a week was basically spun plastic.

Also, Doctors generally do not believe soldiers who come to the infirmary, their initial thought is that you are there to get sick-leave, which are days off not docked from your regular holidays.

You basically have to be dying in order to get treatment - or be at the emergency room with an actual bodily trauma.

Yeah, "good health".

Food is a big deal in the army.
It's something we arrange our time around - two hour lunch breaks are not unheard of, hell, unless I had something extremely pressing to do I could spend more time faffing around looking for chocolate and drinking seven cups of coffee a day (which was my average, I was up to ten cups a day at some point... withdrawal was a bitch after I was discharged).

Food was my comfort. Mainly because the food presented to us in the canteens was just so bad. Any other food was great and much of it was eaten.

I've spoken about the uniform before, so I don't need to tell you about the gendered aspect of it, but I remember how one day, I felt cramps, it wasn't that time of the month, so I went to the bathroom, opened my belt and instant relief.
Yeah, my belt had been pressing into me.
You can imagine what I did next.
I cried like the big baby I am/was.

Looking back, I can't say I felt bad about putting on the weight. It was something I didn't consciously think about - I mean, I hated myself for being "fat", but I was never ever willing to give up food that made me feel good.

That period of my life was full of half-assed attempts at weight loss.
"Weight Watchers" is a nightmare, as though we don't get judged enough in our lives.
Eating smaller portions got me eating more instead of less.
I got into shouting matches with my mother over my weight and what I was willing to do, or not do, in order to "control myself".

Yeah, food was a battle ground.

I don't know how much I eat today. I know that over the past few months I've lost weight, which worried me for a while, because weight loss has become something I associate with trauma and I still don't know what has caused me to become even smaller than I was.

Food in the IDF was part of what got me through it. Take outs, cakes, biscuits, the gatherings... *sigh* good times.
But they made my plastic pants split at the seam.

I'm glad it's over, never to return.

At times, it seemed to never end. I was even about to sign up for more - I was insane and full of fear of the outside world at the time - so when that fell through I suddenly had two weeks left of service.
The relief (and the weight loss that commenced simply because I was happy to be outside that framework) was unbelievable.

Related but off tangent; I don't know if Kung Fu is for me. I was in the best shape of my life while I was in those classes, but I didn't know how to protect myself, which pretty much negates the purpose...

As mentioned, I'm now thin, but very out of shape. I'm a slob, I don't exercise, I should, but I don't - I need to maלe the decision to go back to martial arts, but I need to want it and at the moment... I don't.
eumelia: (Default)
I recently saw a documentary about the word "slut", it's meanings etymological, social, political, personal etc.

Personally, I don't think I've ever been called a slut. If I was it was never to my face and kept secret from me.

It got me thinking though, of the pejoratives I had been called throughout my life and quite a large amount of High School Nostalgia.

Here's a list off the top of my head (with Hebrew as well, as I grew up and live in a non-English speaking environment):

כלבה - Bitch
פריקית - Freak
פוסטמה - slang for annoying or stupid female
לזבית - Lesbian (more like Dyke... in a bad way)
רעה - Mean or Bad
מכשפה - Witch (though oddly, not during my Wicca phase... funny how these things work).
חכמולוגית - Smart-ass
דפוקה - Fucked up
חצופה - Cheeky
נודניקית - Nag
כוסית - the word כוס is cunt, but the word is slang for an attractive woman, you can often hear it being hurled at you in the street, or spoken complementarity by your friends. I hate the word regardless as I'd rather not be referred to as a vagina... if someone is using the word near me I hope they're talking anatomy and not personality (or lack thereof).

In any event, the word I heard most, since I was 12 has been Bitch and it's varieties - the first time someone called me Klafta - קלעפטאה which is Yiddish for "Bitch" I burst out laughing.

Bitch is a word I like.
I've come to take pride in it, I heard it so much growing up I couldn't help but embrace it - if being called that name meant I wasn't teased and harassed every day then good, ya know.

Looking back on growing up, I can see a trend of boys being interested in me, romantically, sexually, whatever and I never noticed. Only in hindsight do I see that these obnoxious, irritating, self-entitled boys were hitting on me, coming on to me.
I mean, I thought most girls responded to that because they were dumb, not because that was the social cue of the day.
Which is still dumb - not the girls who followed the cue, the cue itself.
I was such a loner and self-involved that I'd missed the days where girls and boys were taught that language called "adolescent courtship" which I always interpreted as "stupid boys harassing me".

An anecdote:
Cut for marginally entertaining high school drama with yours truly as protagonist )

One of the things I've come to realise is that I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only one harassed and hassled in high school. For being a weird girl, a Loner girl and all that.
And looking back on that, I have to say that without the word "Bitch", I probably wouldn't be the Grrl I am today.
So this isn't a pity-party, it's a "hmmmm, memories of a shitty adolescence" party!

I any event, I embraced the title of Bitch and carried it over to my Army service where it served me quite well. After I was discharged I toned it down, though I'm told that I'm quite aggressive still (abrasive and having "an attitude", as my family at times informs me), so I feel I live up to "Bitch".

*sigh* While hellish at the time, nostalgically High School had some good times. Though I'd slice off my nose if I had to do it again.

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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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