This isn’t just an Arab story, its an African story and it’s a World story too. It must be told as such, with its multi-layered, complex, tragic and heartwarming narratives including the all too-often forgotten voices of poor migrants and refugees of all hues, tongues, nationalities and faiths.
highly recommend reading this letter in full, and circulating it on twitter.
On US-Germany and US-Japan relations: I would argue that the colonisation situation in Japan is complex to navigate for the casual US American observer due to the economic power Japan has, but I would definitely say it's still colonisation.
Was the US-Germany relationship colonisation? I would argue that it was and is /somewhat/, but that the word might better be 'exploitation' because the issues are so very different because it's the US interacting with Western Europe; you don't get the racial privilege and exoticism and other fuckery there. (Also, the situation in Germany and in Japan in late 1945 was very different, for obvious reasons, and the US' stakes in the Cold War have to do with it, etc.)
In other words, wicked complicated. I don't pretend to speak for anyone, particularly because I was given a biased POV growing up and I'm still trying to work past it...but as a 20th century history geek, it becomes pretty clear that these were/are two very different situations.
I’d use a measure of what the Japanese person thinks of it; definitely imperialism, though. Thanks Rhi. Precisely this.
Obviously I don't speak for the Japanese either, but I was a student of the language, and had a very interesting experience with the class and the teachers' representations of Japanese culture. (My first teacher is from Japan, so I assume her ideas of Japan are accurate). There were also a lot of Japanophiles in my classes, so there were some pretty interesting discussions.
I see it as the same kind of curiosity, and the same kind of ignorance, really. America and Japan see each other as friendly entities, and innocent interest turns into appropriation. (For instance, Japanophilia vs. the Yankii and the use of warbled English in pretty much every other Japanese pop song)
I don't think of Japan as an ex-colony (of americans) because I'm fairly sure that if the Japanese government told the US base to cease operations, it would. If it is an ex-colony because of American bases, wouldn't Germany be an ex-colony?
However, this just came to mind, are you saying that this phenomenon is from Japan being colonised historically? That is an interesting point indeed. If that is so, then my answer is moot, and I'm curious as to how colonization affects countries. (which I will be happy to look up on my own, lol)
There’s plenty of countries today that can be considered ‘colonised’, if we are using the standard of US military bases. & I’m sure you would agree that the power dynamic between US-Germany & US-Japan are completely different.
What I was referring to more specifically was the Allied (primarily US, minor contributions from NZ, India, Australia) occupation of Japan from 1945 to the early 1950s. General Douglas MacArthur has said some pretty fucked up things about it.
& if I were to search all the legal issues Japan & the US have had because of the bases (especially on Okinawa & regarding criminal actions by US soldiers on Japanese soil) that list would be an entire post of its own. This is a hotly contested issue in bilateral relations, even though it is completely glossed over by the media. & I would say this relationship is hardly equal at all. Most recently, Hatoyama had to resign because the US govt refused to move Futenma Air Base. There’s also been furore last year when it was discovered that Japanese ships had been transporting nuclear missiles to US bases. I don’t think I need to explain how problematic it was that it was happening, & that it didn’t stop even after news got out.
I accidentally hit the ask button too early :/
1. >>> Also, I'm not talking about objects with any religious significance. I can see that as appropriation, and concede to your point. I'm talking about objects that are completely decorative in any culture.
2. I would disagree with your reasoning, but it's worth thinking about.
1. Ah, all right. Thanks for clearing that up.
2. I don’t speak for the Japanese people, obviously, but through extensive conversations with sourceland-Japanese friends, & as someone whose sourceland has been colonised, I recognise the trends as too similar to be purely coincidental; nonetheless, I am interested in how you would explain the phenomenon.
I'm glad to hear your last answer about appropriation, because I was thinking about this as well.
As a white girl, I am fascinated by other cultures. However, this recent issue has brought up worries about being culturally insensitive. This is something that's really important to me, because 1. I don't want to be an asshole when I'm really trying to appreciate other humans and their different takes on humanity, and 2. I think lots of ""ethnic"" things are simply aesthetically pleasing. (I put in the extra quotes because I understand the appropriation associated with the idea of "ethnic" objects and practices)
I'd also like to say your mentioning of Hanzi/Kanji stupidity is, well, stupid. If you think a language is interesting or beautiful, then learn it, don't get a drunk tattoo that probably doesn't even mean anything. I think it's pretty telling that Japanese trends do the same thing with the English alphabet, and it comes out just as ridiculous.
1) It’s precisely the ‘aesthetic’ that’s the problem. I once saw a paperweight of Kali being sold as a neato thing. What about a paperweight of Guan Yin? Why would a paperweight of the Virgin Mary not have the same horrible connotation? Why is it perceived as ok to consume these things without question? It’s not, because the product sold is often a static representation of a living, breathing, changing culture.
2) Japan is still occupied by US troops, so it’s not appropriation as much as it is a reaction to the occupation. c.f. similar patterns in other [ex-] colonies.
Some of you might be planning a visit to Israel to participate, and maybe even support, queer, cultural or academic events. Some of you might be visiting for religious or personal reasons, or perhaps simply out of curiosity. While an invitation to Israel might seem flattering and exciting, we hope that – before taking a stand and booking that flight – you read the following open letter, written by Palestinian queers, activists, academics and artists, to queers, activists, academics and artists around the world.
We are determined to inform every person wishing to travel to Israel on the political and social realities of life in Israel/Palestine. “Occupation,” “Palestinians,” “Gaza,” “apartheid,” “ethnic cleansing,” “boycott,” and “refugees” are not terms you would come across in flyers, itineraries, and travel brochures promoting Israel; yet, these words define the daily lives of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. As Palestinians and as queers, these words have shaped our history and continue to determine our future.
Some of you might feel that boycotting Israel would be too one-sided for such a complex conflict. You might think that it is too controversial. Some of you are probably wondering whether this boycott movement is actually effective. To start the conversation, we put together background information on BDS and Israel/Palestine; and we also encourage you to get in touch and explore with us any questions or issues you might have with BDS. Our aim is for every person to have a historically-informed understanding of Israel/Palestine, and for every queer, academic, artist, and activist to support the Palestinian civil society’s call for BDS.
Hm, your response to the question about non-white people and culture appropriation makes me :\, because pretty much *everything* I do would be cultural appropriation. I was raised in a culture different from my parents (Bangladeshi in Malaysia) and didn't really get much exposure to my culture. I don't even really feel connected to any culture in particular. And you know how multicultural Malaysia is, everyone pretty much borrows from each other. My relatives are in glee when someone else wears salwhar khameez because they think it's the best way of looking pretty! How then?
*facepalm* Thanks for your question. I should have been more specific with my earlier response.
Anyhow, just Malaysia meh? Singapore too lah :) Nonetheless, the conversation you & I have about appropriation is quite different from the one we would be having with white people, though even this isn’t a clear-cut issue. Three main points: context, intent, & power dynamics.
1) Context. Let’s say my dear Wednesday wore my clothes or butchered my forked tongue as a manifestation of her local race privilege, that’s harm. Whereas, if I gave her a shalwar kameez as a gift and asked her to wear it as a favour to me, that would be another story, no?
2) Intent. Not magically absolving as always, but SEAsia has a long history of syncretic culture. Arguably we’ve become very distinct from the original sources we borrowed from & keeping our unique heritage alive isn’t inherently appropriative. You & I were both raised in cultures not our own — me wearing a qipao, celebrating Lunar New Year because it’s what I know & have grown up with & always done, is fine. We are not from ‘one’ culture or the other: we are somewhere in between diaspora & hyphenate. Negotiating our cultural identity, that’s not inherently appropriative. It only becomes so if we are ignorant of the practices involved & try to adopt them as our own without understanding the deeper meanings.
3) Power dynamics. Perceptions of race intra-chromatically is far more complicated & murky, but you & I both know there can still be hierarchies within this, & we are affected by white privilege due to the fact that the vast majority of us still — consciously or unconsciously — associate whiteness with civilisation, with things that are ok to do, even when they are not. E.g. my Korean classmates engage in blackface, & that’s not an inherent Korean thing, it’s a result of white privilege. THAT needs to be fought.
Queer Ink Anthology Building on the work of other groundbreaking historical anthologies, we are seeking dynamic stories of people living in India today who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, hijra, kothi, queer, genderqueer, or other gender-non-conforming identities. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction. Writers may be of any gender identity as long as the story features a primary character who is queer. Rural or urban, gritty or sunny, Mills & Boon or Midnight’s Children — all writing styles and experiences are invited. Diaspora writings are also welcome as long as there is a strong connection to India in the main character’s life. Excerpts from longer works (novels, memoirs) are welcome but must be able to stand alone. Deadline: 15th March 2011
Urban Short Stories wanted by Landmark and Greyoak. The stories should be set in an URBAN backdrop within India. The plot, characters and the setting needs to be contemporary, relatable and above all FRESH! Stories must be original unpublished fiction, Font size 11, Arial or Times New Roman, typed and double-spaced, and may not exceed 3,000 words in length. Each author can make no more than two submissions to the competition. Deadline: 15th April, 2011.
So. My university’s queer student group is aiming to put together a one-day conference for mid-March (the 18th, specifically). To this end, we are putting together a number of workshops. One of these, which my friend and I hope to co-facilitate, is on “Case Studies…
“And yes, by conflating “insane” with “immoral, unjust, criminal, monstrous” you are hurting everyone who suffers from mental illness and, once in a while, come unhinged. Lots of people who would be considered insane “don’t DO that”, either.”
Serious question, from one who has plenty of mental and physical illness—how does this play out in terms of criminal behavior and the legal system? (I don’t know if other countries have an insanity defense. The US does. The Hague War Crimes Tribunal also has a “diminished mental capacity” defense.) I’m thinking also of women with post-partum depression who harm their children, etc. If the law enforces a conflation of mental illness with criminal activity, how do we change that? If this is totally 101, please, just give me a link, but I’ve wondered for a while.
Wow, that is so not a 101 question. I think it goes back to the conflation of mental illness with criminal activity in general. The one series I’ve seen about this is related to Canada: Parts 1, 2, and 3. Abby jean wrote about policy. I don’t recall reading anything about how ableism plays out wrt the insanity plea, but that might be me forgetting…
So I will reblog this and ponder on it when I can and maybe someone else following me might have a much better answer for you. Sorry I’m not of much help =(
Okay, let me share my thoughts, but first, let me hide this behind a tumblr-jump because this got long. (Tumblr, I’m doin’ it rong, y/y?)
You have a 1 in 1000 chance of being attacked by someone who does not have an invisible disability. You have a 1 in 20,000 chance of being physically assaulted by someone with an invisible disability.
When you use psychophobic such language to refer to a neurotypical, or someone whose psychological status you are unaware of, this is ableist. You could disagree with them, they could be a horrible person, but if you are closing the case with ‘they have a mental illness’ your enthymeme is: they don’t see your logic (or lack thereof), so they must be crazy. Deviant. Self-evident! Score a point! Wash your hands of the matter for you don’t need to argue this point any more! Hurrah!
Why do you think ableist words work as slurs in the first place?
Some of the people you disagree with or who are shithead dictators could have invisible disabilities! But you wouldn’t know just by looking at them. & even then, why does this matter? Implying that every one of us out there who is actually crazy is liable to start shooting people with bullets the size of a human hand is an absurd assertion that will not stand either on empirical or normative grounds.
I reiterate: When you say an evil person is crazy, is insane, unhinged, any ableist word, you equate ‘goodness’ with neurotypicality (connotation versus denotation!), ignoring that many criminals are in fact perfectly ‘sane’ at the time of the crime, & many invisibly disabled people lead ‘functional’ lives without ever physically harming someone, but are still punished: do you have any idea how much internalised self-hatred & suffering is caused by these microaggressions?
This is a dialogue we need to be having. You don’t get to derail with fauxpologies or Other us with of your offensive language & unquestioned attitudes.
Why do all your cultural appropriation specifically apply to white people?
Would you have the same problem if a non-white person walked down the street in a sari?
Yes, I would have issues with it. The thing about chromatic cultures, we have fought hundreds of years of colonialism for our clothes, our food, our tongues, & any harm perpetrated by privilege is to be challenged, because even if the appropriator zeself is not white, it is still an exercise of white privilege, and a consequence of whiteness-as-normative.
& so I would be having a slightly different conversation about appropriation with my dear friend Wednesday if she wore a sari, than say, if a white person did it.
Aha! You are the mysterious Thursday I have been hearing about. You are talked about more than you are reblogged... If that is your real name, you totally lucked out and it is awesome.
Also, your url is pretty cool. I'd seen it a few times, and thought to myself "That's a cool url, I wonder what they tend to blog about?" without knowing that you are Thursday.
Understanding privilege is a first step: If a white person wore a sari & walked down the street, it would be trendy, even lauded. If I did the same thing, it would be BAD IMMIGRANT! WHY ARE YOU NOT ASSIMILATING!! *FLAMES*
& one people should take when these issues come up. Nobody says you can’t appreciate someone else’s heritage. The trick is doing it respectfully, & not perpertuating harmful stereotypes.
Muammar Gaddafi is many things: a despot, a monster, a tyrant. What he is NOT is crazy, insane, unhinged, psychotic, schizo, or mad. Kindly don't use ableist slurs to describe this piss-poor excuse for a human being. *I* am crazy. *He* is not.
A Handy Guide to Appreciation of a Marginalised Culture.
Tired of being boring ol’ white? Want to add a bit of spice to your life & get hippie street cred in the same bargain? Look no farther! Thursday’s written this simple & unadulterated guide to appreciating a marginalised culture. We guarantee we’ll make an imperialist douchefuck out of you before you can say ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’, or your money back!
So, here we go.
1. Choose your target.
First of all, all white people have the right to another person’s culture, especially you! Fashion, art, & fiction have always borrowed from other sources, but don’t worry, there’s plenty to go around! Poke around in the storage closet & remember to pick one that truly speaks to you. Or you don’t even need to pick only one, you may change every other week or so to keep your friends interested.
2. Dive in.
Got your new culture? Excellent, you can start promoting cultural exchange right away! Start a blog to show everyone how much you love your new culture. Complain that not enough literature is being translated from their language to yours. Make a new exotic friend! Wear their clothes. Use their greetings. Eat their food. Jabber in their language — oh you don’t need our help to butcher those phonemes, surely! Change your name to a nice native-sounding one, & if it’s the name of a god in their pantheon, it’s perfect for you!
& if you feel extra-kind, pop over to their country and get a fresh ~perspective~. Take pictures of random stuff without asking permission. Mention (loudly, & several times) how it’s such a shame they’ve remained as they are when their history & culture was so glorious. Remember to look shocked when they speak English, or better yet, point & laugh. (Bonus points if you’re in China, you get to use ‘ching chong’.) And if you feel very ambitious, why not get a tattoo of a phrase in their language? Or several? Don’t worry if it’s complete gibberish. No one cares.
3. Mix & Match!
If you get bored, you could always mix & match! Bellydancing to bhangra music! Sioux headdresses with hanboks! Dhotis with Maasai weapons! Why stop there? Be creative!
4. Dodging the PC PoliceTM.
By now your enthusiasm would have attracted unwanted attention. Their attention. How do you know who these people are? Well, they’re always looking for something to be offended about, & that makes them as subtle as a monkey on crack. They’ll use the keywords: ‘inaccurate’, ‘racism’, ‘cultural appropriation’, & ‘white privilege’. & if you’re really lucky, you’ll also get: ‘povertyporn’. & if that’s not a clue, there’ll probably be hordes of them, too, sending you angry messages.
So, here’s what you do: say they have no right to tell everybody what to think! Hmph! Nobody would know about ~diversity if they had their way. Then, call in your friend from step 2! They know your reasons: you’re promoting cultural exchange ~respectfully~, & white culture totally doesn’t speak to you. Disassociation happens to everyone!
Next: you're not offended by your actions, so it doesn't matter.
& lastly: don't they have better things to do, like, solve poverty & stuff?
5. Haters Gonna Hate.
You’ve still got people left from step 4? That’s all right; keep on doing what you were & they will eventually give up & go away. If you see any of your haters refusing to engage with you and/or saying they’re out of spoons, CONGRATULATIONS! YOU WIN!
& if you have any questions or concerns on how much of an impact you’ll make using our Handy Guide, you may contact us at 555-GO-FUCK-YOURSELF.
“Al Jazeera announces it is allowing any networks to broadcast its material due to the deliberate scrambling of its signals by Libya. During jamming, Al Jazeera English can be watched on Hotbird 13E Frequency: 11034 Vertical FEC: 3/4 Symbol rate: 27500; on Badr4/Eurobird 2 (26East) Frequency : 11680.8 Horizontal; SR: 27.5: FEC: 3/4; and on Nilesat/ Atlantic Bird4A (7West) Frequency: 11393 Vertical; SR:27.5; FEC :3/4”—Al Jazeera Live Blog (via dancingonembers)
“Dear right wing blogosphere and also Bill Maher: You can’t generalize about women’s position in Muslim countries based on a reprehensible mob attack on CBS reporter Lara Logan. Generalizing about a whole group of people based on a single incident is called “bigotry.” It is also a logical fallacy (for wingnuts challenged by six syllables in a row, that means, ‘when your brain doesn’t work right’) known as the ‘Hasty Generalization.’ Nobody seems to note that allegedly helpless Egyptian women were the ones who saved Logan, or that Anderson Cooper was also attacked.
Some other examples of reporters or celebrities being assaulted by crowds are here and here. Wingnuts, and also Bill Maher, who do not immediately make generalizations on these bases about large groups of Westerners are wusses.
Note to Muslim-hater Bill Maher, who should know better: It is not true that women cannot vote in 20 Muslim countries, and please stop generalizing about 1.5 billion Muslims based on the 22 million people in Wahhabi Saudi Arabia, the only place where women cannot drive and where men can vote (in municipal elections) but women cannot. It would be like generalizing from the Amish in Pennsylvania to all people of Christian heritage and wondering what is with Christianity and its fascination with horses and buggies.”—Top Five Myths about the Middle East Protests (via caraobrien)
I watched this episode and was wildly uncomfortable and disgusted by that sheer bigotry. And on top of a gross generalization about Muslim men, he kept demanding white dudebro snaps for how well all white guys treat women! I couldn’t make this shit up! Luckily, Tavis Smiley was there to lay down the law. I love him.
We do but merely ask
No more, no less, this much:
That you white man,
Boasting of many parts, Some talk of Alexander, some of Hercules
Some broken not long ago
By little yellow soldiers
Out of the Rising Sun…
We ask you see
The bitter, curving tide of history,
See well enough, relinquish,
Restore this place, this sun
To us… and the waiting generations.
“We are expecting people to die today, more people than before. If anything happens to us today, we are not going to leave this place. I’m not afraid to die, I’m afraid to lose the battle, that’s why I want the media to see what’s going on. At least if we die, so many people can witness, I can protest from everywhere. Long live a free Libya. We are determined to fight till the end for our country”
-Lawyer Fathi Terbil, critic of Muammar Gaddafi whose arrest last week touched off anti-government protests in Libya, via a life TV broadcast near a public square in Benghazi, the country’s second largest city.
Sarah and Asra know their marriage is unorthodox, and the idea of a gay nikah would be rejected by the majority of Muslim scholars, but Sarah says it is nobody’s business.
“It is between me and God, and when we got married it was not ideal, but we were doing our best.”
However, there is a small but growing voice within the Muslim community representing gay people, with the emergence of British gay Muslim support groups such as Imaan and Safra Project.
One of the key advocates of Muslim gay marriage is the American Imam, Daayiee Abdullah - who himself is gay. He has performed a number of gay nikahs in America and has also advised gay British Muslim couples on how to perform the ceremony.
He reasons that to deny gay Muslim couples the right to a religious union, goes against teachings in the Koran.
Speaking to 5 live Investigates, he says: “Since Islamic legal precedence does not allow same sexes to wed, Muslim societies make it a legal impossibility within Islam [but] by not allowing same-sex couples to wed, there is a direct attack on the Koran’s message that each person has a mate who is their ‘comfort and their cloak’.”
BBC5 Live feature tonight at 2100 GMT. Will also be on iPlayer :D
“My neighbor came home tonight from prison and handed us $5,000 and gun and said not to worry, that he wouldn’t be killing anyone. They gave all the prisoners $5,000 and a gun and were told to kill all those anti-Gaddaffi with the promise of another $5,000 later”
(They have released the prisoners and are paying them money to kill anti-Gaddafi people! I hope more prisoners are like this man and will give up their weapons. This is madness.)
It’s horrific, aye. Madness, no. Wish mainstream media was hearing about this.
You — and by “you” I mean a sexual person with An Opinion On Asexuality — have no right to tell me that my sexuality does not exist. You have no right to suggest that it stems from a sexual trauma, a mental disorder or bad experiences. You have no right to question the validity of…
DUBAI — Here are Friday’s developments in the unrest sweeping the Middle East and North Africa following uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia that toppled their longtime rulers.
ALGERIA: A senior former leader of the Algerian regime, Abdelhamid Mehri, called for sweeping political changes in the North African country in an open letter to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
BAHRAIN: Police opened fire on anti-regime Shiite protesters in Manama, wounding dozens, a day after four were killed and some 200 wounded as tanks and troops keep a tight security clamp in the Sunni-ruled Gulf monarchy.
DJIBOUTI: Thousands of opposition supporters, mainly students, gathered in Djibouti to demand President Ismael Omar Guelleh step down before he seeks re-election for a third term in April elections.
EGYPT: Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians massed into Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate the fall of strongman Hosni Mubarak and to pressure the new military rulers to deliver on reform pledges, while hundreds of others staged a “sorry, president” rally.
IRAN: Tens of thousands of regime loyalists poured on to the streets of Tehran to demand that opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi be hanged for their “rebellion.”
IRAQ: The offices of a Kurdish regional opposition party were targeted by looters, officials said, after Iraq’s most violent protests since the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia left three dead in two days.
JORDAN: Government supporters clashed with young protesters in Amman, leaving eight people injured, in the first such violence since protests began in Jordan, witnesses and medics said.
KUWAIT: At least five people, including a security man, were hurt and dozens arrested as Kuwaiti riot police clashed with hundreds of stateless Arab protesters demanding rights.
LIBYA: Four prisoners were killed trying to escape a Tripoli prison, while inmates of a Benghazi succeeded in doing so before burning a bank, prosecutor’s office and police station, local press said, after protests against Libyan leader Moamer Gadhafi have led to at least 28 deaths in three days.
MOROCCO: Ahead of a planned pro-reform rally, Morocco announced it would inject 1.4 billion euros in subsidies to soften price hikes for staples — a key factor behind the spreading unrest in the Arab world.
SYRIA: Hundreds of Syrians staged an impromptu protest against security forces after traffic police beat a young man in the capital’s Old City, a Dubai-based website reported.
TUNISIA: Ousted Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali suffered a stroke and was “in a coma” in a Saudi hospital, a family friend said, as more details of corruption under his rule came to light.
YEMEN: Anti-regime protesters in Taez were blasted with a hand grenade killing two and injuring dozens, while three were shot dead as police opened fire in Aden. Violent clashes also erupted in Sanaa, witnesses said, on a sixth day of demonstrations.