Thursday, July 29, 2010

where i channel glenn beck

What's Hard to Look At - TIME

The TIME cover features a young woman who had her ears and nose cut off by the Taliban for escaping an abusive husband. She is the reason, TIME says, we are fighting in Afghanistan and the reason why we must continue to do so. Maybe, maybe not.

There is no doubt that Afghani women and girls are under enormous threat by a horrific, patriarchal and oppressive society. But I'm also pretty sure that global women's rights have never been a big driver in US foreign policy. (Or we'd have ratified CEDAW by now, at least.)

But we can't ignore women and girls like Aisha. We can't ignore that they are deliberately kept uneducated; they are deliberately physically and sexually assaulted; they are terrorized by a socio-political crisis, one that is fostered and perpetuated by men - U.S men, Afghan men. other men. Men.

What to do for these women?

A few weeks ago, watching a movie about the Iraq and Afghanistan war, my anger toward all war-mongering men on this planet reached such a point I think I became slightly insane.

Turning to my friend, I said, 'You know what we should do? We should just airlift all the women and children out of Afghanistan and leave that fucking country to implode. Build a virtual wall around it and let it die. Countries that treat their women like this don't get to have us. When you're a barbarian, raping, killing and torturing women like animals, you don't get to have mothers, sisters, or children! Afghanistan, Sudan, Darfur, Rwanda, wherever. You don't get to have women in your country when you kill them!'

When a country is on the edge of collapse, when infrastructure has been destroyed, when the effort to have an educated and modern society has failed, when it's clear that the crazies have taken control - don't we have an obligation to save those who are being oppressed by giving them an avenue for escape? Why trap these women there? Yes, yes, yes. It's their home. But their home is literally killing them.

I won't pretend that a gender-based diaspora is a viable foreign policy solution.
Nor is it very politically correct.
I'm also positive that there's a huge whiff of western imperialism inherent in the idea.

But as a woman - as a woman who sees her global sisters being massacred by MEN - I can't help but feel desperate anger. During slavery, we had the Underground Railroad. Abolitionists saved slaves by getting them away from the plantations. They didn't wait until the slave-owner miraculously changed their mind. Today, we are seeing a global crisis of violence against women - don't women require a similar and yet extraordinary rescue effort?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

a weirdly abrupt post on having a will of my own

A couple of weekends ago, M- and I had just escaped a horrendous hippie party and were in the mood for acoustic guitar-free pitchers of beer at one of my favorite dives in Old Town.  I hadn't had a loong night like that in ages; it felt really good to become one of an anonymous crowd.  But there was a brief exchange that stuck in my head.

We found ourselves sharing stories about When We Were Single and What We Were Looking For. The most recent example I'd had of being a wacky single was, of course, my liaison with LTF (aka, B-; aka, IncognitoLatino.) I didn't dwell on the details but said that while I was thrilled I was no longer connected to him, I could understand why some people make the wrong relationship choices they do.

Like a knight on a horse, M- comes to my own defense.
'Your mom died, babe. You weren't really in the right place.'
'I know. But that's not really the whole thing ...'
'You were all messed up.'

He was right. When I met LTF/B-/IncognitoLatino back in 2002, I was all messed up.
But my mother's death and my grief don't really account for the years 2006-2009. 

I had will and I exercised it.
I chose that situation with him. It was my decision to be there and experience LTF/B-'s bizarro world with him.  Sure. The foundation of my choice was boredom and a faint (very faint) curiosity, but it was still my choice.  If I'm going to own ending our liaison, I must also own staying in it for 7 years.  As much of a freak B- was, he didn't kidnap me, lure me or seduce me into making the weekly train ride to his shabby apartment in Uptown.

He wasn't a Svengali molding my vulnerable mind to his own nefarious or perverted ends. (In fact, if you cornered him in the dank corners of El Gato Negro, his version of the story paints me a manipulative bitch who ruined his life and crushed his soul. Potato, potahto.)

Most people don't recognize that women have will, I think.  (Don't misunderstand me; I am not making the argument that all women choose their individual situations - especially the bad situations - and that they are the masters of their own exploitation. I was not exploited or abused; I merely endured an emotionally unsatisfying affair with someone I didn't really care for that much.) I'm saying that, like men, women have agency. We make decisions; we make choices. I was not an object acted against; I was a subject.

It seems I'm too over-determined about this, but I think it's an important point to make about women in general and me, in particular.

Friday, July 23, 2010

i don't want to be your sacrificial lamb

This needs to be quoted in full: Shirley Sherrod’s victory: A teachable moment on talking race Race-Talk

But for now, I'll just leave you with this:

I watched David Gergen, whom I admire, talk yesterday about Ms. Sherrod’s “ascendant quality,” about her ability to rise above the legitimate racial pains of her past to help this white farmer. And then ironically my morning meditation was on Ephesians 4:8-9, a passage about Christ’s ascension and freeing of the captives. So it dawns on me: Americans want Black women to be Jesus. We are to be spit upon, mocked, discredited, and crucified, but at the end we are to forgive and remain gracious. As a strategy of personal living and transformation, that’s fine, but no one should have to be Jesus to do their job effectively.

...But I think those folks who think that eliminating racism starts with eliminating “race” are just plain wrong.

In fact, we’re trying that strategy now, and what it has led to is a vacuous rhetoric of colorblindness and racial transcendence, all the while hard-working Black women can lose their jobs on a whim, immigrants who’ve been working hard and shoring up the service economy in this country for decades are being deported, and young Black men and women continue to be murdered by the police. Deciding that “whiteness” and “blackness” shouldn’t matter when they clearly do matter is not the solution.
[bold emphasis mine]

Read the whole thing.
Hey. How about that instant design update? Huh?

summer hiatus

Clearly, my summer posting has been light.
Not that there hasn't been stuff to talk about (say, oh, the Shirley Sherrod 'accidental' firing) but I've been swamped. M-, work, life, finances, and then all of the summer lazing around - I've had other things on my plate.

But here's a list of things I wish I could write about if I had the time:
More about this 'rip off the mask' stage of the relationship
Being the object of a 'girl crush'
The quest for my professional sweet spot
More on my dissatisfaction with the human services business model (would I recommend anyone go into non profit work at this time, in Illinois? Hell, no.)
Why losing weight during the hottest summer on record is not happening

So until my life slows down or I can carve some time away from sitting in front of an oscillating fan, drinking sangria, Screed will be a little thin this summer.  If you want to see what's going on with me and M-, follow me on Twitter @DeliaC.  If you want your daily dose of political/cultural mini-screeds, Twitter me @DeliaChristina.

Hope your summers are awesome.

Monday, July 05, 2010

10 reasons to love the 4th of July:

1. It means 2 short work weeks and everyone is firmly in 'vacation' mode.
2. It's an excuse to drink excessively, eat to oblivion and pass out on a blanket - just like when you were 9 years old.
3. Everyone has left town and you can finally get a seat on the bus.
4. You immediately remember which of your friends have rooftop decks.
5. Everyone loves illegal fireworks!
6. You can finally eat ALL the barbecue and sausages you want!
7. You can unveil your unseemly love for Souza and The Battle Hymn of the Republic (which you remember uncannily.)
8. Did I mention rooftop decks, already?
9. Airconditioning becomes a reason to love being an American.
10. It is the only holiday that really feels like summer.