i saw a post earlier in the day and i can’t find it now—i didn’t comment on it then cuz i just didn’t have the energy, i don’t really have it now, but i’ve been thinking about it all day. (found it: http://oppressionisyucky.tumblr.com/post/35781573478/how-to-criticize-israel-without-being-anti-semitic)
it was basically a post about how to talk about jewish people in light of the attacks on palestine.
i wish i could find it because i want to address specific points, but who am i kidding, i’m fucking wore out to the bone, it took a lot of energy to even think about this all day.
so i’m only going to say this. that whole post rubbed me the wrong damn way. there are fucking *babies* being killed in palestine right now, after years and years and YEARS of babies being starved, murdered, kicked out of housing, etc etc etc—palestine is an *occupied land*. the United Nations, which is not a fucking liberal much less progressive space, says the palestinians are among the most violated people on EARTH. the very first “moment” that I organized around palestine included the israeli’s shutting down every single fucking exit/entrance into/out of palestine, literally sealing people into a miniscule area AND THEN REFUSING TO SEND FOOD OR MEDICAL SUPPLIES. AND THEN BOMBING THEM.
finally, palestinians blew up one of the sealed fences and people were able to escape into egypt to get supplies. this is NOT some sort of equal footing conversation where everybody is equally violated. Palestinians are being starved, tortured, falsely imprisoned, violated on every level, and are currently being bombed.
why on EARTH is there an entire post centering jewish people while this fucking HORROR is happening? yes—violence against jewish people is real, and goddamn it is fucking sick that there is intensified violence against jewish people over this shit that they have no control over. BUT. what on EARTH do people think has been happening to palestinian people all this time???? how many jewish people are sitting in Gitmo right now? How many jewish people were expected to register post-911?
The level of power imbalance here is *astronomical*. and no, i don’t think for a minute that people should be running around slophing off anti-semetic shit.
but as a *colonized occupied people* are being terrorized AS WE SPEAK—I have an ExTREMELY hard time feeling like it’s ok to center the voices and needs of people who AREN’T being bombed and terrorized.
Yeah, I disagree.
The level of power imbalance exists, the suffering of the Palestinian people at this moment in time is far, far greater than the suffering of the Jewish people — and we still should be making every effort to avoid antisemitism when we talk about Israel and the Jewish people.
You summarize that post as “basically a post on how to talk about Jewish people in light of the attacks on Palestine”.
First of all, that makes it sound like the author wrote it with the express purpose of scolding all the activists who are watching the horror unfold in Gaza right now, to “center” the Jewish people as the real subjects of any discussion about Israel and Palestine. In fact, she wrote it weeks ago before this current violence started, and its been circulating on my dash for a while. Second, it was not a post about how to talk about Jewish people in light of atrocities occurring in Palestine — it was a post about how to talk about Jewish people. Period.
What’s so wrong about that?
Absolutely nothing about the post suggested that you should not criticize Israel for the illegal occupation of Palestine, or its inhumane treatment of its hostage populations.
Absolutely nothing about this post suggested that the author believes that the Israelis and the Palestinians are on “equal footing”, and that each mention of Israeli wrong-doing must induce an obligatory reference to antisemitic acts, so as to appear fair and balanced.
Can we move away from the idea that any appeal to placate the “more privileged” is inherently oppressive to the “less privileged”, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? This is not a zero-sum game. Taking the time to ensure that we treat the Jewish people with respect does not weaken the strength of our opposition to the Palestinian Occupation, does not take energy away from the movement for Palestinian Liberation or the end to Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the West Bank.
Why commit more violence with our words, when we try to express our opposition to violence? Who does that help?
1. i never said anti-semitism was ok, i said specifically in two places that it was not.
2. i didn’t know that this has been circulating for a while, thank you for pointing that out.
3. this is NOT a discussion about “privilege”—this is a discussion about *colonialism, occupation, violence, etc*. and as such—when this type of post exists within the context of constant propaganda out of Israel, the absolute ironclad narrative in the US that Palestinians and israelis exist on “even playing fields,” the fact that the IDF is all over social media and I have *social justice type people* reblogging/tweeting it talking about how “just because the Israelis do X doesn’t mean that rocket bombing is a proper response” etc—i feel that it absolutely is appropriate and necessary to ask what *Palestinians* need right now. and to wonder why discussions on occupation and violence are dominated by 19 point talking points on how to more appropriately refer to people who are (however laboriously) connected to the people committing the violence.
i am NOT talking about “should we or shouldn’t we be nice to people with privilege”—i AM talking about narratives and who is centered and valued in those narratives and i am STRONGLY suggesting that people in the US *especially* are trained to NOT HEAR the voices of those being murdered, destroyed, and actively violated because those people are *terrorists* and *suicide bombers* and *fanatics* and *islamic jihadists*—and THOSE names come with an entire media narrative of images wrapped around them that promotes people in the US being afraid of them and thus, incapable of imaging that a mother would be devastated that her child is killed in a bombing.
Posts tagged has thoughts no brainspace
Just saw something on my dash citing how Asians don’t have privilege because Asian-Americans are “perpetual foreigners”.
Well, you know, it might be a tad more privileged to be treated as “a foreigner” than treated as “a perpetual menace.” And it also depends on what kind of foreigner, yes? Because sometimes, “foreigner” and “perpetual menace” do overlap. Black Americans might as well be foreigners for all the shit they get. Some Asians have more privilege than other Asians, depending on where you’re coming from, buying power and cultural capital.
Since East Asians are more likely to have buying power and cultural capital (and I’d argue that ABCs and >2nd-gen As-Ams have that accumulated capital of knowing American culture more in-depth—look, I know it’s not much but it’s still something), it stands to reason that East Asians would have privilege in comparison to some other minority groups, like Black Americans, SEAsians, darker-skinned Arab-Ams.
Granted, East Asians would never have passing privilege the same way light-skinned Black Americans and Arab Americans could (unless they’re a mixie), but privilege is more than just how people react to you.
I dunno. I’m a foreigner to this strange and arcane land and the dialogue I see going on is very disturbing re: disagreements on how privilege plays out. Having some privilege doesn’t mean you’re shielded against violence; having some privilege as an Asian doesn’t mean jack shit in the face of white privilege so why do some As-Ams act like the word “privilege” automatically implies a shield against the oppressions that Asians will and do face? That’s a bit like willful white folk getting all “BUT I’M POOR AND ERRBODY TREATS ME LIKE CRAP SO I CAN’T HAVE PRIVILEGE” well you know having privilege doesn’t necessarily mean people are nice to your face all the time.
It seems most kinds of discourse surrounding trying to conceptualize “beyond black and white” somehow plays into “trying to distance from blackness” and it’s been very frustrating trying to find a way to talk about the specific ways anti-Asianness plays out that are separate from how Black Americans experience oppression (because they can be different, and it seems a disservice to lump us all together, since sometimes it almost looks like As-Ams then expect Black people to take care of our ish for us, or at least look to Black Americans like they got all the answers, which isn’t fair either) without sounding anti-Black. (The other part of this is perhaps to think about the resistance some Asian Americans exhibit towards the idea / implication that all anti-Asian oppression stems from anti-Blackness, foreclosing a conversation on how anti-Asianness also stems from white supremacy just hatin’ on everybody. Doesn’t matter that nobody actually said it; still reads that way to some of us; it just tells me we need a better language to talk about it.) The only kind of time I’ve ever seen it move away is when there are no more fucks given re: technicalities because everyone in the conversation knows each other and knows what pages we’re all on.
(I also want to think through this idea of ‘degree’ of suffering which I’ve seen brought up when bringing in one group’s discourse into a conversation about another group because that cuts so close to Oppression Olympics. It’s usually something I see in U.S.-centric discussions, though. Anyway, it makes me uncomfortable. I get why it’s brought up—some groups do need immediate attention versus others—but it also feels like “I got no time for this part of the conversation because it’s not as important!!!” and, sigh, maybe someone else would like to have that conversation?—I can’t converse, just listen—which is why I appreciate people like biyuti who leave themselves open for dialogue. The sad thing of course is that the majority of people to whom this is said to just want validation, which they aren’t getting, and for some reason when people aren’t validated their next step is to… try even harder for it?)
Anyway. Some thinky thoughts before I mosey into workshop mode for the rest of the day.
I just want to say though that poop and pee is actually quite good for raising very big cabbages.
I don’t think this is special enough for its own post but I just didn’t want to derail from the original context, which is awesome and made me die laffing halfway through from glaring cabbages before I could carry on.
I mean, by itself, poop, particularly human poop, has a ton of pathogens and is not healthy, but if you swill it with dry composting stuff like sawdust a couple of times, it removes the pathogens and becomes pretty darn good fertilizer.
Problem is of course how to get dry composing material like saw dust and that much paper to properly keep down the smell. Not really good in urban areas.
But imagine if we COULD integrate our plumbing systems into a composting system that contributes to community gardens within an apartment complex itself.
bell hooks (via queeraspie)
No disrespect to bell hooks! And her point—that a society that promotes and supports one human relationship is a society that alienates and excludes many human relationships—is absolutely right.
But I don’t agree with the argument that marriage inequality is a limited problem. Class-privileged people are less likely to need formal access through partnership: they are more likely to have security as individuals. They are more likely to have access to legal help and social support when their status is ambiguous and their rights are violated. They’re somewhat less likely to wind up on the wrong side of an evil law in the first place.
Marriage equality affects people with disabilities, who may not have the right to decide whose household they share. Marriage equality affects undocumented people, because their undocumented partnerships cross borders. Marriage equality affects veterans, who sometimes leave widows and widowers. It affects anyone who has ever paid into social security. It affects many people who have raised children. It affects those children.
Marriage equality is a narrow vision that does play into a set of expectations about proper gay life (and proper social concerns). The public face of the married gay does depend on placating bigotry. The marriages advertised are upscale marriages. (You don’t hear many marriage equality supporters talking about deportation.) But unequal marriage supports a whole host of very dangerous and very immediate acts of discrimination against all kinds of queer people. And although that discrimination breaks along state-sponsored lines of capital and status, its effects are not restricted to otherwise privileged gay people.
And although bell hooks knows what she’s talking about, I get a little uncomfortable when I see marriage defined as a luxury—a rider, a premium plan, a formality. That argument is very frequently used by straight homophobes seeking to restrict the franchise to themselves and disrupt queer households. After all, if the gays want to be legally involved so much, they can always hire a lawyer to mock up a rough approximation of marriage with living wills and such.
This is what I was trying to say and failed so badly.
Marriage as a state institution does address these problems, and I think that’s why it’s so problematic. It’s a double-bind: the state needs to recognize that you’re sharing a household; it’ll only do it if you become part of this institution that, historically, is extended only to a certain set of people who fulfill certain requirements. I can see this is where the fight for marriage equality comes in, and yes, it’s privileged of me to say that I don’t need this institution, but I think the institution does need a lot of transformation in order to be able to enable folks to take care of each other without so much state interference telling them, no, you can’t do this, you don’t have the right papers.
I think marriage in general is not a healthy institution in our society. If people want civil rights, then that’s what I feel we should be fighting for. Couples, people who are each other’s kin or primary intimacies, a friend who takes care of a friend for 30 years in the same household—all should have basic civil rights. To bring that whole movement for social justice under the rubric of ‘gay marriage’ seems to me just to reinforce patriarchal notions of who is worthy of care and support. It also lets down the gay people who don’t want to be married.
The movement for gay marriage has had a strong push among very class-privileged people, because they are the people with trusts and with property and with health care. If you’re gay, black, poor and you don’t have any access to insurance, the question of whether your partner can be included on your insurance is not just relevant to the health needs of your life. What would be more relevant is national health care!
TW: mentions of suicide; An open letter to those that are thinking about committing suicide.
See, I understand this.
And I ask people to read this with caution because it’s kind of rage inducing.
As a person that’s tried to commit suicide and recently do you not think people know this? And I’m sorry if anyone has lost someone to suicide close or otherwise. But do you know what?
A lot of times healthcare doesn’t work for people that look like me and have the problems that I do. And a lot of time healthcare isn’t there for the poor so they can’t get the help they need. Or a lot of times people just can’t. Maybe all the resources are there but they cannot.
I do not think suicide is good, of course. But the fact that we want to save people so badly without understanding that maybe something is so fucking painful that it’s impossible to stick it out is a reflection of us too.
And the tone of this, fuck. Selfish? Maybe people think you’re better off without us. Saying the act is selfish and one of the most selfish things you can do is an incredibly selfish move. How do you know that nothing is bad enough that we can’t stick it through? Not everyone processes things the way you do and not everyone is going to.
Do you not think this adds to even more embarrassment and shame? This doesn’t do anything to help.
TRIGGER WARNING FOR DISCUSSION OF SUICIDE
You know what I’m tired of?
NOTES. LIKE. THIS. You know what? I’m sorry what happened to your sister, but:
- I am not your sister. You don’t know me. I don’t know you.
- Fuck you for shaming me or anyone else who has dealt with being suicidal.
- Fuck you if someone read this note and decided not to make a legitimate, personal decision about THEIR OWN LIVES.
- I AM NOT SELFISH FOR WANTING TO CONTROL THE PARAMETERS OF MY OWN LIFE, INCLUDING WHEN IT WILL END, HOW IT WILL END, WHERE IT WILL END, ETC ETC. THIS IS MY LIFE. MINE. I KNOW THE SHIT I HAVE GONE THROUGH AND I KNOW THAT I HAVE THE RIGHT TO END MY LIFE IF IT EVER CAME TO THAT. And it has come to that, more than once. I chose to live for me. Not for my family, not for my friends, not for people like you, and not for anyone else on the face of the Earth. When I wanted die, I didn’t care about any of them. Not a single person. I would’ve given up seeing my mother’s face one final time if it meant that I could stop hurting.
- And you know what? What about your sister? Everything in this post is about you and yours and their life and their emotions, but what about your sister? Everyone always fucking demonizes and romanticizes the person who died, but does anyone take out the time to figure out why it happened? How is the suicidal person the selfish one? Because they thought for themselves? Because they made the decision to do what they wanted?
- SUICIDE IS NOT AN ILLNESS, IT’S AN ACT. DEPRESSION IS AN ILLNESS. And not every person who commits suicide is depressed, by the way.
strikematchlightfiyah— i love this! thank you! so. fucking. much.
you are absolutely right.
(but i don’t think everyone identifies their depression as an illness or disorder— i don’t, necessarily—)
and to riotrhythms— i don’t think it’s an “of course” to think that “suicide is not good”. like. i don’t think suicide is bad or good. i think it is a valid act to choose. the right to live includes the right to die.
i also don’t think selfishness is inherently good or bad.
i really am so fucking tired of the posts that try to combat the kind of ableism that suicidal beings face but end up reiterating the ableism again and again. “of course suicide isn’t good…” “i don’t condone suicide but…” (i think nimself said that at one point. i thought about reblogging that post and trying to comment, but i just couldn’t). like what the fuck. you don’t condone suicide? you don’t condone it if i choose to end my life? so, what, are you going to write me off as some evil horrible tyrannical asshole who decided to end their life? how is this anything but so. fucking. ableist?!!
i used to buy into this shit. i used to try to talk other people out of suicide, hypocritically enough. i used whatever relative privilege i had— and the privilege i had before i became so chronically suicidal— to shame suicidal people. and i wish i hadn’t. i wish that i had offered help only if wanted and in better ways, i wish that i could have internalized something different— so i’m working on that now, this isn’t to excuse what i have done, but it does feel like some really fucked up irony a lot of the time. it shouldn’t have to be about me before it starts hurting.
I think the fear of suicide is a combination of things. It’s a fear of death. It’s also a fear of life. Of knowing that things can get THAT bad that suicide would be the answer. Seeing suicidal people is an unpleasant reminder of this fact: that we live in a horrible world that doesn’t care, that continually sets systems up to make people fail, and grind in that failure. That yes, it is entirely possible life can get that hopeless. We’re not exactly taught how to cope with this; we don’t have systems that are set up to take care of this. We assume things will work out. I assumed things will work out. It doesn’t always.
I had to go through a suicide intervention course before I understood that it’s not the act of suicide that should take center stage, but the reasons behind them. I still have knee-jerk “don’t kill yourself!” reactions from a lifetime of listening to a condemnation of suicide (even having been suicidal myself).
And it’s so true how systems are set up to control life, and somehow or another, death has to be controlled too. It’s just so disempowering to take someone’s right to death away. So much time spent forcing people to live in these intolerable systems. So little time spent understanding how the intolerable conditions dri/ove them to suicide.
While at a meeting for a program for underreprestented students in graduate education another student asks me “what I am.” So I tell her I’m Irish, German, English and Puerto Rican. A girl eavesdropping next to me tells her friend loudly how she “hates when people say they have all these European backgrounds, like they think it makes them more White or something.” At a university event & made me feel isolated and newly aware of ignorance I thought people left behind in middle school.
Hillary Clinton gives green light for Israeli attack on Gaza flotilla - Ali Abunimah
In comments yesterday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemed to lay the ground – indeed almost provide a green light – for an Israeli military attack on the upcoming Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which will include the US Boat to Gaza.
Among the passengers aboard the American boat will be 87-year old Kindertransport survivor Hedy Epstein, and author and poet Alice Walker. In all it is expected that about 10 ships, carrying 1000 people from over 20 countries will take part.
Well, we do not believe that the flotilla is a necessary or useful effort to try to assist the people of Gaza. Just this week, the Israeli Government approved a significant commitment to housing in Gaza. There will be construction materials entering Gaza and we think that it’s not helpful for there to be flotillas that try to provoke actions by entering into Israeli waters and creating a situation in which the Israelis have the right to defend themselves.
Clinton must know that Gaza is not part of what any country recognizes as “sovereign” Israeli territory, and therefore neither are Gaza’s territorial waters. Any boats entering Gaza’s waters would not in fact be entering “Israeli waters” as Clinton claimed. Clinton also, presuming she is properly briefed rather than misled, must also know that last year Israel attacked the Gaza Freedom Flotilla when it was in international waters and GPS data showed that it was actually heading away from Israel.
By invoking Israel’s supposed “right to self-defense” against civilian boats trying to reach Gaza, we must understand that Clinton is telling Israel the United States will not stand in the way of another military attack.
And by citing Israel allowing construction materials into Gaza to make the case that the flotilla is “unnecessary” because “aid” can reach the Palestinian people in Gaza, Clinton is engaging in the ultimate obfuscation.
People in Gaza have been reduced to penury and rendered dependent on aid by decades of Israeli occupation, siege and military attacks. The issue is not the delivery of aid but freeing the people by lifting the siege. It is an abhorrent position to suggest – as Clinton seems to – that if people in Gaza receive enough calories or a few building supplies then we should not be concerned about Israel’s siege. The Palestinian people of Gaza are not caged animals for whom sufficient care consists of shoving rations through the bars of their prison.
Israel’s siege is intended as a form of collective punishment and has been declared illegal by the ICRC.
Israel, as The Electronic Intifada reported, is engaging in military drills to intercept this unarmed civilian flotilla. In light of Clinton’s statements, if any blood is spilled it will not only be on Israeli, but also American hands.
Prosecuting flotilla passengers under “material support” laws
Not content with tacitly encouraging Israeli violence, in another alarming development, the State Department has apparently threatened that Americans who board boats to Gaza could be jailed or fined for supporting terrorism. Haaretz reports:
The U.S. State Department said Friday that attempts to break the blockade are “irresponsible and provocative” and that Israel has well-established means of delivering assistance to the Palestinian residents of Gaza. It noted that the territory is run by the militant Hamas group, a U.S. designated foreign terrorist organization, and that Americans providing support to it are subject to fines and jail.
In effect, the US now seems to be defining any support for any Palestinians, including a besieged civilian population, as support for Hamas, and therefore support for “terrorism.”
This mirrors its use of such “material support” laws as a pretext to investigate and persecute Palestine solidarity, antiwar, and labor activists exercising their First Amendment rights at home.
Clinton’s remarks: emphasis is mine.