...and i have been avoiding it lately during this campaign because blogs all over the place have been screaming about these things for months. however, i have found that i miss it. there was also the inspiration of a particularly...unpleasant to me conversation that i had with one of my family members about the democratic presidential primary.

my dear aunt and i were discussing this historic moment where the choices were a man of color and a woman both hoping to run for president. both are historic, both are amazing and both make me so very excited to be able to participate in this election. What i have found disappointing in the extreme was how instead of rising above all of the incredible pain of this country's history (thank you Ani!) this entire discussion has devolved into the Oppression Olympics. Instead of examining their platforms and promises and honestly evaluating which candidate we would prefer based on their qualifications and acheivements, the vast majority of debates have been arguing over which is worse: sexism or racism.

I mainly stayed out of it until i talked with the aforementioned aunt, because i find them both to be reprehensible and that comparing them is pointless. they have different contexts, and have effected everyone differently. I have also avoided these discussions because they tend to exclude women of color completely, or they are called traitors if they vote for either because no matter what they are voting "against" one of their identities. bell hooks made a point once, in the context of critiquing 2nd wave feminism, that it was foolish to expect a person to choose between identities, that the identity politics of feminist movement had been that women=good and men=evil and had been entirely dictated by the experience of middle class white women. this does not make the perspectives of those middle class women invalid, only limited. it meant that movements and decisions and plans of action did not account for the intersectionality of being both a woman and/or a person of color and/or poor/working class and how these intersections will effect what actions actually have an impact on the status quo.

anyway, im rambling. back to the conversation with my aunt. she got very upset when i told her that i supported obama (despite the fact that clinton won my state's primary, but then again, obama ended up with more delegates.) She went on to say that she has always, because of her experiences with extreme sexism, voted for any woman on the ballot regardless of party affiliation or platform. her rationale is that since women have been so attrotiously foirced into a position of second class in this country, that its "our turn" and that a woman in office represents gains and opportunities for all women. she said she had always supported "the brown man"(direct quote) but that it was women's turn first. Please remeber, this aunt is one of the most accepting people i know, and the most liberal. this is why i was so shocked not only at this blatant (to me) racial polemic coming from her but with how she was completely oblivious to the racism of it.

this thought train and these discussions are the reason that i have this article and will proceed to tear it apart via commentary :) the article is in italics, my comments are in bold.

Clinton's female fans wonder what if — and when
cut because this entry is long enough already )

I guess at the end of it all the only thing that i may actually be satisfied with is a woman of color running for president, with a male-identified queer person as VP. that would be friggen awesome :)
Im thinking of taking a page from the lovely ladies at Feministing
and posting a reader on a semi weekly basis of articles that i find particularly relevant and worth a read. It will also help me keep track of articles and events that i want to discuss and write about.

so without further ado...
Dori's Current Events READER (also, any suggestions for a good title for this would be appreciated, as i seem to be completely lacking in creativity today)

Not So Good News First:

--Pentagon Drops Post in Pakistan for Top General: displays another example of our government not paying attention to the attitudes of other countries in regards to us. Essentially, they wanted to appoint Maj. Gen. Jay W. Hood as their senior military official in Pakistan despite his past of overseeing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and the anti American sentiment that has been fed by detainees who have been released from GTMO and have detailed their treatment there.

--On a related note, Bomber’s Final Messages Exhort Fighters Against U.S.: discusses the cases of released detainees to use their detention as a springboard for radicalism, possibly another good discussion about how we contribute to the very attitudes that our current leadership would like us to believe we are combating.

--A day late, but hopefully still worthwhile, I have a few articles on the 60 year anniversary of the founding of Israel, some opinions, an arab perspective and some discussions of racism in Israel and Israeli policy toward Israeli Arabs. As well as an article about health concerns with regards to childbirth in Gaza due to the Israeli blockades.

--Yes, Lebanon is going to hell in a handbasket.

--Iran Says April 12 Blast at Shiraz Mosque Was Terrorism: I included this because I was struck by the unacknowledged similarities between the statements and beliefs of our government and the Iranian government. It also leads to this, a review of a book discussing how "terrorism" evolves based on the structure of the nation-states that it opposes.

--This introduces the discussion of detaining illegal immigrants in the US and the lack of accountability for their treatment while in detention.

--I am firm in my position that a heavily militarized culture leads to not just a loss of life, but to further issues closer to home. Case in point: the Faces of the Dead, an interactive multimedia presentation of soldiers lost in these current conflicts, and the faces and cases of the War Torn, veterans who are not only victims but perpetrators, veterans who have committed or been charged with violent crimes after their tour(s) of duty.

--A man in Jordan was sentenced with 10 years in prison for stabbing his sister to death for the sake of "honor." He was originally sentenced to death, but was given ten years when his family dropped the charges against him. Before anyone jumps to the easy conclusion, about how horrible this is, let me point a few things out: 1. the fact that this went to trial at all is unusual and verging on miraculous, 2. the fact that he originally was sentenced to death was also incredibly radical even for Jordan, where "honor" killings are often considered justifiable homicide. No, this ruling does not go far enough, but for the region and for the crime, it goes farther than almost any other court ruling in the last 5 years. its progress, not happy progress but progress nonetheless.

On A Happier Note:

--The deportation trial of a Palestinian Imam is bringing together groups across boundaries in Newark.

--The Muslim Students Association, which used to be small secluded groups for strict male practitioners of Islam, have become more inclusive and open to the idea that different people will have their own interpretations of Islam. In the same vein, Imam Hassan Qazwini, who lives in america, has written hs own book about integrating Islam with being American.

--A book reveiw of ISLAMOPHOBIA: Making Muslims the Enemy by Peter Gottschalk and Gabriel Greenberg. The book discusses the presentation of Muslims through political cartoons and discusses the impact off these cartoons on public perspective of Muslims and Arabs.

--and the best for last! the first article tells the story of young muslim filmakers using youtube to change the face of Islam. The second is about a documentary set in norther Israel that focusses on a school for both Jewish and Arab children, where the classes are bilingual and the children know each other as people instead of enemies. gives me some hope!
This was posted in an anti-racism community that i frequent. The original article is rather long, and the more i read it the more shocked, angered and saddened i felt.

Critics Cost Muslim Educator Her Dream School

The basic gist is that this woman helped to start a school that was focussed on teaching Arabic, servicing the Arab-American population, and on global studies along with regular NY school district curriculum. She was thwarted by a bunch of xenophobic, hate mongering racist asses who used scare tactics and guilt by association to paint her as a Muslim extremist who would be teaching aspects of what they (who have very little applied knowledge on this subject) define as "radical Islam." Because she was unwilling to disavow her culture or her religion, she was demonized, hounded and eventually forced to resign. the school and the children attending it are still suffering and being subjected to ridiculous media attention and mishandling, as well as protestors. Thats right, protestors, at a middle school. Its beginning to remind me of pictures, video and editorials from the desegregation era.

i cannot be terribly eloquent at the moment as I am still reeling from the jack-assery that this woman was subjected to.

this cant be my country, these cant be people who are in any way reasonable, I do not recognize these people as my countrymen/women. To quote one of my favorite righteous babes: "These are not my laws, these are not my rules"




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