Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

Coalition of feminists condemn ‘massacre’ in Gaza, urge support for BDS

 on August 6, 2014
Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel's recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)Supporters of Palestine chant during a rally in Sydney against Israel’s recent attacks on Gaza. (Photo: Getty Images/Lisa Maree Williams)

Editor’s note: The following statement in solidarity with Gaza comes from Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists.

Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feministsinvolved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.

As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.

The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools.  We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis- for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance.  Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children.  There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.

We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.

We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”

Signatories:

Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University

Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Linda Carty, Syracuse University

Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker

Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz

Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer

Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising

G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College

Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College

bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer

Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation

Mona Khalidi, Columbia University

Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University

Nancy Kricorian, Writer

Amina Mama, University of California, Davis

Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US

Dana Olwan, Syracuse University

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Alice Walker, Writer and Activist

5 August 2014

#KenyaAHB: Kenya Be Joking!

No, seriously. Kenya is kidding around. And I’m not even laughing.

“Draft bill proposes harsh penalties against gays – Daily Nation”

Like seriously. They want to beat up and jail homosexuals for loving each other.

For real.

(c) Daily Nation

I’m sorry, but I’m not getting it.

What for?

Ati to save the family? Huh? What family? With such high divorce rates, what family are you saving? Do straight people REALLY make better parents?

And what about the high HIV prevalence rates amongst men who have sex with men???

What about Uhuru Kenyatta’s promise back in July to ensure the sustainability of the AIDS response in Kenya?

What about other issues?

  • Our youth don’t have jobs
  • Our parliament is always squabbling
  • The county reps are never in agreement
  • We are being led by perpetrators of PEV
  • Ngong road still doesn’t look like Thika Super Highway (yep, I’m kinda selfish here!)

SERIOUSLY?? Kenya, stop kidding around here.

If you want to see more Kenyans dying, endeleeni vivyo hivo!!

I’m done!

Pretty Hurts! On Skin Whitening and Boob Jobs

Mama said, “You’re a pretty girl.
What’s in your head, it doesn’t matter
Brush your hair, fix your teeth.
What you wear is all that matters.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Blonder hair, flat chest
TV says, “Bigger is better.”
South beach, sugar free
Vogue says, “Thinner is better.”

Just another stage, pageant the pain away
This time I’m gonna take the crown
Without falling down, down, down

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts (pretty hurts)
Pretty hurts (pretty hurts), we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

Ain’t got no doctor or pill that can take the pain away
The pain’s inside and nobody frees you from your body
It’s the soul, it’s the soul that needs surgery
It’s my soul that needs surgery
Plastic smiles and denial can only take you so far
Then you break when the fake facade leaves you in the dark
You left with shattered mirrors and the shards of a beautiful past

Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst (pretty hurts)
Perfection is a disease of a nation, pretty hurts, pretty hurts
Pretty hurts, we shine the light on whatever’s worst
We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery

When you’re alone all by yourself (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
And you’re lying in your bed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Reflection stares right into you (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

You stripped away the masquerade (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
The illusion has been shed (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)
Are you happy with yourself? (pretty hurts, pretty hurts)

Yes
Uh huh huh

Beyonce – Pretty Hurts

Chimamanda QuoteI’ve been listening to this song for a while now. And I can’t help but think about the words and how true they are. They remind me of the time people were saying Beyonce isn’t a feminist. I mean, look at her song “I woke up like this” that includes words and voice from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! Isn’t that kinda feminist? But I digress.

I’ve also been thinking of Vera Sidika. And all the work she’s doing to her body. First she went and did something to her butt and hips. I remember her clearly from way way back in the day. We were Facebook friends and I really thought she was a pretty girl. Slim and pretty. Then she disappeared from Facebook and a few years later poop! She’s out there looking all faboo and voluptuous. Sheeiish!

I keep asking myself “to what end?” So she will whiten her skin, (by the way there is no difference between skin whitening, skin lightening and skin bleaching…I read!), do her boobs, then what? She’ll transplant ‘human hair’ to her scalp???

Look, I mean no judgement here. I say this because I myself ain’t ‘natural’ whatever that means. Currently I have a human hair weave. Long like those Indians! I put on modest make up mostly to cover skin blemishes. I don’t do too much eye makeup and use clear mascara since my eyes are sensitive and the black mascara affects my contact lenses.

The point of saying all this is to admit that no one is perfect. And the idea is that what really is perfection

Personally I have what people call “rangi ya thao”. That light skin that (apparently) men love and women desire. That colour of money. That colour that says you can get whatever you want in life without hustling too much. Well… yes, I have that skin colour. Do I hate it? No. Do I particularly like it? Well, it isn’t for me to say.

I sometimes feel like I am pressured to act a certain way because of my skin colour. Furthermore, because I have a slightly deeper understanding of the underlying stigma that dark skinned girls face (maybe more in the US than here in Kenya/Africa but who knows) I sometimes feel a little guilty. My bestie is a dark skinned girl. We are close and we have a lot of fun together. We are so different but we complement each other. There are those who like her the way she is and there are those who like me the way she is. But I can’t help wonder in my head what people think. I’ve head sometimes that apparently light skinned girls like hanging out with dark skinned girls so that they can get all the attention from men. I’ve also heard that dark skinned girls like hanging out with light skinned girls so that they can get men easily – like the left overs (oops!).

I don’t like my boobs. I think they’re tiny and wish I had like a perfect C. Hmm… perfection. That word. I dread. What is perfection? What will life be like if everything was perfect? My boobs are a small B. I have to wear padded bras for me to feel comfortable enough to go out in public. I remember rejoicing when I saw Lupita Nyong’o in her white bikini and with her teeny tiny boobs. I was like “yay! There’s hope for me after all!” It gave me the courage to go out and buy a black bikini for myself. I don’t like bikinis. It means I have to show off my big bright birth mark, (yes, there’s a big lighter patch of skin across from my belly all the way to my back to the left), and expose my tummy.

Self esteem. It eludes us all. Even the most strongest of us.

That’s it. I wanted to share a little of what’s on my mind. After seeing Vera do her boob job and whiten her skin, all I could think was … well, if only I could afford my own boob job :-)

Live and let live people. Penda Maisha!

#WhyKenyanMenCheat: A Response To That #NjokiChege Article

I assume you’ve already read Njoki Chege‘s article: LADIES: It’s all your fault that he is CHEATING!

I said I would do a feminist response to the article and here it is.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. I will ramble but I will make some sense :-)

So the gist of the article is that it is the woman’s fault that her man is cheating on her. Her arguments are simple:

  • You are fat
  • You are an idle nag
  • You have no sense of fashion
  • You are lazy and boring in bed

I think she made some sort of sense here by the way. The above are some of the reasons men will cheat, definitely. Why? Because men are visual creatures. Men consider dating a woman on two levels: 80% looks, 20% character. As for women the converse applies.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t so for ALL men and ALL women; the range varies like the rainbow.

BUT, I believe that if a man wants to cheat, HE WILL CHEAT. You could be ‘Vera Sidika’ or ‘Halle Berry’ and you will still be cheated on. So Njoki’s points only apply to but a few women and not all and most likely not for the above reasons. If someone like Jennifer Lopez could be cheated on, what makes you so special?

I feel that blaming women wholly as the reason why their men cheat is plain wrong. I still believe that reasons for cheating vary. I hate that she solely pointed out that women are the reason.

Women, don’t be fooled. BE YOU. Everyone else is taken. Don’t try copy pasting someone else’s ideas and livelihoods.

If you’re a curvy girl, EMBRACE YOU.

If you love talking, SPEAK YOUR HEART.

If you would care less about appearances, DRESS SENSIBLY.

If you feel insecure in bed, WORK ON IT.

Basically, I still hold on to the philosophy that how you dress says a lot about who you are. Your fashion sense says something about you. I repeat, men are visual. So they WILL look at how you’re dress and make judgements about you. I’m not telling you to dress FOR men, I am saying, DRESS FOR YOURSELF. Never dress for anyone else but yourself. No matter your body shape, dress like you’re gonna die that evening!

Love talking? Speak girl! Speak your mind. Don’t hold back just because he says you’re nagging. Don’t nag either; talk calmly and be clear. Be assertive. Personally, I have discovered that sometimes when I want to put a point across I appear as if I am angry and shouting. I am learning to shift that. But it doesn’t mean I will stop speaking my mind. It only means I am not perfect.

Sex is a gift from the maker. It is beautiful. It is even more glorious when it is shared with someone you love. Girl, if you love that man and you are sure he loves you back in equal measure (if not more!) then let go of all your inhibitions. Relax and let him devour you. Give him your all and take him up as he is. Don’t do anything you’re not comfortable with though. Don’t let him take full control. Be yourself.

And that’s it folks. I am done. Appreciate your comments :-)

#StandWithMalala #BlogActionDay #MalalaDay

Each year, Blog Action Day provides an opportunity for people around the world to join a global discussion about an important issue. From human rights to poverty and the environment, writers from over 130 countries bring that issue to a massive global stage.

Today there’s another moment happening, focusing attention on a global issue – and we wanted you to have the opportunity to be a part of it: Malala Day.

Stand with Malala

Malala Day celebrates the birthday of Malala Yousafzai, the girl who was shot for bravely defying the Taliban and attending school. This year, she has traveled to Nigeria to see the plight of girls, like her, in great danger for simply going to school.

Malala wants to use Malala Day this year to ask everyone to raise their voices to say: we are #strongerthan those who use fear, intimidation and violence to stand in the way of every girl and boy’s basic right to an education.

Raise your voices. Do not be afraid. Do not fret. Speak up. Speak up against injustices. Against discrimination. Stand up for equality!

Malala is in Nigeria for Malala Day and she and the girls she has met with are asking us to support their call to protect every girl and boys’ right to an education. Here’s how you can help.

1. Sign your name with Malala and the Nigerian School girls
and let Malala, the Nigerian girls and the 66 million girls out of school know that you will stand with them until every girl can safely go to school. They are not alone.

2. Give to the Malala Fund and support the organizations that Malala Supports.
The Malala Fund empowers girls through education to achieve their potential and be agents of positive change in their communities. Working in Nigeria, Pakistan, Kenya and Jordan, the Fund joins with local partners to invest in innovative solutions, advocate for quality education and amplify the voices of girls to demand change. Show your support now.

3. Share your own #StrongerThan message on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Join with thousands of others who are celebrating the strength of all girls and let the world know that we are #StrongerThan poverty, oppression, violence and fear. Together, we will prevail and achieve education for all.