Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cruelty in Syria

Zainab Alhusni was only 18 years old when she was brutally dismembered and mutilated by Syrian security forces. She had left her home early last month to buy groceries and her family never again saw her alive. She was whisked away to coax the surrender of her activist brother, and ended up beheaded and dismembered, a neighbor, activists and human rights groups say. As said by CNN, reporter Her older brother, Mohammed, became a well-known activist in the family's hometown of Homs in western Syria, often leading the demonstrations against embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and treating the wounded. "Protesters would carry Mohammed on their shoulders so he could lead the chants," Fares said. "He was very loved by everyone. The protesters even had a chant they would say for him, using his nickname: 'Abu Ahmed, may Allah protect you!'"

Due to her bothers disobedient behavior in the eyes of the officials she was had the wrath taken out on her. In what way did she deserve such dehumanizing acts to occur to her. why was she the victim of a hate crime. They were demonstrating on her the things they hated about her brother and all who rose up against the government. Several days after Zainab disappeared, security forces called the family and offered to meet them in a pro-Assad neighborhood where they would trade Zainab for her activist brother. On September 10, the family says, Mohammed was wounded in a demonstration. He came back to his loved ones a corpse. The family believes he was tortured to death. The ferocious Syrian government crackdown against dissenters began in mid-March when anti-government protests unfolded. The number of people killed over the past six months has reached at least 2,700, according to the U.N. human rights office. Some activist groups put the toll at around 3,000.

Zainab dreamed of owning her own tailor shop, so she could support her impoverished family, he said. But she never had a chance to fulfill that dream. Authorities forced Zainab's mother to sign a document saying both her daughter and her son had been kidnapped and killed by an armed gang, Amnesty International said in an online statement. The acts being demonstrated to people of Syria is demonizing and barbaric and should not be tolerated, how could we sit back and watch as such horrid acts occur whether they be here or there it doesn't matter. I blog about instances as these because it infuriates me to know such evil is still acceptable. I understand somethings are apart of people traditions and who am I to say what they believe in but when you are removing the rights of the people and treating them as tools, and property to be treated as you wish I must not hold my tongue. As Waleed Fares, a neighbor and family friend of Zainab said, "The case of Zainab Alhusni is not just for our town, or province, or even for the country of Syria. It is a human rights issue that should bring the attention of the world."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

To Slut Walk, or not to Slut Walk?...That is the question.

My answer? I have no freaking clue. This is going to be a really honest, not based on anything but emotion/instinct, blog post.

Look, I've seen all of the dialogue about where the SlutWalk began, what it's become, what they're accomplishing, and what they could be doing better. But to be frank, I still don't know if I am personally all that comfortable with it. I love that feminism is catching on again, but I sometimes feel like you've got to be hip to enter some feminists spaces today...and I'm just not all that hip.

Exhibit A:

"We can't fight the patriarchy if we're busy fighting each other." So true. And I am not one to constantly "police" the spaces that I'm in...but I'm also not one who has the energy to "insert myself" into feminist spaces because of the invisibility/silencing of my various social identities. There's something off about the SlutWalks to me, something feels disingenuous...I really can't put my finger on it.

How do you feel about SlutWalks?

The SlutWalk in NYC is happening on October 1st, and I encourage you all to check it out and decide for yourselves.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dark Girls: A Preview

I came across a really powerful preview to a film called "Dark Girls" that looks at issues around skin color, specifically darker skin tones, in the black community.

Dark Girls: Preview from Bradinn French on Vimeo.

 The film seems to take a multidimensional approach to understanding why people feel the way they do about dark skin, using examples from popular culture, psychology studies, personal testimonies of internalized, intra/interpersonal, institutional and ideological oppressions, and others.

Please share with people you think would be interested because I feel that this film has the potential to have a strong impact on its viewers!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Burning Nanny

Shweyga Mullah worked as a nanny for two of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's grandchildren. When she couldn't keep one from crying, Aline, the wife of Gadhafi's son Hannibal, poured boiling water on her head. When Mullah was found her attacker and husband had fled the scene and she was left with bruises, scars and much patchwork to be done. Even though the burns were inflicted three months ago, she was still in considerable pain. The wounds and pain she feel can never be erased, but she rejoices at the fact that she is loved by god and have been blessed to have people support and help her. The Libyan health Minister, Naji Barakat stated "I think it's a crime against humanity," which indeed is true, this is absolutely disrespectful, immoral and completely degrading to any human to disregard them in such a way. She is only human and she cannot control the emotion of a child at all times. Sometimes children cry and if you cannot stop it does it mean we go around burning those who help us when we are in need. This act of dehumanization completely aggravates me and I refuse to see this SURVIVOR not see JUSTICE.

This was not only a horrific act to put someone through, but as well not the only time that this Aline had portrayed such hateful behavior towards servant of the Gadhafi household. As said by CNN, A man too frightened to reveal his name led CNN reporters to another one of Hannibal Gadhafi's properties, a gated, high-walled villa-like house, where the man said more abuse was meted out to staffers. This masked man stated, "Shweyga is not the only one," describing a Sudanese man who was also scalded with water after he burned an undershirt he was ironing, "Foreign staffers bore the brunt of the abuse." Another woman describes basically a prison cell that she had stayed in as a care giver to the family. This behavior is a form of discrimination, hatred, racism, and enslavement. These people were not given proper meals, dormitory or respect and that is the worst thing you can do is disrespect someone. I feel the most sympathetic to all these beings and wish nothing more than happiness for all of them.

Back at the burn hospital, Mullah faces months of recuperation and surgery. Her story generated enormous public response. So far, people have donated more than $16,000 dollars for her care. CNN is making sure that she receives proper care to be eligible to return home to her family. This relates primarily to the Women's Center because not only is it an act of violence against a woman, but against multiple workers because of their race and against servants in general because of the stigma attached to how people treat lower level classed workers. As an activist and advocate for the Women's Center this relates extremely to our mission of advocating for a violence, harassment free environment, as well creating an anti-racist, non-sexist queer-affirmative space for all to feel free, but I cannot ever truly feel free knowing in the world such acts are still occurring. I pray that all the places in the world like us fight as diligently to stop these acts.

Friday, September 2, 2011

"Spirit Day" of Action!

Let's wear purple again for Spirit Day on October 20th, but this year let's take it a step further!

In response to last year’s high profile anti-LGBTQ-related suicides, thousands of people across the country wore purple on October 20th as a way to show solidarity with those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community struggling with bullying, violence, and harassment. Let’s make “Spirit Day” an annual day of both solidarity and ACTION. 

Wearing purple as a way to show unity and support for those in the LGBTQ community is just the first step! If you are on a college campus, create an event or bring in a speaker that focuses on ways to counteract bullying. Recruit a bunch of friends to volunteer with a local non-profit or organization doing LGBTQ advocacy work. If you already work for a great organization, organize an event for October 20th! If you don’t have any organizations around you, create a community project of your own! (A mentoring project, community art piece, etc...) Help to organize a “Spirit Day” event at your school or in your community that focuses on bullying and how LGBTQ youth (or those who are perceived to be LGBTQ) are often at risk of being on the receiving end. And don’t forget to actively challenge bullying whenever you witness it!

Submit and share your stories/projects/reflections on 

Twitter: Follow us @SpiritDayAction | Tweet using the hashtag #SpiritDayofAction

And of course if you are unable to do any of the above, you can always WEAR PURPLE and spread the word!