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Strong Muslim Women

Dreamwidth user dorothean.dreamwidth.org points out that there are organizations of Muslim women in Afghanistan and beyond that are fighting for change, and she feels I'm portraying all Muslim women as being victims instead of fighting for their rights. I think anyone who is familiar with this LJ may remember I've cited organizations that work for the rights of Muslim women, but here is The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) "Afghan women’s freedom from the clutch of fundamentalism, occupation and patriarchy is only possible with their own struggle!" RAWA's statement on International Women's Day. I have to say, I like the cut of their job!

Here's a march against sexual harassment in Kabul and another about women fighting for shelters, both from last year.

The spirit to fight is there. We need to let them know we support them, that we care.

But you know what, dorothean? I still fear for them.

It's Lucy Lawless's birthday!

Does life get any cooler than this?

Happy birthday to one of my favorite jailbirds--yes! She got her splendid self arrested after an oil drilling ship sit-in to protest Arctic drilling!

May she have many more splendid birthdays, on-screen and off!
A boy.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. There are the women who say their experiences as boys gave them confidence as adult women, and the women who say they missed out on important childhood experiences as girls. And the interviewer didn't mention asking the sisters of the girl-boys how they felt about not being enough for their parents, so their parents created a boy.

Wouldn't it be nice if no one ever felt the need to do this? If girls were considered as good as boys by their cultures--I'm not just talking about Afghanistan, but about all cultures? And in Afghanistan, if girls could live as freely as boys?

A recent poll found that 69% of the U.S. wants out of Afghanistan. I do, too--but I'm deathly afraid of what will happen to the country's women and girls when we leave.

Deathly afraid.

It's Leonard Nimoy's birthday

Happy birthday, you strapping, thrilling-voiced hunk of actor, you!

A moment of innocent amusement

I've been on a real tear, reading historical mysteries set during or after WWI in which the main characters are English survivors of the war, either soldier veterans or nurse veterans. I just realized that in the books by two of my favorite writers, Charles Todd and Jacqueline Winspear, the English point-of-view characters tend to think of "lust" as if it were a squashed cootie they had just found on the floor. They can talk of war wounds more comfortably.

I just hit that word "lust" in one of their sentences, and there's that image, giving me the giggles.

I also feel plumb awash on characters constantly making up and drinking tea. Surely they can't have drunk that much of it, or the sewers would be flooded out!


And it ain't good. I've been worried for a while about posting the things I am learning about the incidence of rape, sexual assault, and misogyny in the military, because I've been so gung-ho about women getting into the military at long last. But you need to know what's going on if you plan a military career; you need to know your options, and you need to ask yourself if you're ready to take these risks in addition to the risks of being an ordinary soldier.

There are many good men in the military. There are also a bunch of testosterone junkies who think it is still a boys' club, both in the military and out of it, who will treat you like a junkyard dog and deny that your service is as meaningful as theirs, that your body is yours alone, that you have a right to be there, and, afterward, that your service includes problems that a man's service does not. The Servicewomen's Action Network is one of the organizations working to bring issues to light and to inform women; things are being dragged into the open, but the process is slow. Think long and hard before you make this choice, okay? It starts in the academies and goes from there, so you have to be prepared when you go in.

Plenty of women, including my sister, will tell you that while their experience in the military was hard and they took a lot of hazing, they were not subjected to this. A great deal depends on who's in command. But it's a real problem, and I can't stay silent about it anymore, not when many of you choose the military after reading my books.

Be strong; be alert; be safe. Walk proud. Never feel you have to excuse yourself for who you are to anyone.

edited to add:
A soldier has pointed out to me that guys to are at risk of hazing and rape, and of course the social pressures on them not to report are even greater than they are on women because men don't report these things. She also reminded me there is a problem of drug use and general violence in the military, just as there is in society. If you enter the military, keep your eyes and ears open. Be aware. I think these are good words to pass on from someone who is in the military right now and who knows.

Limbaugh's trashing of Sandra Fluke

Don't let the media fool you--Limbaugh's "apology" is the joke he claims he was making when he accused her of all kinds of nasty behaviors last week. Behold:

" For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

" I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit? In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone's bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

" My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices."

Please note the extremely limited "apology" with all the qualifiers, topped with the "Can't you people tell a joke when you hear one" bingo card. Also, how's this for hutzpah: "I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress." But it's not too absurd for you to try to pump up your flaccid numbers by launching a full-bore sexual attack on a law student who was exercising her rights under the Constitution, eh, Limbo?

His message to anyone who tries to address an American political body with a citizen's genuine opinion? You too will be open to attack under the most scurrilous terms, with the implicit invitation to others, including those at your own school, place of work, place of worship, or anywhere else, to attack you in the same terms or worse.

What lesson should we take from this? Why, the 1900s one, that the only kind of women who dare to venture into the political arena are--well, unlike the Anus that Talks, I don't use those words. About anybody. Even about someone who has sold his soul and whatever decency he possessed for media stardom and the power to verbally flagellate anyone who stands up for ideas he has not blessed with his imprimatur.

Marie Colvin--It Just Ain't Right

I didn't post about this before because I didn't have the heart. I still don't, but neither do I want people to think I'm ignoring the cruel death in Syria of the courageous journalist Marie Colvin. Here is a woman who didn't let even the loss of an eye stop her from covering the world's most dangerous stories: the Arab Spring, Libya, East Timor in Indonesia, Sri Lanka. My hero-worship for her goes straight down to the bone. And now Syria, where she and fellow journalist Rémi Ochlik were killed by government forces.

This hurts double because I have been watching a government's best attempts to massacre its own people in Syria, while the world stands by and Russia and China, who vetoed a UN resolution condemning it, say, "Oh, noes! You can't be mean to our allies!" Our murderous allies who are killing civilians without any attempt to discover if they are even rebels. And now they have murdered this woman. This is wrong, this is wrong, and the world just wrings its blood-dripping hands.

She probably always knew she would die this way, when she came so close so many times. At least, in the Summerlands, she won't have to witness countrysides ripped apart and wholesale murder, or tell it to a world that stands aside and does nothing.

I have an idea!

Let's get a whole bunch of old shoes*

get a whole bunch of stickers that say "IT'S STILL THE ECONOMY, STUPID!"

and ship them to a bunch of canting Republican ideologues who have nothing better than to stick their noses in women's reproductive business! Whaddya say?!

*throwing a shoe at someone--showing the sole of your shoe to them--is the ultimate expression of scorn in Muslim culture.

The War on the womb: Another Offensive

By now I'm sure you've all heard about it: legislators demanding women get transvaginal ultrasounds before they can have abortions. (Apparently Virginia's governor, at least, may be having second thoughts. Apparently he's heard some people dislike what he's doing.)

These procedures are unnecessary for the most part, and they should only be up to the discretion of the woman's gynecologist, not that of lawmakers who have never so much as had one or anything like it, or who would never need an abortion. It's coerced vaginal penetration--state-sponsored rape.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are expensive. Prohibitively so. They are uncomfortable at best, and if you have anything like cysts or endometriosis, they are painful. No one likes their organs stirred with a baton, even when it's necessary. Worst of all, these alleyway assaultists want to do it to women who are up to 12 weeks pregnant.

And, most importantly, any and all ultrasounds of women are not the business of largely male legislators or of the law at all. Women's bodies are not the business of people who work in big buildings with breasts on the roof. They are not the business of yapping lickspittle curs who run around with bigger curs toting cameras behind them. They are not the business of anyone but individual women and their unlegislated doctors, and I am sick to death of these blatherskite louse-cracking pox-brained scum-lapping muckrollers who want to commandeer our lives for their votes. Gods curse them all with boils, shingles, and ooze of their privy parts.

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