Wednesday, March 31, 2010

South African Anti-Misogyny Activist Mbuyiselo Botha and the group Sonke: Fighting Hate Speech, Rapism and ukhutwala, among other systematic anti-woman practices

Source for all that follows: *here*.

SOUTH AFRICA: Men Battle Gender-based Violence
By Davison Makanga

CAPE TOWN, Mar 30, 2010 (IPS) - When Mbuyiselo Botha decided to take the African National Congress League President, Julius Malema, to court for hate speech against women, he was confident from the start that the case had merit. But he also knew that this would be the most challenging test of his 15 years of gender activism.

"My colleagues from back during the anti-apartheid activism days warned that I had taken a career damaging move; I was seen as challenging the black leadership," said Botha.

Despite the discouragement and the potential of making enemies at the top, he went on with court challenge and won.

On March 15 the controversial Malema was found guilty of hate speech for he insinuating that President Jacob Zuma's 2005 rape accuser had enjoyed the act. Addressing students in Cape Town last year, Malema was widely quoted saying: "When a woman didn't enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money."

The ruling ANC youth leader was ordered to pay 50,000 rand ($6,700) or publicly apologise for his remarks within a month of the ruling.

"Unfortunately, Malema’s comments reflect a general mentality that men in South Africa and Africa as a whole have. They think they have a right of domination over women, which is wrong," said Botha, the father of three.

Dispelling myths of male superiority

Having been involved in anti-apartheid protests in the 1980s, Botha knows very well the dynamics of activism. He partook in a series of protests, he was shot and injured in the process and left with a permanent disability. The apartheid struggle, he says, made him realise that "all forms of oppression are unacceptable."

"After the end of apartheid in 1994, I thought we cannot claim to have total freedom when women are still subjected to suffering through unnecessary cultural practices and perceptions."

Botha referred, for example, to forced marriage practices known in Nguni languages as ukhutwala and is still widespread in other parts of Africa. "This is not different from rape. South Africa in particular, it is shocking, we have the highest incidents of rape," he said.

A 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council revealed that one in every four men interviewed admitted to having raped a woman; the highest rate in the world. The research further found that few cases are reported. The chilling findings are what Botha, through organisations he works with such as Sonke Gender Justice Network and Men's Forum, seeks to reverse.

Men acting against gender-based violence

When Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke) was formed in 2006, the organisation found that a majority of men they surveyed in Johannesburg believed they were not doing enough to end domestic violence. Since then the organisation has been educating and training boys and men to "realign their thinking".

"We have been working in six of the country’s 10 provinces and we are looking forward to expand our foothold," said Regis Mtutu, the organisation's National Programmes Coordinator.

Sonke means "Together" in Nguni languages. And this is the strategy of the organisation in its bid to realise gender equality. "We simply believe that working in the context of men, talking to them together with organisations that push for women's rights, we can attain our goal," added Mtutu.

Spreading the message

Currently the organisation is embarking on its flagship programme, "One Man Can".

Putting it into practice Changes are afoot in one rural area in the Eastern Cape.

A group of seven men is working as home-based caregivers with the Siyakhanyisa HIV/AIDS support group in Qumbu, 60 kilometres outside of Mthatha, in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.

Initially ridiculed for doing work traditionally reserved for women, they have quickly become role models and earned respect for their courage to do things differently and take responsibility for the goings-on in their villages.

The men decided to get actively involved in helping others after they learnt about gender stereotypes, understandings of manhood and fatherhood during workshops run by NGO Sonke Gender Justice in early 2008.

They now care for people living with HIV, bathe the bedridden, counsel, educate about HIV prevention and transmission, facilitate access to anti- retroviral treatment, refer patients to social services and assist sick persons in writing their will.
"We want to show men that they can respect, love their women passionately, that they can change their values and fight equality within their communities," Mtutu explained.

The project has seen the organisation train boys and men in various communities - especially rural and high-density communities. Training, the organisation says, is conducted using imagery and testimonials through audio. The more sophisticated groups are targeted through social networking media such as Facebook and Twitter. Sonke aims to reach out to at least 20,000 men in the next three years and establish many branches that will be permanently located within the communities.

The organisation has been working with traditional chiefs towards the goal of establishing permanent presence in most parts of the country. The aim, Mtutu says, is to change the false ego of man's domination through the custodians of culture. Men's sense of supremacy is a product of culture, tradition and religion, Mtutu says.

"When that false sense of masculinity is reversed, we will see a decline HIV simply because forced sexual activities and rape myths would have been eliminated."

Elsewhere in Africa, Sonke is working in collaboration with like-minded organisations such as Padare/Enkundleni in Zimbabwe, the Kenya-based Men Can and the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre. Together, the organisations resolved at a 2009 symposium to assist African governments through capacity building and implementation of policy. 

The U.S.'s 80 Year Undeclared War, its "Long War Doctrine", aka U.S. Militant Foreign Policy

Our Government Is Planning to Stay at War for the Next 80 Years -- Anyone Got a Problem with That?

March 31, 2010  |  

Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an "arc of instability" caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just "small wars in the midst of a big one."

Consider the audacity of such an idea. An 80-year undeclared war would entangle 20 future presidential terms stretching far into the future of voters not yet born. The American death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan now approaches 5,000, with the number of wounded a multiple many times greater. Including the American dead from 9/11, that's 8,000 dead so far in the first decade of the Long War. And if the American armed forces are stretched thin today, try to conceive of seven more decades of combat.

The costs are unimaginable too. According to economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Iraq alone will be a $3-trillion war. Those costs, and the other deficit spending of recent years, yield "virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors," according to a New York Times budget analysis in February. Continued deficit financing for the Long War will rob today's younger generation of resources for their future.

The term "Long War" was first applied to America's post-9/11 conflicts in 2004 by Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of U.S. Central Command, and by the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Richard B. Myers, in 2005.

According to David Kilcullen, a top counterinsurgency advisor to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and a proponent of the Long War doctrine, the concept was polished in "a series of windowless offices deep inside the Pentagon" by a small team that successfully lobbied to incorporate the term into the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the nation's long-term military blueprint. President George W. Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union message that "our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy."

The concept has quietly gained credence. Washington Post reporter-turned-author Thomas E. Ricks used "The Long War" as the title for the epilogue of his 2009 book on Iraq, in which he predicted that the U.S. was only halfway through the combat phase there.

It has crept into legal language. Federal Appeals Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a darling of the American right, recently ruled in favor of holding detainees permanently because otherwise, "each successful campaign of a long war would trigger an obligation to release Taliban fighters captured in earlier clashes."

Among defense analysts, Andrew J. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran who teaches at Boston University, is the leading critic of the Long War doctrine, criticizing its origins among a "small, self-perpetuating, self-anointed group of specialists" who view public opinion "as something to manipulate" if they take it into consideration at all.

The Long War has momentum, though the term is absent from the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review unveiled by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February. One commentator has noted the review's apparent preference for finishing "our current wars before thinking about the next."

Still we fight wars that bleed into each other without clear end points. Political divisions in Iraq threaten to derail the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops scheduled for 2012.

As troop levels decline in Iraq, they grow to 100,000 in Afghanistan, where envoy Richard C. Holbrooke famously says we'll know success "when we see it." The Afghan war has driven Al Qaeda into Pakistan, where U.S. intelligence officers covertly collaborate with the Pakastani military. Lately our special forces have stepped up covert operations in Yemen.

It never ends. British security expert Peter Neumann at King's College has said that Europe is a "nerve center" of global jihad because of underground terrorists in havens protected by civil liberties laws. Could that mean NATO will have to occupy Europe?

It's time the Long War strategy was put under a microscope and made the focus of congressional hearings and media scrutiny. The American people deserve a voice in the strategizing that will affect their future and that of their grandchildren. There are at least three important questions to address in public forums:

* What is the role of the Long War idea in United States' policy now? Can the Pentagon or president impose such war-making decisions without debate and congressional ratification?

* Who exactly is the enemy in a Long War? Is Al Qaeda (or "Islamic fundamentalism") considered to be a unitary enemy like the "international communist conspiracy" was supposed to be? Can a Long War be waged with only a blanket authorization against every decentralized group lodged in countries from Europe to South Asia?

* Above all, what will a Long War cost in terms of American tax dollars, American lives and American respect in the world? Is it sustainable? If not, what are the alternatives?

President Obama has implied his own disagreement with the Long War doctrine without openly repudiating the term. He has pledged to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2012, differing with those like Ricks who predict continuing combat, resulting in a Korean-style occupation [Julian's interruption: that's U.S. Amerikkkan-style occupation; get with it, Tom; the war in the '70s is only called "The Vietnam War" in the U.S.; to the Vietnamese, it's "The American War" for a damn good reason. Let's name the type of occupation by the name of the occupier, okay? Men rape "man-style" not "woman-style", right?]. Obama also pledges to "begin" American troop withdrawals from Afghanistan by summer 2011, in contrast to those who demand we remain until an undefined victory. Obama told West Point cadets that "our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended, because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own."

Those are naive expectations to neoconservatives and to some in the Pentagon for whom the Long War fills a vacuum left by the end of the Cold War. They will try to trap Obama in a Long War by demanding permanent bases in Iraq, slowing American withdrawals from Afghanistan to a trickle and defending secret operations in Pakistan. Where violence flares, he will be blamed for disengaging prematurely. Where situations stabilize, he will be counseled it's because we keep boots on the ground. We will keep spending dollars we don't have on wars without end.

The underlying issues should be debated now, before the future itself has been drafted for war.

Tom Hayden was a leader of the student, civil rights, peace and environmental movements of the 1960s. He served 18 years in the California legislature, where he chaired labor, higher education and natural resources committees. He is the author of ten books, including "Street Wars" (New Press, 2004). He is a professor at Occidental College, Los Angeles, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics last fall.

Asian Americans Need to Get Counted on the 2010 Census: see this short PSA from Arowana Films

ALSO originally seen by me at Racialicious. From YouTube and Angry Asian Man blog. More info on the video after... well, after the video.

Channel Icon


Arowana FILMS PSA presents

On a quest for 400 billion dollars...

It's that time again. Every ten years, our nation conducts a census. Many people question the need for it, or are skeptical of why the government wants our information, but the fear is really much ado about nothing.
400 billion dollars per year will be allocated based on the results of the 2010 Census.

Asian Americans are one of the most likely groups to throw out their Census forms. This only hurts our own community in the long run. Less numbers, less money. Let's get it right this decade and make sure we GET COUNTED!

Wong Fu (Phil and Wes)
Randall Park
Jane Lim
Hosanna Wong
Tada Chae

Voiceover Artist
Anson Ho

More on Ricky Martin Coming Out, from Andrés Duque

A quartet of posts about Ricky Martin:

Cross-posted from where I found this @ Racialicious here.

The Coming Out of Ricky Martin: Reactions

by Guest Contributor Andrés Duque, originally published at Blabbeando

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) has released a statement on Ricky Martin’s coming out.  It’s a statement from Jarret T. Barrios, the agency’s Executive Director:
When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity and, perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be gay; His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in U.S., in Latin America and worldwide.

In the meantime, I did take a gentle swipe at GLAAD’s language usage policies when it came to Ricky Martin describing himself as “homosexual” in my previous post.  That’s because I have long held that the usage of the word “homosexual” is common-place in Latin America: When people use it, they don’t intend it to have a negative connotation.

The word “homosexual” is certainly there in the Spanish-language version of his coming out statement and was probably left intact when someone translated it for the English-language statement to Spanish. They probably didn’t know that it wasn’t kosher to leave it there (I must confess I sometimes translate ‘homosexual’ to ‘gay’ when I do translations from Spanish language articles just as I translate ‘travesti’ to ‘transgender’).

But, as the news broke on Twitterlandia – and elsewhere – I was struck by a certainly understandable divide.

There were those in the United States who only knew the singer for his “ Living La Vida Loca” cross-over attempts and his vagueness about his sexuality over the years. For the most part, today, they were dismissive and quick to say that it was too late for him to come out. Not a comprehensive survey here by any means, but they included openly gay US Representative Jared Polis, and bloggers like DListed and AmericaBlogGay,

On the other hand, there were those of us Latinos who knew that Ricky Martin had never defined himself by his cross-over attempts or had lost any stature in Latin America just because he had failed to sustain his cross-over moment in the United States.  Those of us who knew about his longstanding efforts to eradicate child abuse throughout the world (click on: The Ricky Martin Foundation).  Those of us who, like everyone else, suspected he was gay but didn’t think he would ever come out. Those of us who thought that he would nevertheless make a huge impact if he ever did. Particularly among queer youth who looked up to him and were struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

So, let me go against the grain and congratulate Ricky Martin for coming out today. I, too, would have liked it to have happened sooner, but I do not feel I can properly express just how huge this is when it comes to Latin America.

For proof of the immediate impact, you might want to go to the outpouring of support from fellow stars that followed Ricky’s coming out announcement on Twitter.

Those include:
And just by those, tonight, you will have an inkling of just how many barriers Ricky Martin broke tonight.
Yes, it might have come late in his career. Yes, you might make light of it if you want. But, in some ways, the earth moved today in Latin America when it comes to LGBT rights.

The Radical Right-wing Pro-Men-with-Guns Mascu-nazis. To all MRAs: Notice how these fellas AREN'T radical feminists, and how some of THEM are YOUR allies and colleagues

White U.S. patriots with extremely erect guns. Heed the image, a symbolic warning, below.

These white men mean business. And they're in the business of promoting old-fashioned fascism. The "let's hang the n*ggers, let's rape our women, let's mass murder the Jews, let's kill the f*gs" kind of fascists. The one's opposed to all human rights for oppressed people. The one's delusional enough, and status quo enough, and institutionally supported enough by the Constitution AND the ACLU, to promote their bigotry as somehow "protected" hate speech. And in case the Constitution and the ACLU isn't protection enough, they also carry weapons to back up their words. Notice this, also: that MRAs do not protest THESE fascists. EVER. (That should tell you A WHOLE LOT about the MRAgenda.)

This news came to me via Inteligentaindigena Novajoservo: The Intelligent Aboriginal News Service, in a news piece they appropriately titled:

Neo-Confederates/Neo-Nazis plan Gun Advocate rally in DC on 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing

Below is a link to the significantly less outed neo-Nazi's declaration. Why do they disguise their deepest beliefs? And why don't the MRAs take THEM on? I mean those foolish MRAssholes go on and on and on, and on and on, and on, about how against "fascism" they are, when the "fascists" are supposedly feminist women.

I'll tell you why they don't take on ACTUAL ideologically, politically correct FASCISTS: because they're too dick-whipped, too invested in their whiteness, and because they're all in bed together--the mascu-nazis and the MRAssholes. So, instead, the white supremacist, homophobic, misogynistic MRAssholes toss about the term "femin-nazis", as if it actually has social-structural meaning. (Pssst: It doesn't. But these guys below, you gotta keep an eye on 'em.)

Gun Advocates Plan DC March On 15th Anniversary Of Oklahoma City Bombing


On April 19, the pro-gun group Second Amendment March (SAM) will lead a demonstration to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, “to remind America that the Second Amendment is necessary to maintain our right to self defense.” The group has sponsored several rallies across the country already, including ones last weekend in Frankfort, KY and Helena, MT. Second Amendment March founder Skip Coryell explained the group’s motives:
I saw a lot of our freedoms being stripped away,” he said. “I was concerned about what the present Congress and administration were going to do. So were a lot of other people. [...]
“If you look at Barack Obama, he’s got the most anti-Second Amendment voting record of anyone who ever served. I just don’t trust him.
He said when George W. Bush was president, he didn’t feel as threatened.
Coryell claims he chose April 19 “because it is the 235th anniversary of Lexington-Concord.” However, the date also carries a rather unfortunate significance: the day militia sympathizers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Daily Dish wrote in to express concern:
As a person from Oklahoma City, I find the entire idea upsetting beyond belief. These protests are going to take place on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The idea of a bunch of armed right-wingers parading around on that day — especially here — makes me *ill*. Do any of these people know what actually happened here on that day?
Even some commenters on the Tea Party Patriot-linked SAM web page for the march in Oklahoma were troubled about any potential gun rights rally in Oklahoma City. “Everyone should *implore* the Oklahoma coordinator to schedule this march on a date that is NOT the anniversary of the Murrah Building attack,” said one commenter.

April 19 also marks the end of the weeks-long siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, TX. Dan Casey of the Roanake Times reported that “[s]ome activists in the gun-rights movement have tried to talk Coryell out of organizing” the march, fearing that the “political timing is bad” or that it “might lead people to believe the gun movement is a paper tiger with a few loud voices.”

Of course Coryell’s fears are completely baseless. Obama has no intention of taking any anyone’s gun rights. In fact, during his campaign for president, Obama said, “I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner, you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration.”

Update A separate gun rights group will also be holding a rally in Virginia on April 19th. Mike Vanderboegh, who has threatened congressional Democrats and called on Americans to "throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices nationwide" because of health care reform, has said he will be speaking at the event.

The Lesbian Kiss and HaShoah Scholars: NEEDED: a pro-radical lesbian feminist perspective

In the "What's wrong with this picture" category:

Here's the story, and after it, my comment posted to the site:

365 Gay: News

Holocaust scholars irate over plans to switch gay kiss film to lesbian one

Holocaust scholars are irate over an attempt to include a video of lesbians kissing in a monument dedicated to the gay victims of the Nazi regime.

The Berlin, Germany, memorial, erected in 2008, is a concrete slab with a window to view a never-ending kiss between two men. The video, which is replaced every two years, is set to be changed in May to a film of women kissing.

But Holocaust scholars complain the move would distort history. Alexander Zinn, a board member of the foundation that maintains former Nazi concentration camps near Berlin, said there are no known cases of Holocaust victims who were persecuted for being lesbians.

“Historical truth must remain the focus,” Zinn told AFP.

An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 gay men were rounded up to concentration camps by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In the camps, the men wore inverted pink triangles on their prison uniforms. Gays were targeted alongside of Jews, Gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

*          *          *
My comment/reply:

I'll put my "post-comment" addition first:

Oh, and in the intervening 65 years since WWII, can we now use the ethnic group's name--Roma--in place of the more derogatory term "Gypsies"?

And here's a slightly modified version of the main comment I posted:

Two points:

Why does the lesbian kiss happen for a dominant cultural audience at all? Lesbianism and lesbian "sex" is always misappropriated in white het male supremacist societies as something that should be accessed, viewed, voyeured, and exploited 24/7/365 by het male pimps and procurers, and a whole lot of other het men. As proof: look at the image used to publicise this very story, above: a ridiculous still of two white thin femme, overly made up ARYAN-looking women. This image is being brought to us directly from your local porn shop and internet anti-lesbian/anti-woman pornography website serving HET MEN.

Leave the gay male kiss, as that is likely to make dominant society more uncomfortable while challenging heterosexism, and plenty of gay men did die as gay men in HaShoah.

AND, lesbians also died in HaShoah for being lesbian, despite what is offered as evidence to the contrary*. 

See, for example, this excellent documentary [info on it is from *here*]:

Love Story - A videotape by Catrine Clay (1997)

Kan lånes på biblioteket
Dokumentar - 60 min.

In 1942 Berlin, LiIly Wurst was a model Aryan hausfrau with a picture of the FŸhrer on the wall, a husband in the army, and a German motherhood medal for bearing four sons. With this distinction came mother's helper Ulla Schaaf, who unbeknownst to Lilly was deeply involved with the Jewish underground. When Lilly boasted that she could "smell a Jew", Ulla tested her by introducing her to Felice Schraderheim, aka Felice Schrader, a 20 year old Jewish woman living in hiding. The result of that meeting is an unusual love story whose arc is followed through recollections, documents, and archival footage in this beautifully made documentary.

As Ulla Schaaf and others in the Jewish underground describe living in constant fear of denunciation, they recall how Felice risked her life to smuggle false papers. In intimate interviews, Lilly tells how their relationship deepened until Felice revealed to her the secret of her Judaism. Sharing a home, wedding vows, and the care of Lilly's children, in 1944 Felice chose to stay in Berlin with Lilly rather than flee to neutral Switzerland. Later that year she was arrested by the Gestapo, never to return.

Now 82, Lilly shares her remaining photos and love letters to recall the great love of her life. As survivors from the underground recall acts of everyday courage, Love Story powerfully depicts ordinary people's resistance to injustice. Skillful, haunting, and elegiac, Love Story is a potent meditation on the healing and transformative power of love and compassion in the face of adversity. Produced for the BBC.

Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim--the real-life "Aimée" and "Jaguar"

* The other comments debate whether lesbians were rounded up by the Nazis for being lesbian. Here's that debate, along with the rest of the commentary from 365 Gay News:
  • jean-paul Said: March 30th, 2010 at 7:37 am
    • This whole thing is absurd. Hitler was raised as a catholic, and as a catholic he was homophobic. That homophobia was spread throughout Nazism, although as Drewski pointed out, the SS did have a strong streak of homosexuality in its ranks.
      Lesbians were “targeted” by Nazis:
      * Zoe, Lucinda. “The Black Triangle,” Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter, Brooklyn, N.Y., No. 12 (June 1991): p. 7. (A critical discussion of the notion that black triangles were used to mark lesbians in the concentration camps in a manner equivalent to the pink triangle for homosexual men, along with remarks on when the black triangle came to be used as a contemporary lesbian symbol).
      I only hope lesbians are not being targeted now by right-wing religious nutters within the Board…because when all is said and done, no institutions are more homophobic than religions, particularly the Abrahamic religions.
      This LGBT memorial monument is barely 2 years old, and is already having difficulty implementing the plans that were decided by the Board at the moment of its inception.
      With very little effort the international gay community could easily erect its own memorial, and believe me, it would be at least have a rainbow flag beside it, with triangles in evidence.
      Looks to me as if we have skin heads maintaining the holocaust gay memorial.
      We want to see lesbians kissing for 2 years, as planned.

  • MavsFan Said: March 30th, 2010 at 1:18 am

    • If anyone has an interest in this topic, specifically as it pertains to lesbians in Nazi Germany, I would highly recommend the book, and subsequent movie (which is German with English subtitles) “Aimee and Jaguar”. It provides a fantastic first-hand historical representation of time interwoven with a love story between a Jewish woman (Felice Schragenheim) and a Nazi wife (Elisabeth Wust). Oh, and did I mention, it’s based on a true story!

  • Drewski Said: March 30th, 2010 at 12:51 am

    • It doesn’t matter what pretext made the Nazis draw a bead on lesbians. They were arrested, sent to camps, and killed, and it all happened because they were lesbian. Str8 women in otherwise similar circumstances were not picked up first. Those lesbians were targeted because they were lesbian Communists, lesbian performers, lesbian trade unionists. It was their lesbianism that made them higher-order targets.
      If we’re going to argue over the “purity” of sexuality as justification for imprisonment/ execution, remember that the SS had a strong gay streak. Does that minimize the significance of killing gay men because they were gay? No. And neither should any gay man (or anyone else) minimize the truth that lesbians were sent to the camps for being lesbian more than for any other trait. Change the film and have it show two women this year.

  • jean-paul Said: March 30th, 2010 at 12:16 am

    • What is this…a tactic to divide the LGBT community at a time when we are seeing a horrific backlash against Human Rights (Gay Rights) in the world?
      This is nit-picking while the real problems of gay asylum are being neglected, e.g. Iraq, Iran; and while anti-homosexual laws are being re-enforced in Malawi, Zimbabwe and 48 other countries.
      Get a life.
      I hope Zinn’s letter finds the destination it deserves…

  • Peter Formaini Said: March 29th, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    • “All this came to a dead stop in 1933-34. Many lesbians were murdered by the SS as they were being interrogated because lesbians were seen as asocial or Communists, e.g. black triangle.
      Others were arrested under Austrian law which did criminalized Lesbianism, and they were ruthlessly used in the camps as prostitutes so as to boost the patriarchal ethos of Nazism.”
      Which – as the individual said – means they were NOT killed because they were lesbians. Lesbians were NOT ‘trgeted’ for death’ the way that Jews, gypsies, homosexual MEN, the mentally ill were.
      I am sure some died for being antisocial or Communist or suspected of treason – but they were NOT killed for being lesbian.
      That truth does not diminish their death – but it does a disservice to those who WERE specifically targeted to claim that those who were NOT targeted were victims in the same way as those who truly were singled out for specific traits or actions.

  • jean-paul Said: March 29th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    • The tremendous gay and lesbian liberation which took place during the Wiemar era is very well recorded with names and places.
      All this came to a dead stop in 1933-34. Many lesbians were murdered by the SS as they were being interrogated because lesbians were seen as asocial or Communists, e.g. black triangle.
      Others were arrested under Austrian law which did criminalized Lesbianism, and they were ruthlessly used in the camps as prostitutes so as to boost the patriarchal ethos of Nazism.
      The Gay Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is as ugly as it needs to be to reflect the seriousness of these horrendous crimes. Moreover, the Memorial is meant to remind us of the unimaginable cruelty which took place when homophobia and transphobia was endorsed by the State.
      It is well to be reminded that thousands of lesbians did in fact disappear from Berlin in one fall swoop. The entire LGBT lived and died in terror in those days, and it’s not fair to pretend that only gays men suffered.
      Also, Alexander Zinn is one person. I would be curious to know what other Holocaust scholars are irritated when it comes time to implement a plan which has already been approved by the Board. This revisionism is a pure waste of time.

  • Zebulon Af Söderberg Said: March 29th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    • That’s an odd monument…

  • Kate M Walker Said: March 29th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    • Looks like these “experts” never bothered to read Andrea Dworkin, who has lots to say about lesbians in the holocaust:
      Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation (Paperback)
      ~ Andrea Dworkin (Author) “In Memory Fields Holocaust survivor Shlomo Breznitz goes to The Oxford English Dictionary to look up the word hope…” (more)

  • Gerry Fisher Said: March 29th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    • I agree…I think it’s simplistic to say that lesbians were not persecuted by the Nazis.
      It would be cool if they could get a video that morphed between two men kissing and two women kissing!

  • Scotty Matthews Said: March 29th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    • What makes me irate is that the “monument” to the tens of thousands of gay men targeted and killed by the Nazis is essentially a 14-foot tall blank gray rectangular concrete slab with a peephole in the side.
      Is it supposed to represent a giant stone closet? Or perhaps a garden shed?
      It has less artistic and cultural value than a pile of cinderblocks, and if you’re not angry about that, then how on Earth can you be angry about the gender of the gay couple you see when you peer into the peephole?
      Some people have way too much free time on their hands, including the “artist” who designed this excruciatingly poor excuse for a memorial.

  • artwit Said: March 29th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    • There was a “crime” of refusing to bear children for the Reich, but it wasn’t the same thing. There were some Lesbians who hid out in the countryside during the entire Nazi era and who were interviewed in their old age for a documentary.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"The Family" Values, The P.O.P.E. (a Patriarchal Oppressor Protecting Evil) and The G.O.P. (Grandiose Oppressive P.R.I.C.K.s)

All of the above are massive sexual exploiters and abusers, with no will to create and enforce effective systems of accountability and arrest.

First, from *here*.

As Catholic sex abuse victims publicly criticize Pope Benedict XVI and his alleged negligence in the scandal, Elaine Quijano reports that the Church remains staunchly defensive of their leader.

Watch CBS News Videos Online

The Pope Copes with his Catholic Church of The Systematically Sexual Abused and Silenced; the Raped & Molested Cope with On-going Non-accountability in this White Male Supremacist Christian Church

From the latest news about the current Pope having a known sex offender, under his watch, being moved around, but not ever into a prison or even away from children, to the latest account of the Republican men being "in bed" with pimps we know this much: self-defined "conservative" men across the dominant political spectrum USE and EXPLOIT and HURT women, routinely and usually without accountability and without remorse, regret, or apology... unless and until caught with their proverbial pants down.

What has been documented time and time again is that the GOP--the Republicans, for those who are not USers--is that the Democrats, whose sexual politics are liberal, generally, exploit trafficked and non-trafficked women in systems of prostitution far less than do the Republicans, whose stated politics are far more sexually conservative. This proves to me that those who preach sexual conservatism are likely fucking their children, the children in their churches, or are exploiting and abusing women in systems of prostitution (and men and trans folks too). It also shows us rich white het men will systematically spend money on human wrongs not on human rights, when the issue is engaging with women and girls.

Question: Now that we know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that white het male conservatives have NO CRED on "morality"--and that the sexual liberals have been politically in sync with pimps and child molesters for decades, when will people start looking to radical feminists and womanists for guidance and leadership on matters of sex?

Answer: it would help if white het male liberals stopped assuming that critics of liberalism are pro-white conservatism. It would help if we collectively realised there is an alternative view and ethic to what white het male liberalism and conservatism has to offer society that is pro-sex but anti-sexism, pro-Erotic but anti-pornography, pro-enjoyment but anti-exploitation.

How many times I've seen it written, as if historically/herstorically accurate, that women like Andrea Dworkin was "in bed" with the Right-wing. Because, well, she dared to criticise sexual liberalism and its pornographers and pimps and rapists and child molesters. (As if white conservatism has EVER stood against sexual domination of women by men!!) Anyone who has read any single speech Dworkin has ever written would be clear she did not stand with or for the white Right-wing. EVER.

The myths about radical feminists being "anti-sex" are laughable, and demonstrate how limited and shut down the minds are of liberals and conservatives, who CANNOT IMAGINE sex without sexism, racism, capitalism: from "bondage" themed behavior, to "slaves" as sexy, to white, thin fake-breasted women as THE standard of beauty, to corporate pornography as synonymous with "eroticism", to mass-consumed pimp-gear and pimp-run businesses.

What follows next is from *here*.

Rachel Maddow: GOP Sex Scandal Exposes Secretive Conservative Religious Group -- 'The Family'

Sen. John Ensign's affair has brought unwanted attention on a powerful religious network in Washington.
July 14, 2009  |  

The following is a transcript from The Rachel Maddow Show on Washington D.C.'s "C Street House,"  which is now at the center of a media firestorm. Now GOP Senator Tom Coburn, sex-scandal embroiled GOP leaders Senator John Ensign and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford have been tied to the C Street House, which is registered as a church and provides substantially lower than market rate rent. Coburn and Ensign have lived at the C Street house, while Sanford has participated in its Bible study group.

We start with a mystery -- a mystery that's unfolding alongside the two major political scandals of the summer.  It's a mystery that concerns this house at 133 C Street Southeast in Washington, D.C.  I'm calling it a house because that's what it looks like to me and people do live there.

But if you consult this building's financial paper trail, you will find that it's actually considered to be a church.
That designation makes C Street a convenient tax-free haven for the secretive organization that runs it, an organization known as the Family.  It also makes for some awkward tax and income questions for the at least five, probably seven members of Congress who live at the house, in exchange for what appears to be substantially below market rent.

As explained by our guest last night, Jeff Sharlet, who secretly infiltrated the family to write a book about them, the C Street house is a former convent.  It's used as a sort of subsidized, really upscale dorm for members of Congress who are associated with this powerful, poorly understood religious group.

The Family and the house at C Street have ended up reluctantly in the headlines now because of the two major politicians' sex scandals that are embroiling the Republican Party this summer and that have taken two of their reported 2012 presidential hopefuls out of political contention.

Embattled Nevada Senator John Ensign lives at the C Street house.  The husband of Senator Ensign's mistress says that prominent members of the Family -- this religious group -- including the sons of the group's founder, as well as other members of Congress who live at C Street -- were both aware of Ensign's secret affair and were involved in his efforts to pay off the mistress and her family as the affair was on again-off again ending.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn lives at C Street with Ensign.  He has said he encouraged Ensign to end the affair but he has denied the allegation that he specifically encouraged Senator Ensign to pay the mistress off to the tune of millions of dollars.

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford mentioned C Street by name in his long public statement of regret about his affair with a woman in Argentina.

Video transcript:
Unidentified male: Did your wife and your family know about the affair before the trip to Argentina?
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford: Yes.
Unidentified male: For how long.
Sanford: We've been -- we've been working through this thing for about the last five months.  I've been to a lot of different -- I was part of a group called C Street, when I was in Washington.  It was a, believe it or not, a Christian Bible study -- some folks that asked of members of Congress hard questions that I think were very, very important and I've been working with them.
Maddow: Hard questions.
Governor Sanford said he was working with C Street somehow about his affair for months -- while the affair was ongoing, while it was still secret, and while Governor Sanford continued to lie about it publicly.

This is the first point about C Street and the Family that makes the group more than just a cameo appearance in both of these sex scandals.  In both instances, these powerful family values preaching, conservative politicians who were themselves having adulterous affairs say now that they disclosed those affairs to other members of Congress and other people affiliated with the secretive religious group for a long time while the affairs continued and while they were kept secret from the world at large.  This organization was allowed to know but nobody else was.

Zack Wamp of Tennessee is a Republican member of Congress who says he has lived in the C Street house for 12 years.  Today, he told "The Knoxville News Sentinel" that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy.

Quoting from the "News Sentinel," "The C Street residents have all agreed they won't talk about their private living arrangements, Wamp said and he intends to honor that pact.  'I hate it that John Ensign lives in the house and this happened because it opens up all of these kinds of questions,' Wamp said.  But, he said, 'I'm not going to be the guy who goes out and talks.'"

When you start looking into this organization and its members' oaths to secrecy and fidelity to one another that "I'm not going to be the one who talks here" theme looms very large.  But last year, when Jeff Sharlet's book about the Family first came out in hardback, the resultant buzz around the secrecy and high level connections of the Family and the C Street spurred NBC's Andrea Mitchell to obtain sermons of the group's long-time leader, Doug Coe, in order to find out more about what this group's agenda might be.

Here's some of what she found.

Video transcript:
Douglas Coe, Leader of "The Family": I've seen pictures of the young men in the Red Guard.  They would bring in this young man's mother.  He would take an ax and cut her head off.  They have to put the purposes of the Red Guard ahead of their father, mother, brother, sister, and their own life.  That was a covenant, a pledge.  That's what Jesus said.
Maddow: That's what Jesus said?

Here's more from the same sermon.

Video transcript:
Coe: Jesus said, you have to put me before other people.  And you have to put me before yourself.  Hitler, that was a demand to be in the Nazi party.  You have to put the Nazi party and its objectives ahead of your own life and ahead of other people.
Maddow: Again, the man speaking here is Doug Coe.  He's the leader of the group the Family, that runs the secretive C Street house that features in the sex scandals of both John Ensign and Mark Sanford.

Doug Coe describing the group's mission here in this next clip through his interpretation of the life and words of Jesus.

Video transcript:
Coe: One of the things he said is "If any man comes to me, and does not hate his father, mother, brother, sister, his own life, he can't be a disciple."  So I don't care what other qualifications you have, if you don't do that, you can't be a disciple of Christ.
Maddow: If you don't hate your father, mother, brother, sister, you can't be a disciple of Christ.

Every American's faith is her or his own business.  It's our constitutional inheritance as Americans.  Now, there is no religious test for public office, there's no official religion in this country, and every American has a right to believe or not believe, to worship or not worship, or as he or she sees fit.  Religion is a private matter in this country.

And religion is the organizing principle of many, many powerful interests in the United States, including this one very connected, sworn to secrecy, ministry only to the powerful, that has had a key role in how two major Republican sex scandals have unspooled this summer, that has a theology of power that is poorly understood, and cites Hitler a lot, and that currently houses at least seven members of Congress in what it calls a church.

Joining us now once again is Jeff Sharlet, who lived among this group as part of the research for his book "The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power," which is now out in paperback.

Maddow: I realize when we finished our interview last night there were more questions about the connection between this theology and these politics that I really wanted to ask you.  And when I asked you last night how a group like the family could essentially sanction John Ensign putting his mistress's son on the Republican Party payroll -- you said, essentially, that this group would be solely focused on looking out for John Ensign dealing with it internally.

Well, it now seems like a big part of the way Ensign responded to the scandal was by spreading a lot of money around.  So, I wanted to ask you to talk to me a little bit about wealth and financial power and how that fits into the theology of this group.

Sharlet: Well, to understand the Family's approach to wealth, it's a good place to start is their own label for themselves.  They like to call themselves the Christian mafia at times.  And they mean this in the sense of money moving quietly behind the scenes.

As David Coe -- one of the leaders of the group, the son of the man we just saw, and also John Ensign's spiritual counselor we now know -- as David Coe explained it to me a few years ago, if money moves around behind the scenes through what they call the man-to-man financial method, then we are able to sort of maintain this veneer of privacy, and that this is very important, because when you're dealing with members of the Family, these guys have been chosen by God for leadership and what the Family is going to do is in some ways almost play the role of consigliores, as fixers for these guys.

So, when I heard about the Ensign money, that makes sense as a kind of thing that they might be comfortable with.  But you've got to pull it out into sort of a broader picture.  Doug Coe, the leader of the group has said, he said, "I loan or give money to all sorts of people or I have my friends do so."

Now, Coe takes no salary many years.  All of the money is sort of moving through this man method and when you apply that overseas -- as they do -- you start to see what the idea of this is.  They believe in something called "biblical capitalism," and biblical capitalism is the way they're going to bring the gospel to the already powerful.  Where the money goes they believe God goes.

Maddow: So, biblical capitalism, this idea of the man-to-man financial method, which is one of the more awkward terms of a summer full of awkward terms.  That -- it's not just part of the way that they exert power.  That is part of their theology, that's part of the way they understand how they are, their version of Christianity at least.

Sharlet: Absolutely yes.  It's a theological position.

And when they call themselves a Christian mafia and talk about sort of avoiding institutionalization, talk about avoiding, you know, the books and records and all of that kind of stuff -- all of this stuff allows them to avoid accountability.  What they see it as is avoiding the building up of an edifice.

There is a level in which they're almost antichurch.  They don't like an organized church because it's too democratic.  They like this sort of behind-the-scenes elite approach.

Maddow: Well, you write in the family about how Doug Coe has done political favors for dictators like Suharto of Indonesia and Siad Barre in Somalia, Jonas Savimbi in Angola.  What is the Family doing with these guys?  Why are there so many dictators that Doug Coe and the other members of the Family cross paths with?  How does that work?

Sharlet: Well, you know, we heard in that clip, we heard Coe talking about Mao's China and so on.  And we also hear him again and again using the model of Hitler as an ideal of strength.  And I've heard him -- this is really boilerplate sermon for Doug Coe.

It's not that he's a neo Nazi of some sort.  It's that they fetishize strength.  They look for the leader who they believe is chosen by God.  Evidence is his power, his wealth, and his willingness to align himself with their version of American power.

The dictator Suharto in Indonesia was one such.  They organized meetings for him with American defense contractors, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the secretary of defense, and most notably, since Indonesia is a major oil producing company with American oil executives, who described their meetings in memos of Congress as great moments of spiritual honesty between themselves and the dictator.

Maddow: Jeff, briefly, we're just about out of time -- but religion is obviously a private matter in this country.  Do you think that the members of Congress who belong to this religious group should feel compelled to tell the country more about the group?  Do you feel that would be appropriate?

Sharlet: I think when you have -- when you have members of Congress who are looking to a particular religious group for a sense of authority, which is explicitly antidemocratic, that explicitly fetishizes strength and dictatorial power, if they want to do that, that it's their choice.  But I think they owe it to their constituents to say, "Here is why I have chosen to leave the mainstreams of American religion and affiliate myself with this sect that is so unorthodox and so really brutal in its theology."

More: Read Bruce Wilson's extended account of 'The Family.'

La Vida Loca is far less Loca as Ricky Martin comes out in peace: blessings to him

[image of Ricky Martin as a child performer in the boy band Menudo, and as an adult celebrity is from here]
A quartet of posts about Ricky Martin:

A woman I knew and still know had her own connection to Ricky Martin decades ago. She, her female friend, and Ricky Martin were all adolescents at the same time in their home country of Puerto Rico. Her female friend knew Ricky Martin (born Enrique Martin Morales), when they were all on the verge of adolescence. She told the woman I know now, back then, that she knew him to not be heterosexual given at least one special connection to another boy.

So for several years, since meeting her as an adult, I've known RM is not heterosexual (and I know this about other actors too, who are not out yet--I know, I'm being obnoxiously coy). But I wanted to hear him speak about this publicly, as it is his life, after all. I'm glad he's at a place with himself that he feels comfortable letting the public know what many have known for a while. I'm glad he's happy. "Homosexual" is the English word he uses. As long as he's happy, he doesn't have to be "gay". I was out as not at all heterosexual well before I chose to be gay-identified. People assume "gay" is a synonym for "homosexual male". It isn't. It's an identification with a community and an alliance with a liberation struggle against heterosexism, for me at least. Ricky can and will define himself as he wishes, in his own time.

I never wanted the sexist stigma of being "a heterosexual male" and was so glad to know I wasn't one "of them". But the pressure is intense of performers to be publicly heterosexual. And one day, that will not be so. Now, perhaps, that day will come a bit sooner. Thank you, Ricky, for sharing with us your truth, in your own way.

From Ricky Martin's website:

News: in Spanish and then in English

Version Español

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias.

En los últimos meses me di a la tarea de escribir mis memorias. Un proyecto que sabia seria uno verdaderamente importante para mi porque desde que escribí la primera frase me di cuenta que seria la herramienta que ayudaría a liberarme de cosas que venia cargando desde hace mucho tiempo. Cosas que pesaban demasiado. Escribiendo este minucioso inventario de mi vida, me acerque a mis verdades. Y esto es de celebrar!

Si existe un lugar que me llena porque estremece mis emociones, es el escenario, es mi vicio. La música el espectáculo, el aplauso, estar frente a un publico me hace sentir que soy capaz de cualquier cosa. Es un tipo de adrenalina y euforia que no quiero que deje de correr por mis venas jamás. Si ustedes, el publico y la musa me lo permiten, espero seguir en los escenarios muchos años mas. Pero hoy  la serenidad me lleva a un lugar muy especial, uno de reflexión, comprensión y mucha iluminación. Me siento libre! Y lo quiero compartir.

Mucha gente me dijo que no era importante hacerlo, que no valía la pena, que todo lo que trabaje y todo lo que había logrado se colapsaría. Que muchos en este mundo no estarían preparados para aceptar mi verdad, mi naturaleza. Y como  estos consejos venían de personas que amo con locura, decidí seguir adelante con mi "casi verdad". MUY MAL. Dejarme seducir por el miedo fue un verdadero sabotaje a mi vida. Hoy me responsabilizo por completo de todas mis decisiones, y de todas mis acciones.

Y si me preguntaran el dia de hoy ¿Ricky, a que le tienes miedo?  Les contestaría - "a la sangre que corre por las calles de los países en Guerra, a la esclavitud sexual infantil, al terrorismo, al cinismo de algunos hombres en el poder, al secuestro de la fe". Pero miedo a mi naturaleza, a mi verdad? NO MAS! Al contrario, estas me dan valor y firmeza. Justo lo que necesito para mi y para los míos, y mas ahora que soy padre de 2 criaturas que son seres de luz. Tengo que estar a su altura. Seguir viviendo como lo hice hasta hoy, seria opacar indirectamente ese brillo puro con el cual mis hijos han nacido. BASTA YA! LAS COSAS TIENEN QUE CAMBIAR! Estoy claro que esto no se supone que pasara hace 5 ni hace 10 años atrás . Esto se supone que pasara hoy. Hoy es mi dia, este es mi tiempo, mi momento.

Que pasara de ahora en adelante? Quien sabe. Solo me puedo enfocar en lo que estoy viviendo ahora. Estos años en silencio y reflexión me han fortalecido y me recordaron que el amor vive dentro de mi, que la aceptación la encuentro en mi interior, y que la verdad solo trae la calma. Hoy para mi el significado de la felicidad toma otra dimensión

Ha sido un proceso muy intenso, angustiante y doloroso pero también liberador. Les juro que cada palabra que están leyendo aquí nace de amor, purificación, fortaleza, aceptación y desprendimiento. Que escribir estas líneas es el acercamiento a mi paz interna, parte vital de mi evolución. Hoy ACEPTO MI HOMOSEXUALIDAD como un regalo que me da la vida. ¡Me siento bendecido de ser quien soy!-



A few months ago I decided to write my memoirs, a project I knew was going to bring me closer to an amazing turning point in my life. From the moment I wrote the first phrase I was sure the book was the tool that was going to help me free myself from things I was carrying within me for a long time. Things that  were too heavy for me to keep inside. Writing this account of my life, I got very close to my truth. And thisis something worth celebrating.

For many years, there has been only one place where I am in touch with my emotions fearlessly and that's the stage. Being on stage fills my soul in many ways, almost completely. It's my vice.  The music, the lights and the roar of the audience are elements that make me feel capable of anything. This rush of adrenaline is incredibly addictive.  I don't ever want to stop feeling these emotions. But it is serenity that brings me to where I'm at right now. An amazing emotional place of comprehension, reflection and enlightenment. At this moment I'm feeling the same freedom I usually feel only on stage, without a doubt, I need to share.

Many people told me: "Ricky it's not important", "it's not worth it", "all the years you've worked and everything you've built will collapse", "many people in the world are not ready to accept your truth, your reality, your nature". Because all this advice came from people who I love dearly, I decided to move on with my life not sharing with the world my entire truth.  Allowing myself to be seduced by fear and insecurity became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sabotage. Today I take full responsibility for my decisions and my actions.

If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all!  On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids where born with. Enough is enough. This has to change. This was not supposed to happen 5 or 10 years ago, it is supposed to happen now. Today is my day, this is my time, and this is my moment.

These years in silence and reflection made me stronger and reminded me that acceptance has to come from within and that this kind of truth gives me the power to conquer emotions I didn't even know existed.

What will happen from now on? It doesn't matter. I can only focus on what's happening to me in this moment. The word "happiness" takes on a new meaning for me as of today. It has been a very intense process. Every word that I write in this letter is born out of love, acceptance, detachment and real contentment. Writing this is a solid step towards my inner peace and vital part of my evolution.

I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am. 

*          *          *

Julian's note: The last lines can also be translated from Spanish into English to mean: "Today I accept my homosexuality as a gift that gives me life. I feel blessed to be the person I am."

With Ricky speaking both languages fluently, I assume he made the word choices with care. However it is phrased, the meaning is virtually identical: he is happy to be himself, a man who accepts himself as he is.

I am happy for him. The more of us who are out, the better, assuming we can be out in safety. And that's not always the case, for many people, unless they are heterosexual. To all of us who are not heterosexual: Espero que celebremos en paz con alegría.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A True Story of Cultural, Economic, and Physical Genocide

Above is the trailer of a documentary called A Kalahari Family. This is a five-part, six-hour series documenting 50 years in the lives of the Ju/'hoansi of southern Africa, from 1951 to 2000. These once independent hunter-gatherers experience dispossession, confinement to a homeland, and the chaos of war. Then as hope for Namibian independence and the end of apartheid grows, Ju/'hoansi fight to establish farming communities and reclaim their traditional lands. The series challenges stereotypes of "Primitive Bushmen" with images of the development projects Ju/'hoansi are carrying out themselves. Purchase the film:

Separately from the above, but not in terms of geo-politics and Western WHM supremacist and capitalist globalisation:

To any and all of my South African readers who have employment. Can you please post here if you know of any work opportunities in South Africa that pay well and are not at all degrading. Thank you.

I have a friend who is without employment and is not able to eat three times a day. He is getting thinner, and a good job is what he needs to be well.

White Men's War Against Men of Color is Always Also Part of White Men's War Against Women of All Colors, and in this case, also The White, White West's Decades Old War Against Asia

This video clip (Part 5 of 6) is from the film Rethink Afghanistan War, a critical examination of what the U.S. is doing there, given that they're not doing anything useful, and are doing many atrocious things. The entirety of this film project is posted below the text that follows.

What follows next is from *here*.

Bombs will kill women in Afghanistan
Posted by robertgreenwald on July 8th, 2009
Self immolation is a method of suicide by lighting oneself on fire. According to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, self immolation has never been such an epidemic in Afghanistan as it is today. This is one fact that leads people to the sobering reality that our efforts in Afghanistan have done nothing for the vast majority of women there.

Despite this, politicians, military leaders, and sadly even some misguided American feminist groups continue to use the plight of women in Afghanistan to justify more spending, more troops and more war. People who care for the people of Afghanistan have got to see this for what it is. Women never benefit from bombs and bullets.

When the U.S and its allies chose to put the Karzai regime in place, they conveniently overlooked the fact that it is overrun with the same patriarchal attitudes toward women as the Taliban. During my recent trip to Afghanistan, I saw the crushing poverty that Afghans must endure. A few brave women from RAWA and the Afghan Women’s Mission pointed out in a recent article that the military establishment claims that it must win the military victory first and then the U.S. will take care of humanitarian needs. But they have it backward. Improve living conditions and security will improve. Focus on security at the expense of humanitarian goals, and coalition forces will accomplish neither. The first step toward improving people’s lives is a negotiated settlement to end the war.

Share this video and help your friends and family to see what is really happening to women in Afghanistan. Refuse to accept the line that we must stay in Afghanistan to protect the women of Afghanistan. Help us get people to Rethink Afghanistan.

In this video: Orzala Ashraf serves on the Board of Directors of the Afghan Women’s Network and is the founder of Humanitarian Assistance for the Women and Children of Afghanistan (HAWCA).

Ann Jones is a journalist and author of a number of non-fiction books about her research into women’s and humanitarian issues, including Kabul in Winter. She has also written and taken photographs for a number of publications including National Geographic Traveler, Outside and the New York Times.

Sonali Kolhatkar is the host and producer of KPFK Radio’s Uprising, a daily drive-time morning public affairs program in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. She is also Co-Director of the Afghan Women’s Mission, a non-profit that works in solidarity with Afghan women.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is the first non-American journalist to be awarded the prestigious Livingston Award and the youngest recipient of the One World Media broadcast journalist of the year award in the United Kingdom. She has produced and reported for major networks in the United States and Britain including CNN, PBS, Channel 4 (U.K.) and the Discovery channel.

Kavita Ramdas is the President and CEO of the largest non-profit organization in the world exclusively funding women’s human rights, the Global Fund for Women.

Anand Gopal is Afghanistan Correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor and The Wall Street Journal.
Fahima Vorgetts is Director of the Afghan Women’s Fund and serves on the Board of Directors of Women for Afghan Women.

Fantana Gailani is the founder of the Afghanistan Women Council.

Shukria Barakzai is a member of the Afghan parliament and helped draft Afghanistan’s constitution. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of Aina–E–Zan (Women’s Mirror), a weekly newspaper for women in Kabul, Afghanistan.

What's next is from *here*.

Q: Why would U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan go out of their way to smear a journalist?
A: Because he told the truth about a night raid that killed Afghan civilians, including pregnant women.
Recently, we spoke with Afghanistan-based journalist Jerome Starkey about his reporting on special forces raids that killed civilians and NATOs surprising–and disappointing–response. This video contains disturbing images, and an even more disturbing story of violence, and an attempt to silence a truth-teller. It shows why its absolutely essential that we keep pushing back against the Pentagon’s message machine.

We’re still in a race to challenge the Pentagon on Facebook. We’ve narrowed the gap significantly: the Defense Department has 23,736 fans, while Rethink Afghanistan has 17,876. Can you help us beat them? If you’re on Facebook, please become our fan and suggest us to your friends.

*          *          *
What follows next is from *here*.

Three Veterans for Peace Second Hard-Hitting Message of Film


Copyright © 2010 by Mark Gabrish Conlan for Zenger’s Newsmagazine • All rights reserved

PHOTO: Jack Doxie and Jim Brown

The three members of San Diego’s chapter of Veterans for Peace who spoke at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church March 18 after the church showed Robert Greenwald’s hard-hitting anti-war movie Rethink Afghanistan may have been talking about the earlier wars in which they had served, but their meaning was unmistakable. “In Viet Nam, they had a campaign for us to work with the villagers, to try to win their hearts and minds,” said Jim Brown. “We’d do that during the day — and then at night we’d shoot at them. It’s crazy to send in an army, whose job is to kill, and expect them to help build a country. Troops don’t go out there to do good. They’re there to maintain order and kill people.”

Brown’s remarks made a mockery of “nation-building,” “counter-insurgency,” “counter-terrorism” and all the noble-sounding lies with which the American people are brainwashed by their government and media to support one war of naked conquest and aggression after another. So did Rethink Afghanistan, a 62-minute DVD from Greenwald’s Brave New Films that meticulously demolished all the various justifications that have been offered by two consecutive Presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and many other politicians and opinion makers for the U.S.’s continuing and escalating military involvement in Afghanistan — including the idea that by intervening in Afghanistan we are fighting al-Qaeda and making the U.S. safer from terrorism.

Greenwald made his film in 2009, releasing it as Obama was considering whether to grant the U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, his request for 40,000 additional troops for the war effort. Obama eventually authorized 30,000 but said they would be withdrawn within a year and a half. The movie features interviews with a wide variety of sources, and not all of them the usual suspects from the Left either. Among Greenwald’s interviewees are former CIA field operative Robert Baer — who bluntly calls the idea that the U.S. is fighting terrorism in Afghanistan “bullshit” — and former CIA station chief Robert Grenier, as well as former Taliban official Ursala Rahmani and Mohammed Osman Tariq, former commander in the mujahedin — the so-called “freedom fighters” the CIA recruited to fight the secular, socialist, Soviet-supported Afghan government in the 1970’s and who eventually morphed into the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Rethink Afghanistan focuses much of its attention on a truly dangerous country sandwiched between Afghanistan and India: Pakistan. “It’s not as if Pakistan is standing idle; 120,000 troops have been dispatched to the Afghan border,” says CNN correspondent Stan Grant in a clip shown in the film. “The [Pakistani] government says more than 1,000 soldiers [were] killed in the fighting. But the United States and others still question whether the Pakistan Military and Intelligence Service are playing a double game, [with] elements secretly supporting the Taliban to block a potential India-Afghanistan alliance.”

The sources quoted in Greenwald’s film — including Steve Coll, president and CEO of the New America Foundation; and Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives — note that the one country Pakistan considers an “existential threat” is India, against which they have fought two wars over the disputed province of Kashmir. “The Pakistan army fears that India sees Afghanistan as a way to encircle Pakistan, to come in through the back door, to promote instability,” Coll says in the film. Other sources note that Pakistan, not Afghanistan, is the country in the region the U.S. should be worried about: it has a weak central government, a strong movement promoting militant Islam, and fully developed nuclear weapons. Should Pakistan fall into the hands of militant Islamist military officers or its own version of the Taliban, these sources warn, they could make nuclear weapons available to terrorists for an attack on the U.S. that would make 9/11 look like a mugging in the park by comparison.

Other topics covered in Rethink Afghanistan include the endemic corruption in the current Afghan government, the way U.S.-based contractors and their Afghan subcontractors are siphoning off vast amounts of money intended as reconstruction aid, and the sheer cost of the war to the U.S. itself. Linda J. Bilmes, co-author of The $3 Trillion War, estimates the cost of maintaining the U.S. forces in Iraq as $500,000 per troop per year — and for Afghanistan that figure is still higher, $775,000, mainly because it’s much harder to get supplies into Afghanistan’s landlocked, mountainous territory than into Iraq, which has ports and is virtually all flat desert. By contrast, Blimes says, the inflation-adjusted cost of the U.S. involvement in World War II was $50,000 per troop per year.

“Right now, the United States, through fiscal year 2009, will have committed and/or spent more than $185 billion on the U.S. war in Afghanistan,” says Jo Comerford, executive director of the National Priorities Project. Comerford devised an intriguing way to look at the cost of the war by breaking it down per U.S. state, calculating that Alabama has contributed $1.695 billion to the war effort — enough to pay for full health coverage for all Alabamans, plus 200,000 other Americans, for one year. In New York, the cost will have been $17 billion — enough for “nearly two million Head Start placements.” Arizona’s share of the tab for the war is $2.5 billion — enough to cover half the 20 percent of Arizonans who don’t currently have health insurance.

One of the more powerful sections of Rethink Afghanistan is the one about women. Many otherwise progressive Americans were encouraged to support the war by the horror stories of how Afghan women were treated under the Taliban. But according to the film, life for women in Afghanistan was hell before the Taliban took over — and it still is. One anonymous representative of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) reports at least 23 rapes in just two months in northern Afghanistan and “a lot of violence against women in west Afghanistan.” The film shows girls who have had acid thrown in their faces for the “crime” of going to school, and Kabul in Winter author Ann Jones quotes Afghan Supreme Court Chief Justice Faisal Ahmad Shinwari — a hard-core Islamist personally appointed by supposedly secular president Hamid Karzai — as saying that Afghan women have two “equal rights”: to obey their husbands, and to pray (but not inside a mosque, since that space is reserved for men).

“The situation for women today in the Pashtun areas is actually worse than it was during the Taliban time, and the reason is because under the Taliban women were kept in burkas and in their homes, away from education,” says Wall Street Journal Washington correspondent Anand Gopal. “Today, the same situation persists — they’re kept in burkas, in homes, away from education — but on top of that, they’re also living in a war zone. And women disproportionately suffer, from the effects of a war. The majority of civilian casualties have been women. Women that I talk to in these areas often say that they actually wish the Taliban were back in power, because even though their lives were a prison then, at least they were kept free from bombs or from house raids. … Women also suffer in war zones because when their husbands are killed, they can’t work in any traditional jobs, so often they have to turn to prostitution. Otherwise they can’t work at all.”  

[Julian's note: women also suffer because their loved one's are killed, their neighbors, their friends, because they themselves are hurt, terrified, maimed, and raped, and because the men of the Taliban and U.S. male soldiers are not trained to regard women of color anywhere as human beings, but especially if they are affiliated with the men who they view as "the enemy". One wonders when the U.S. soldiers will realise the enemy is the U.S. Government, sending them off to die for no ethical reason, and to commit atrocities.]

Perhaps the most heart-rending section of the film is the one in which Greenwald and his translators interview Afghans trapped in an IDP (internally displaced persons) refugee camp in Kabul because their homes and farms have been destroyed by U.S. air raids. “If it wasn’t for the war, I would want to go back,” one unidentified man tells them. “If there was freedom, I would want to go back. Why am I here? Now there is war and bombardment. I can’t go back. Before I was a farmer, but I can’t go back. I was growing wheat and poppy and corn, melons. I was taking care of the children. But right now I can’t do anything. Look, they are barefoot in this cold weather. … One of my daughters is dead, and they will die too. This child, I can sell her but nobody would buy her. What can I do? … I have nothing. I am poor. I don’t have any blankets or shawls. I don’t have any clothes. There is no food that I can put in her mouth. … I know nobody wants to sell their daughter, but I have to. She is innocent, but I am poor.” Then a title reveals that the girl he was talking about trying to sell, just to get her out of the refugee camp and into the hands of people who could afford to take care of her, has since died.

[Julian's note: I have learned that translations are often wrong, skewed to fit into a U.S. or Western sensibility, often feeding stereotypes. And I'd rather hear this in the native language, and hear someone who lives there and speaks both languages translate it.]

Greenwald follows this heartbreaking sequence with a devastating demolition of the whole idea that we’re fighting in Afghanistan to protect Americans against future attacks by al-Qaeda. “Both wars have made the Middle East and the world much more dangerous for Americans and for any American presence overseas,” says Graham Fuller, former CIA station chief in Kabul and former vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council. “Terrorism has increased worldwide in the past seven years,” adds Carl Conetta, “and we’ve spent a tremendous amount of treasure and blood to achieve a result of increased terrorism.”

Finally, the film’s “Solutions” segment focuses on non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) which are actually building schools, providing jobs and offering health care to Afghans. The film depicts the Norwegian Afghanistan Committee ( English/Education/index.html), which operates schools for Afghan girls and distributes food for 50,000 students; Jobs for Afghans (, which seeks to provide just that — jobs for Afghans — so they can survive without joining the Taliban just for the $8 per day stipend the Taliban pays its fighters; and Emergency in Afghanistan (, which has built three hospitals and 30 clinics. All their care is provided free of charge, explains Emergency in Afghanistan medical director Dr. Marco Garatti, “because we believe that a state, a decent state, should take care of its own citizens” — an ironic thing to hear at the end of the acrimonious Congressional debate on health insurance reform, which if nothing else made clear how many in Congress and the American public don’t agree that the state has a responsibility to safeguard its citizens’ health.

The three Veterans for Peace representatives who led the post-film discussion at the First Unitarian-Universalist Church March 18 — Viet Nam veteran Jim Brown, Korean War veteran Jack Doxie and Gil Field, a Viet Nam-era veteran but one who avoided combat by volunteering for the U.S. Coast Guard — made brief opening statements and then threw the meeting open to questions. “After serving in Viet Nam, it was obvious to me just from being on the ground that we were pulling the triggers as Americans — and the people we were shooting lived there,” said Brown. “We coerced the government into giving us ‘permission’ and stayed there as long as we could make people money. Our leaders will send us off to war anywhere in the world to take what we want. We could have all the raw materials we needed if we paid for them and hired local people, and built them schools and hospitals, and this would cost far less than what we spend on combat.”

“Well over 50 years ago, I was in combat in Korea — and we still have troops in Korea,” Doxie said. “They sent us to Korea in a World War II-era transport ship that was probably built in eight days, and it took us 16 days to meet the enemy. The thought came to me that if I had to go 16 days to meet the enemy, then perhaps this was not my enemy. … It’s amazing that we can’t learn our lesson. We persist in trying to resolve issues through violence. In a very unjustifiable way, we show our might. I’d like our country to have a bias towards negotiating instead of fighting. Just weeks before we invaded Iraq, the whole world realized we were wrong. Two million people in London, one million in Rome and hundreds of thousands elsewhere asked us not to do what we did. Where would we be now if we had gone to the United Nations instead of going to war?”

“By sheer luck of birth, I was born in 1948, finished college in 1970 and immediately applied to the Coast Guard in New York City,” said Field. “I served admirably on a small island in New York harbor. … So much of the background of the Veterans for Peace is determined by our ages and backgrounds. People three years younger didn’t go at all. People four to five years older had to go. It’s amazing how our government uses situations as they occur to create excuses to go to war.”

The questions covered a wide range of topics, moving far back in history from Afghanistan and Iraq not only to the wars Doxie and Brown served in but even farther — questioning whether the U.S. even had a right to fight World War II, Some audience members raised the argument made by pacifists at the time — that the U.S. and the other victors in World War I created the Nazi threat by imposing a harsh peace on Germany in 1919 and thereby wrecking its economy and creating the political situation that allowed Hitler to come to power. “Is there any such thing as a ‘good war’?” Brown said. “Was World War II something we should have been in?”

Definitely not, said Doxie. “Seventy to 80 percent of the U.S. people did not want the war,” he noted. “Franklin Roosevelt won his third term by saying he wouldn’t send soldiers into war. The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because the U.S. had a plan to embargo Japan and keep them from getting oil and rubber. When you poke a smaller adversary in the eye with a brush, they’re going to react. The Japanese may not have been justified [in attacking Pearl Harbor], but we were the ones who dropped the A-bombs on civilian targets in Japan.”

An audience member raised the controversial claim — still hotly debated among historians — that President Roosevelt knew about the Pearl Harbor attack in advance and allowed it to happen because he knew the only way he could unify the country in support of a war it didn’t want was to frame it as a response to foreign aggression. The same person also claimed that the 9/11 attacks were not carried out by Osama bin Laden but were either known in advance or actively perpetrated by the U.S. government — and Doxie hinted that he agreed. “It looked like a controlled demolition,” Doxie said, “not something that happened from outside.”

Brown also expressed his cynicism — largely shared by most of the audience — that President Obama has any intention of pursuing a policy in Afghanistan or Iraq that differs in the slightest from President Bush’s. “We’re supposed to be out of Iraq by 2011, but I haven’t seen anyone pulled out,” Brown said. “I’ve heard he’s being politically expedient for the powers that be in America, and will pull the troops out by the end of his term, but I don’t believe that. That’s what they said in Viet Nam, too.”

“Obama said he was going to escalate in Afghanistan in his campaign,” said Peace and Freedom Party organizer Roger Batchelder. “Even in the peace movement, we labor under delusions, including the idea that America is not an empire. We are an empire. The other myth is that the Democratic Party is the party of the little person and the party of peace. World War II could have been stopped if Americans like Prescott Bush [father and grandfather of the two Presidents Bush] and Henry Ford hadn’t helped Hitler. We have a ruling class that gives to both parties, and Wall Street gave more money to Obama than to McCain. FDR interned the Japanese and Truman used A-bombs against civilians twice, and also started the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. It’s all about the money. The richest 1 percent gives money to both parties.”

And despite the promises Obama has made to withdraw the extra 30,000 troops in Afghanistan within a year and a half, Doxie warned that the U.S. commitment there is likely to last far longer than that. “General McChrystal has said that if everything in Afghanistan goes exactly right, the way he wants it to, we have a minimum of 10 more years there — on top of the nine years we’ve already been there. And of course it won’t go exactly according to plan. It never does.”

Echoing a point made by some of the speakers in the movie that al-Qaeda no longer has, seeks or needs a permanent base in Afghanistan, Field added, “And the enemy is no longer even there.”

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To see more clips, click on the following videos:
Rethink Afghanistan, [Part 1]:

Rethink Afghanistan War, Part 2:
Rethink Afghanistan War, Part 3:

Rethink Afghanistan War, Part 4:

Rethink Afghanistan War, Part 5: (see top of this post, or here)

Rethink Afghanistan War, Part 6: