Mother’s Day isn’t whoop-di-doo for everyone

Mother’s Day is problematic for the many women who had/have a troubled relationship with their mothers. It isn’t talked about much & probably isn’t researched enough but it’s very common for mothers to have resentful relationships with their girls. Maybe that’s not true in every culture, but it certainly is in the US. Maybe it wasn’t true before feminism in the 1960s but it sure was after.

Girl’s forms of rebellion are different from boys & are in some ways more confrontational & honest. Many mothers can’t handle that. The tensions that develop don’t usually rise to the level of abuse–though sometimes they do. But the relationship, even if loving, is filled with subtle & acute conflicts & very often competitions.

If you’re the daughter in this exchange, it’s a matter of life-long regret & loss. So when Mother’s Day comes, it’s hard to join the celebration since it seems to trivialize the loss.

Cultural appropriation of the burqa on the fashion runway: a study in mockery

Burqa cultural appropriation

This is what you call cultural appropriation–& in the era of Islamophobic hysteria, it is a political affront. The outfits are by Israeli designer Sasha Nassar who won the International Womenswear Prize for the full collection in 2013. Haaretz called Nassar “the Jaffa-born designer with an Arab spring in her step” because she claimed her designs were inspired by the Arab uprisings.

In the florid (not apparently intended to be snide) description of the Haaretz reviewer, Nassar was inspired “by motifs borrowed from Muslim culture, into which she also incorporated Arabic numerals that represent the dates on which protests erupted in Arab countries.” The reviewer added that the collection “can be seen as representing the transition from a traditional Muslim garment to contemporary Western-style clothing, with all its fashionable & seductive elements.”

The judges of the prize say they were “captivated with the investigation of contemporary cultural conflicts that Sasha played with veiling & unveiling, muslim & European motifs.”

The collection can be seen as transitions & investigations & inspirations but that’s only if fashion operates in a hermetically sealed universe where the burqa is not used as a political weapon to justify bombing entire countries to smithereens or to persecuting & denying civil liberties to Muslim women or to denying refugees asylum.

Whether Nassar or the judges understood it intellectually & politically (a doubtful speculation), on a visceral, intellectual, & political level this fashion collection is an affront to Muslim women–in particular those women wearing burqas in Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, & elsewhere who were leading the Arab uprisings for democracy.

Diaphanous is lovely; it’s hard to go wrong wearing it to the prom or at a swanky beach party. But when it’s used to mock women who led the most momentous events of the past several years or Palestinian women opposing Israeli colonialism & apartheid, then it becomes cultural appropriation with sarcastic & malignant intent.

(Photo from runway in Vogue)

The Drumpf (German for turd)


Dick Cheney, the former vice president & hated war criminal (now only alive due to electronic fixtures), says he will support Drumpf for president.The Bush gang say they will not. Which one is more the kiss of death?

We wait with feverish anticipation for the lesser evil stuff around Drumpf & Clinton to kick in. The farce of this election will then become the reductio ad absurdum of electoral politics–as is fitting for president of the US during the era of neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism.

How long will European Union allow the refugee crisis to go on?

Athens, Greece makeshirt refugee tent (Alkis Konstantinidis:Reuters) May 7 2016

This is a boy in a makeshift shelter outside an unused airport in Athens, Greece which is being used to warehouse stranded refugees, most of them Afghans, since the EU is not allowing them to move north to other European countries.

An estimated 856,723 refugees arrived in Greece last year & an estimated 155,300 this year. It’s not certain how many gained entrance to other European countries. But since the Greek border is now hermetically sealed, some estimate nearly half-a-million refugees are stranded in Greece while the EU makes preparations to deport them back to Turkey. That’s a lot of people unaccounted for.

More than 370,000 of the refugees are children, including 90,000 unaccompanied children primarily from Afghanistan, Syria, Eritrea, & Iraq. Their lives are in grave danger because of EU policies.

How long is the EU going to let this situation go on? There is less media coverage of refugees in Greece now since the deportation procedures are going to be aggressive, violent, undemocratic. There is already plenty of evidence for refugees aggressively resisting authorities. So the devil’s pact between the EU & Turkey to forcibly deport them from Greece to Turkey will not go well.

Refugee & immigrant rights are a touchstone in politics today. If you do not stand against wars & sweatshop economics creating refugees & if you do not stand resolutely with refugee & immigrant rights to asylum, you should abandon political activism & take up twiddly-sticks.

Immigration is a human right. Open the damn borders.

(Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters)

Media singlehandedly tries to undo ‘pictures are worth a thousand lies’

Gaza May 2016 bombing (Mohammed Abed:AFP:Getty Images) Nay 7 2016

Pictures are worth a thousand lies but that doesn’t make photojournalism the truth-telling part of the media–especially around issues of war & occupation. That’s most apparent today in duplicitous photo coverage of Afghanistan, Palestine, & Kashmir. There is no war coverage of Iraq, Somalia, Pakistan worth mentioning & very little of Yemen & Syria.

Photo coverage of Israel’s 2014 carpet bombing siege of Gaza was extensive–necessarily–but this photo from the Guardian-UK typifies the coverage of the current bombing campaign in Gaza. Of the few photos editors are selecting for publication, most are of vehicles damaged by airstrikes & shot from peculiar angles like this one so you can’t tell what the hell is going on.

But it’s the caption to this photo that takes the cake for duplicity. It reads: “Gaza City–A Palestinian man inspects a damaged vehicle at his workshop after it was hit by an Israeli air strike. Four Hamas sites were targeted, the military said, as tensions flared along the border of the Palestinian territories. The spike in cross-border violence has raised concerns for the ceasefire that has held since summer 2014

What Hamas sites were targeted? Actually, what is a “Hamas site”?
Since Hamas is the elected government in Gaza, is it a public building like a post office or the tax revenue office? What exactly was the nature of those flaring tensions at the apartheid wall between Gaza & Israel? What is that “spike in cross-border violence” all about? Did Palestinian kids throw rocks at heavily armed Israeli border guards? Or much worse, call them naughty names?

And what is this nonsense about a ceasefire–as if two parties were at fault in Israel’s massive genocidal bombing of Gaza? In the past two years, Israel has repeatedly sent bombing sorties into Gaza so they aren’t concerned about that “ceasefire.” But Palestinians & their supporters have every reason for concern that Israel is revving up for another siege of Gaza.

As supporters, our mission is to build BDS & prepare for public rallies & forums to protest Israel aggression & ethnic cleansing.

(Photo by Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)