Thursday, December 29, 2011

Action in Solidarity with Egyptian Women on Friday in Oakland!

Bay Area women action in solidarity with the struggle of Egyptian women

Event Description:
Hello everyone. As most of you might know I'm Shimaa, an Egyptian activist currently visiting the Bay area to learn about occupy, speak about the revolution and the situation in Egypt and to connect occupy and Egyptian activists together.
The revolutionary women and girls struggling with the revolution and the systemic assaulting by the military in Egypt need the support and solidarity of their fellow Americans.
I'm no longer in Tahrir so feel obligated to do something here ASAP.
I would like us to have a solidarity rally and march that I'm pretty sure will be so much significant and will send a powerful message to our sisters back in Egypt.

3 pm come join us Dec the 30th at Occupy Oakland, bring signs and print pictures!
"Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway"
If you have the time I hope to see you there! Click the link at the top of this post for more information and to RSVP on the Facebook event page.

Edit: You can also go to this site for more information on upcoming Occupy/Decolonize actions for the month of January in the Bay area.

On This Day in 1890: Learn What Happened at Wounded Knee

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mattilda's Call For Submissions For Anthology on Queering #OWS

From Nobody Passes
Please forward far and wide…

Queering the Occupy Movement, Reimagining Resistance
Edited by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore


Ignited by the Arab Spring, uprisings in Greece and Spain, and protests in Wisconsin, Occupy Wall Street has brought corporate greed and structural inequality into the spotlight while claiming public space and refusing hierarchical models of resistance. "We are the 99%," the central slogan of the Occupy movement, has been crucial in rallying mass support. And yet, this slogan invokes a vision of sameness that stands in stark contrast to a queer analysis that foregrounds, cultivates, and nurtures difference. From Mortville, the queer camp at Occupy Baltimore, to the Feminists and Queers Against Capitalism bloc at the Oakland general strike, queers are playing central roles in Occupy spaces. But, what would it mean to bring a queer analysis to the forefront, going beyond the politics of inclusion to question the very terms of the debate?

For the first time in decades, perhaps there's a possibility for a mass movement demanding radical social change in the US. Still, most Occupy spaces remain straight, white, and male-dominated: how do we prevent the power imbalances intrinsic to previous movements? What about accountability within the 99%? How have Occupy spaces addressed (and failed to address) homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, racism, ableism, imperialism/patriotism, police brutality, anti-homeless territorialism, sexual assault, and other issues of structural, personal, and intimate violence? As struggles emerge to confront the colonial rhetoric of “occupying” indigenous land (and to address this history), what can a queer analysis bring to this challenge? What do queer struggles have to learn from Occupy/Decolonize movements, and what can Occupy/Decolonize movements learn from queer struggles?

I'm interested in missives from queers involved in Occupy/Decolonize movements, as well as from those veering between skeptical and inspired. I would love to hear about queer challenges within Occupy encampments large and small, across the country and around the world. Bring me your explosive analysis, your rants, your manifestoes, your journal entries, your rage and rigor and hope and heartbreak. In addition to written nonfiction work, I'm also interested in art, photography, posters, flyers, and other forms of visual documentation queering the Occupy movement – its goals and aspirations, its impact, its perils and possibilities.

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (AK Press 2012), and the author of two novels, most recently So Many Ways to Sleep Badly (City Lights 2008). More info on Mattilda at

Please send essays or written materials of up to 5000 words, as Word or text file attachments only, to Include a brief bio. Please send a query before submitting visual work. The deadline is March 20, 2012, although the earlier the better. Any questions, send them my way!
Sounds like a book I will be very interested to read!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Solstice!

For my area of the world the winter solstice is tonight, according to my Google-fu at 9:30 pm PST.  The candles are lit and the house is about to be swept.  So Happy Yule, everyone!  If the light returns after tonight then it will do so earlier and earlier from now on.  Stand watch, and welcome the Sun!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

V For Vendetta: Why I Liked the Movie Better Than the Book

Over the last week I read the graphic novel V For Vendetta. And as I finished it today I could not help thinking that it was not what I expected. In fact, although I know this to be highly blasphemous, on first read: I liked the movie better. I don't know that I have ever liked a movie version better than the book, so I found this revelation rather disturbing. It probably didn't help that I have seen so many fans of the book trash the movie adaptation either.

But, as I did what I usually do when something particularly troubling is bothering me (take a shower and think about it) I realized what bothered me about the book. It wasn't the violence or the more morally convoluted energy of the story or even the blunt anarchist propaganda of some passages (nothing wrong with propaganda in theory, but there was something jarring to me about it's application here), it was the individualism.

What the movie did really well was to express how V served as a catalyst, but for the overall vision to succeed it took the mobilization of people. A large mass of people. It took the community working together. It took an uprising. Surely that vision should look familiar these days, right? From Egypt to Oakland large amounts of people streaming out into the streets to oppose the powerful?

Anyway. In contrast, the book really relied on V as a spokesperson, as a LEADER, to mobilize the people. And so for all of his preaching of anarchism, V looked much more conventional to my First World eyes: the charismatic leader rallying his troops to revolution rooted in chaos and violence. I don't want to downplay the fact that he certainly was individually heroic in the movie too (maybe even "super-heroic," managing to take all those bullets and remain standing...)....but in the end the "victory" didn't rely on that, whereas in the book, it did.

Fundamentally I just don't believe that is how anarchism can succeed. This is why I am a SOCIALIST libertarian/anarchist, because I believe it takes us working together to protect each other, because I believe it takes community accountability, because I believe it takes self-awareness and openness to the needs of other people that are different from our own, to make a vision like anarchism realistic, because I believe it takes solidarity, real solidarity. (Look to the EZLN for a model that seems to be working as far as I can tell.)

In addition, the book's V required a replacement. Evey had to take up the costume to continue the work. While I get there is a sort of poetry to that (we can be/are all V!) I think it is less effective than the movie's version of this, wherein everyone in the crowd took up the mask TOGETHER, and less effective than the movie's version of Evey: who rejects V even as she loves him. She does not take up the mask, she fulfills V's last wish and then goes to build the better world. Book-Evey's taking up of the mask means she steps into his legacy and is symbolically walking in his footsteps. The people on the ground don't know this person is different from the one who started it all, and, again, maybe there is a kind of poetry in that, the duality of humanity encapsulated in one person...but it didn't work as effectively for me, that's all I know.

Because as V says in both versions: this new world has no place for him, the Destroyer. Movie-Evey's turning away from him (and what he did to her, even as she moved forward changed because of that experience and seems comfortable in her new skin) is precisely what is necessary for the new world he envisions, because there is no place for that kind of destruction in the building of a new world from the ashes of the old.  In fact I found book-Evey's willingness to continue to live with and trust V after he tortured her to border on misogynistic writing.

I will say this though, I did like the book's villains better than the movie's. In the book the villains seem so average and regular, as leaders are at the end of the day: they are just people. In the movie the villains are larger than life and VERY evil. In the case of the Leader, "larger than life" is meant quite literally. Of course this is compromised by the end when he is killed, and we see that he is just human after all - so I get what the Wachowskis were doing here - but this humanity is clear all the time in the book, and that was more effective for me in showing how those in power can be worked against and overthrown. In the end, even evil people are just people, we have to come to terms with that both in the sense of realizing they are mortal, and in the fact that we are both human and that their evil might reside within us as well.

So yeah. I do know that it usually takes more than one read to absorb everything a book is doing, but this was my discomfort as I read through this first time, and I don't know that I will read it again anytime soon, but I think this was worth writing out.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Review: Shadoweyes, Volume One

Shadoweyes, Volume One
Shadoweyes, Volume One by Ross Campbell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, the content was interesting, the story was intriguing and the characters were amazing. Not to do any spoilers but this text deals with several social issues and oppressed identities in ways I rarely see and I was impressed. Yes, the story was quick, but it seemed kinda par for the course with comics to me, and totally met my expectations. Can't wait to read Vol. 2!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Meditation on The Decemberists - This Is Why We Fight, and the Decolonize/Occupy Movement

It might be just me (and I realize this was released months ago but I saw it for the first time today), but this song seems like it should be the anthem of the Occupy/Decolonize movement.

While I was watching the video it just hit me really hard like, isn't the story being told (through the visuals, through the music) so much a story of the underclass choosing to stand up and just refuse to take the shit those in charge are dealing?  To refuse to continue to be controlled by fear and manipulation and coercion and force and false privilege any longer?

And particularly, that those who used to be aligned with/protected by those in charge need to abandon that and stand with the oppressed?

Even so far as that it took one of "their own" being thrown out of the protective circle of the powerful group to galvanize those who revolted to their realization?

It's so bittersweet and inspiring at the same time... Just like I feel about this movement...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Recommended Reading on Thanksgiving

Full disclosure: yes, my family gets together on this holiday and does the turkey dinner, and we thank Spirit for what we have been given that year and wish blessings on our own and the world in the coming days.  This has never been about the Pilgrims or in ignorance of the genocide that has built this country, but it does mimic the traditions passed down in the historical mythology of this settler colonial nation, and while I love this day for seeing family I don't get to see often and eating good food with them I am increasingly ambivalent about the holiday, even in the form we "celebrate" it.  At the very least I think that while we are giving thanks, it is a good time to also meditate on the things in our nation and communities that need to change, the destructive and violent cycles that need to end and that (in the national mythology) we trace to this event of The First Thanksgiving.

In that spirit I share this piece, please click the link to read the full essay: Original Occupation: Native Blood & the Myth of Thanksgiving
Intro to that first occupation
We are talking widely among ourselves about “occupying” Wall Street — taking the center of an empire back for the people of the world. We are talking about “Occupy Everything” — sharing our dreams of taking all society away from banks, police, and the heartless authority of money. We hope this moment marks a beginning of the end for them.
And yet, just such a moment cannot be understood without remembering that other occupation — the one that marked the beginning of their beginning.
Arrogant invaders occupied a land using the most naked forms of genocide. They invented new forms of slavery, slave trade and profit making. They arrived with their high-tech arms and bibles. They declared all was theirs by divine right, while they took it all with raw force.
Put another way:  That first occupation was a sweeping nightmare that starts with Columbus. It has continued for 500 years. For the Native peoples of today (and therefore for us too) it remains an ongoing story of domination and removal. The nation-state who today labels millions of indigenous descendants “illegal aliens” arrived in boats with only royal decrees and their holy book as documents of legitimacy.
Every schoolchild in the U.S. has been taught that the Pilgrims of the Plymouth Colony invited the local Indians to a major harvest feast after surviving their first bitter year in New England.
Here is the true story of that Thanksgiving  — a story of murder and theft, of the first “corporations” invented on North American soil, of religious fundamentalism and relentless mania for money. It is a story of the birth of capitalism.
This piece is intended to be shared at this holiday time.
Pass it on. Serve a little truth with the usual stuffing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance

(If anyone knows who took this photo I would love to know, a friend posted it on Facebook but they didn't know where it came from originally)

The list of the dead

Candles are lit for you tonight, sisters.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Indigenous Solidarity Teach-Ins at #DecolonizeOakland

From Facebook:
Press Release/Announcement
Decolonize Oakland (DeOccupy Oakland)
Sunday, 11/13, 5:00-6:00
Monday, 11/14, 4:00-5:00
Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland, California
Indigenous Solidarity Teach-Ins will explore some of the questions raised at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on October 28 when the Memorandum of Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples passed by a 97% voting majority.
What does it mean to acknowledge the United States as a colonial and imperial nation? What is colonialism and imperialism?
What does it mean to acknowledge that Oakland is already occupied land? Who are the Chochenyo Ohlone people?
What does decolonization and deoccupation of the United States and Oakland mean? What can it mean?
Come discuss and learn with each other.
Joanne Barker

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who Are The Real Cybermen? Reading the Ruptures in Doctor Who Novel Made of Steel

Pulling together the arguments of Tania Modleski (Loving With a Vengeance) and Janice Radway (Reading the Romance), I contend that the Doctor Who series of novels creates for the sci-fi geek what the Harlequin romance is for the (predominantly) women who read them.  Like Harlequins, these books are not taken seriously as “literature” but understood to be simply “fun” (read: not important or worth thinking about).  Eminently consumable, Doctor Who novels follow a known formula (The Doctor faces down monsters and/or aliens and he wins in the end) that has been popular enough to keep both the television series and accompanying books in production for nearly fifty years.  Through examining a recent “Quick Reads” Doctor Who novel, Made of Steel, as one star in a constellation of texts that I read across (Felski 512) I attempt to pinpoint what ruptures are allowed by this formula.

The mass market paperback: cheaply bound, 100-250 pages, fast paced stories meant to attract and satisfy as wide an audience as possible; a model championed and mastered by the Harlequin company (Modleski).  The appeal may already be obvious; such novels are easy to pick up and set down and do not require a huge commitment of time, and there is a known emotional “pay off” at the end because of several common formulas, of which readers may choose their favorite.  Similarly, such books are easy to produce cheaply, making even a very low sell-price profitable for the publisher.  Couple these elements with a wide readership and you have hit pay dirt; a highly consumable book form perfectly suited to the needs and desires of both a capitalist market and industrial society (During 193). 

Thus it should be no real surprise that in 2006, after the BBC’s “reboot” of British sci-fi classic Doctor Who was proving to pull in the ratings like few other television shows on the UK airwaves, they decided to continue the now common strategy of “branding across formats” (During 199) and re-mobilize their literature section in the production of Doctor Who themed novels.  Yet, this time around the BBC was not satisfied with producing only the standard 250 page versions of these books, opting to also begin a new line of all-original “quick reads” meant to “promote reading” by being an even more manageable 100-150 pages  (TARDIS Index File).  In addition to their shorter length, the production and distribution of these novels follows in the footsteps of Harlequin romances: they are only ever produced in mass market paperback (or ebook) forms and carry a price tag of just £1.99, making them incredibly affordable for both producer and consumer (Radway 13)

Friday, October 14, 2011

When Columbus got off the boat...

Via Fierce...Flawless...:
"When Columbus got off the boat, he asked us who we were. We said we’re the Human Beings, we’re the People. Conceptually the Europeans didn’t understand that, it was beyond their conceptual reality. They didn’t see us. They couldn’t see who we were. Historically speaking, we went from being Indians to pagans to savages to hostiles to militants to activists to Native Americans. It’s five hundred years later and they still can’t see us. we are still invisible. They don’t see us as human beings, but we’ve been saying to them all along that’s what we are. We are invisible to them because we are still the Human Beings, we’re still the People, but they will never call us that. They taught us to call ourselves Indians, now they’re teaching us to call ourselves Native Americans. It’s not who we are. We’re the People. They can’t see us as human beings. But they can’t see themselves as human beings. The invisibility is at every level, it’s not just that we’re tucked away out of sight. We’re the evidence of the crime. They can’t deal with the reality of who we are because then they have to deal with the reality of what they have done. If they deal with the reality of who we are, they have to deal with the reality of who they aren’t. So they have to fear us, not recognize us, not like us. The very fact of calling us Indians creates a new identity for us, an identity that began with their arrival. Changing identity, creating a new perceptual reality, is another form of genocide. It’s like severing a spiritual umbilical cord that reaches into the ancestral past. The history of the Indians begins with the arrival of the Europeans. The history of the People begins with the beginning of the history of the People. The history of the People is one of cooperation, collectivity, and living in balance. The history of the Indians is one of being attacked and genocide, rather than a history of peace and balance. The history of the People under attack, the Indians, in an evolutionary context, is not very long, it’s only five hundred years. The objective of civilizing us is to make Indian history become our permanent reality. The necessary objective of Native people is to outlast this attack, however long it takes, to keep our identity alive."
- John Trudell (Santee Sioux)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fuck Columbus

This is probably my least favorite holiday. I can't think of one I dislike more anyway. On the flip side if all goes according to plan I will be joining up with the Occupy Oakland demonstration (in solidarity/conjunction with Indigenous Resistance Day) after class tonight so please send good thoughts our way.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Decolonize Oakland October 10th #occupywallstreet

Via Dignidad Rebelde

Why have I titled this post "Decolonize Oakland"?  Because of this Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists and other similar critiques I've been reading this week.  I am sharing this event with you in particular because 1) it is local and that has always been a focus for me here and 2) it seems to acknowledge the important linkages between decolonization, indigenous resistance and this emerging "occupation" movement.

For more information on the event check out Occupy Oakland's Twitter account. Next planning meeting is TOMORROW.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Oakland Museum Shuts Down Palestinian Children’s Exhibit

The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland (MOCHA) has decided to cancel an exhibit of art by Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip. The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), which was partnering with MOCHA to present the exhibit, was informed of the decision by the Museum’s board president on Thursday, September 8, 2011. For several months, MECA and the museum had been working together on the exhibit, which is titled “A Child’s View of Gaza.” 
MECA has learned that there was a concerted effort by pro-Israel organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area to pressure the museum to reverse its decision to display Palestinian children’s art. 
Barbara Lubin, the Executive Director of MECA, expressed her dismay that the museum decided to censor this exhibit in contradiction of its mission “to ensure that the arts are a fundamental part of the lives of all children.”

Via Middle East Children's Alliance

Sunday, September 04, 2011

People, Not Places

People Not Places (Detroit, New York, Palestine, 12 min)
Directed by Iqaa The Olivetone
Score by Vaughan T (LABTECHS)
Produced by EMERGENCE and Palestine Education Project
lyrics & notes:​lyrics#people_not_places

This docu-music-video is based on the song of the same name by Invincible featuring Abeer and Suhell Nafar (DAM). Invincible plays two characters in the video: a Birthright Israel tour recruiter, styled as a used car salesman; and herself, subverting the recruiter’s mission by exposing the buried Palestinian significance of each location in the tour.

Invincible exposes the process of historic and continued colonization of Palestine as being even deeper than land seizure and ethnic cleansing, but one that attempts to erase the indigenous language, culture, and memory of Palestinians.

Intertwined with the music video are interviews that expose how Zionist claims to a Jewish “birthright” to Palestine have come at the expense of the Palestinian Right of Return to their indigenous land. These interviews show how the Right of Return of Palestinians is interconnected with the resistance of occupied and displaced refugee communities globally, from Turtle Island to Puerto Rico and beyond.

Please watch.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Must Read Link: Obama’s Department of Homeland Security Makes It Clear that Secure Communities Was Always Mandatory

Via VivirLatino:
"If there was any question about whether the Secure Communities deportation program was voluntary, we are one step closer to a clearer answer. On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the roll out of the program would be continuing and that all Memoranda Of Agreement (MOAs) with states that have implemented the program are terminated. In other words, the intentions of the administration are crystalline. States that have “opted out” like Illinois, New York and Massachusetts really never were meant to have that option and no one in the future will have that option. Deportation is the Obama’s administration’s commitment to the the immigration reform process."
Read the rest at the link!

Monday, August 08, 2011

Read This: On the London Riots

From Penny Red: Panic on the streets of London.
"Violence is rarely mindless. The politics of a burning building, a smashed-in shop or a young man shot by police may be obscured even to those who lit the rags or fired the gun, but the politics are there. Unquestionably there is far, far more to these riots than the death of Mark Duggan, whose shooting sparked off the unrest on Saturday, when two police cars were set alight after a five-hour vigil at Tottenham police station. A peaceful protest over the death of a man at police hands, in a community where locals have been given every reason to mistrust the forces of law and order, is one sort of political statement. Raiding shops for technology and trainers that cost ten times as much as the benefits you’re no longer entitled to is another. A co-ordinated, viral wave of civil unrest across the poorest boroughs of Britain, with young people coming from across the capital and the country to battle the police, is another.

Months of conjecture will follow these riots. Already, the internet is teeming with racist vitriol and wild speculation. The truth is that very few people know why this is happening. They don’t know, because they were not watching these communities."
Please go to Penny Red and read the rest.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Continuing Saga of Glen Cove

"Activists continue to defend the ancient indigenous burial ground at Glen Cove, south of Vallejo, California, against plans by the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (a local parks and recreation administration) to build a parking lot, restrooms, paved trail etc on the burial site. June 11th, 2011, marked the 59th day of protest at the site with over 250 people participating. Food for the protesters was brought in by a local Indian restaurant and by the Santa Barbara chapter of the American Indian Movement and the South Central Farmers. Indigenous groups with historical ties to the site include the Ohlone, Patwin (Wintun), Bay Miwok, Coast Miwok, Wappo, and Tule River Yokuts."
See previous coverage of this story on The Jaded Hippy here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Justice for Palestine: A Call to Action from Indigenous and Women of Color Feminists

I received this in my email today.

Please distribute widely:

Between June 14 and June 23, 2011, a delegation of 11 scholars, activists, and artists visited occupied Palestine. As indigenous and women of color feminists involved in multiple social justice struggles, we sought to affirm our association with the growing international movement for a free Palestine. We wanted to see for ourselves the conditions under which Palestinian people live and struggle against what we can now confidently name as the Israeli project of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. Each and every one of us—including those members of our delegation who grew up in the Jim Crow South, in apartheid South Africa, and on Indian reservations in the U.S.—was shocked by what we saw. In this statement we describe some of our experiences and issue an urgent call to others who share our commitment to racial justice, equality, and freedom.

During our short stay in Palestine, we met with academics, students, youth, leaders of civic organizations, elected officials, trade unionists, political leaders, artists, and civil society activists, as well as residents of refugee camps and villages that have been recently attacked by Israeli soldiers and settlers. Everyone we encountered—in Nablus, Awarta, Balata, Jerusalem, Hebron, Dheisheh, Bethlehem, Birzeit, Ramallah, Um el-Fahem, and Haifa—asked us to tell the truth about life under occupation and about their unwavering commitment to a free Palestine. We were deeply impressed by people’s insistence on the linkages between the movement for a free Palestine and struggles for justice throughout the world; as Martin Luther King, Jr. insisted throughout his life, “Justice is indivisible. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Traveling by bus throughout the country, we saw vast numbers of Israeli settlements ominously perched in the hills, bearing witness to the systematic confiscation of Palestinian land in flagrant violation of international law and United Nations resolutions. We met with refugees across the country whose families had been evicted from their homes by Zionist forces, their land confiscated, their villages and olive groves razed. As a consequence of this ongoing displacement, Palestinians comprise the largest refugee population in the world (over five million), the majority living within 100 kilometers of their natal homes, villages, and farmlands. In defiance of United Nations Resolution 194, Israel has an active policy of opposing the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their ancestral homes and lands on the grounds that they are not entitled to exercise the Israeli Law of Return, which is reserved for Jews.

In Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in eastern occupied Jerusalem, we met an 88-year-old woman who was forcibly evicted in the middle of the night; she watched as the Israeli military moved settlers into her house a mere two hours later. Now living in the small back rooms of what was once her large family residence, she defiantly asserted that neither Israel’s courts nor its military could ever force her from her home. In the city of Hebron, we were stunned by the conspicuous presence of Israeli soldiers, who maintain veritable conditions of apartheid for the city’s Palestinian population of almost 200,000, as against its 700 Jewish settlers. We crossed several Israeli checkpoints designed to control Palestinian movement on West Bank roads and along the Green Line. Throughout our stay, we met Palestinians who, because of Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and plans to remove its native population, have been denied entry to the Holy City. We spoke to a man who lives ten minutes away from Jerusalem but who has not been able to enter the city for twenty-seven years. The Israeli government thus continues to wage a demographic war for Jewish dominance over the Palestinian population.

We were never able to escape the jarring sight of the ubiquitous apartheid wall, which stands in contempt of international law and human rights principles. Constructed of twenty-five-foot-high concrete slabs, electrified cyclone fencing, and winding razor wire, it almost completely encloses the West Bank and extends well east of the Green Line marking Israel’s pre-1967 borders. It snakes its way through ancient olive groves, destroying the beauty of the landscape, dividing communities and families, severing farmers from their fields and depriving them of their livelihood. In Abu Dis, the wall cuts across the campus of Al Quds University through the soccer field. In Qalqiliya, we saw massive gates built to control the entry and access of Palestinians to their lands and homes, including a gated corridor through which Palestinians with increasingly rare Israeli-issued permits are processed as they enter Israel for work, sustaining the very state that has displaced them. Palestinian children are forced through similar corridors, lining-up for hours twice each day to attend school. As one Palestinian colleague put it, “Occupied Palestine is the largest prison in the world.”

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance. Everywhere we went we met people who had either been imprisoned themselves or had relatives who had been incarcerated. Twenty thousand Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons, at least 8,000 of them are political prisoners and more than 300 are children. In Jerusalem, we met with members of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are being protected from arrest by the International Committee of the Red Cross. In Um el-Fahem, we met with an Islamist leader just after his release from prison and heard a riveting account of his experience on the Mavi Marmara and the 2010 Gaza Flotilla. The criminalization of their political activity, and that of the many Palestinians we met, was a constant and harrowing theme.

We also came to understand how overt repression is buttressed by deceptive representations of the state of Israel as the most developed social democracy in the region. As feminists, we deplore the Israeli practice of “pink-washing,” the state’s use of ostensible support for gender and sexual equality to dress-up its occupation. In Palestine, we consistently found evidence and analyses of a more substantive approach to an indivisible justice. We met the President and the leadership of the Arab Feminist Union and several other women’s groups in Nablus who spoke about the role and struggles of Palestinian women on several fronts. We visited one of the oldest women’s empowerment centers in Palestine, In’ash al-Usra, and learned about various income-generating cultural projects. We also spoke with Palestinian Queers for BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions], young organizers who frame the struggle for gender and sexual justice as part and parcel of a comprehensive framework for self-determination and liberation. Feminist colleagues at Birzeit University, An-Najah University, and Mada al-Carmel spoke to us about the organic linkage of anti-colonial resistance with gender and sexual equality, as well as about the transformative role Palestinian institutions of higher education play in these struggles.

We were continually inspired by the deep and abiding spirit of resistance in the stories people told us, in the murals inside buildings such as Ibdaa Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp, in slogans painted on the apartheid wall in Qalqiliya, Bethlehem, and Abu Dis, in the education of young children, and in the commitment to emancipatory knowledge production. At our meeting with the Boycott National Committee—an umbrella alliance of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations, including the General Union of Palestinian Women, the General Union of Palestinian Workers, the Palestinian Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel [PACBI], and the Palestinian Network of NGOs—we were humbled by their appeal: “We are not asking you for heroic action or to form freedom brigades. We are simply asking you not to be complicit in perpetuating the crimes of the Israeli state.”

Therefore, we unequivocally endorse the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations. We reject the argument that to criticize the State of Israel is anti-Semitic. We stand with Palestinians, an increasing number of Jews, and other human rights activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the Israeli occupation.

We call upon all of our academic and activist colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere to join us by endorsing the BDS campaign and by working to end U.S. financial support, at $8.2 million daily, for the Israeli state and its occupation. We call upon all people of conscience to engage in serious dialogue about Palestine and to acknowledge connections between the Palestinian cause and other struggles for justice. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Rabab Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University*
Ayoka Chenzira, artist and filmmaker, Atlanta, GA
Angela Y. Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz*
Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz*
G. Melissa Garcia, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University*
Anna Romina Guevarra, author and sociologist, Chicago, IL
Beverly Guy-Sheftall, author, Atlanta, GA
Premilla Nadasen, author, New York, NY
Barbara Ransby, author and historian, Chicago, IL
Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University*
Waziyatawin, University of Victoria*
*For identification purposes only 
For press inquiries, please contact

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Is 'The Bay' An Island?

How Fetishizing the Bay Area Hurts Our Movements and Communities (an excerpt):

"Queers use markers as code to communicate with each other. White queers sometimes use markers that are appropriated in problematic ways. In this case, the bright colors and spandex wasn’t troublesome in and of itself—it was that this homogenous group of white people (a dominant group) was occupying public space in a big way and in direct relationship to the violence of gentrification in that neighborhood. The answer isn’t to not ever wear spandex or be fabulous. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m excited, as white queers, to find solutions that aren’t punitive while we figure out how to create markers and communicate with each other in ways that don’t harm or alienate anyone."

"I want to think through the ways people (and sometimes organizations) speak about “The Bay” in a way that flattens and makes organizing cultures and frames of reference inaccessible for a lot of people, especially people who grew up around here."

"For young white people, Oakland is a cool place to live. Berkeley is not. I’ve lived in Berkeley and know a good crew of folks who do. When young white people tell other young white people we live in Oakland, we are affirmed and admired. When folks say they live in Berkeley, it’s not so cool, and sometimes comes with a smirk or raised eyebrow. What in our imagination makes Oakland cool? The mystique of danger? Gentrification? The political history? Brown people? What does this say about who we really think lives where?"

The above are only excerpts of a larger flow and argument, please click the link at the top to read Savannah's whole work and to consider the conversation she is trying to begin.

And while this is specific to the Bay, I doubt we're the only area where these or similar politics are playing out.

Speaking only for myself, she's touching on some issues here that have stuck in my mind as a Bay Area "native" for years; things I have yet to resolve for myself and would be really interested in working with others to figure out.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Jay Smooth: Martin Luther King on Extremism

Something to think about.

Something I am thinking about as someone who is called an "extremist" from time to time, and who is often in conversations in which the idea that "extremism" is always bad is often touted.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Old Will Die and the Young Will Forget: Zionist Discourses and State-building in Israel/Palestine

Another installment of "What has whatsername been working on in school?"[1]


“I pray that all [readers of this book] may unite in the resolve that evil forces will never again be permitted to set one people against another”
– Alicia Appleman-Jurman[2]

The first time I remember coming across the name “Palestine” was in a Holocaust memoir by Alicia Appleman-Jurman called Alicia: My Story.  I was probably thirteen years old.  Although the facts of this remembering are highly suspect at this point, the truth of it as a personal historical moment was formative in my developing political consciousness and thus cannot be dismissed out of hand.  As I remember it, Alicia hears from a fellow Holocaust survivor that European Jews have started congregating in Palestine as a safe haven after the Holocaust and Russian pogroms.  Palestine is presented as the ancient site of the Jewish homeland (Eretz Yisrael) and as safely out of the reach of genocidal and antisemitic Europe.  At the time, and after having just read in detail how horrible the Holocaust was, this information made sense to me and I recall feeling happy that the people of Palestine were willing to accept this influx of immigrants with something like open arms, something that Europe apparently was incapable of.

As the years went by I remember hearing about the “troubles” in Israel and being puzzled by them.  When did this area go from a safe haven to a place where one could not go grocery shopping without fear of a suicide bomber (or so the narratives in the United States media went)?  Of course, what I never thought to ask myself was: “When did Palestine become Israel?”  Naively, I suppose I assumed that such a transition would have been for the common good, as Jewish people had settled there as a safe haven.  Surely these settlers wouldn’t treat those already living in the area the way the United States had treated its indigenous population.  But slowly, bits and pieces of information incongruous to my understanding of Palestine/Israel as a welcoming safe haven for post-Holocaust Jews began to trouble me. Finally, well over a decade after my initial exposure to that formative personal narrative I read another memoir, In Search of Fatima by Ghada Karmi.  Just a child in 1948, Ghada and her family escaped Palestine for England just before Israel’s declaration of Independence. 

What intrigued me most about this second text was the recounting of the author’s childhood up to this point of exodus.  The question I should have asked all those years ago began to be answered as I read of the waves of immigration and resistance to them, of the terrorism perpetuated against Arabs as well as Jews and ultimately the British abandonment of the region in an “inexcusably abrupt and reckless fashion” (Shlaim 50) and resulting war between Arab and Jew (such as it was presented in the memoir).  The connection between these two narratives, one of a Zionist immigrant and another of a Palestinian, both just, or little more than, girls in that same time and place, will forever be intertwined in my memory as the tragedy and promise of Palestine/Israel.  I begin with this recounting as it is important to understanding my stakes and investment in this project. 

In keeping with that aim, I must admit that while my knowledge regarding Israel/Palestine has deepened in the months spent working on this current project, I continually feel the immensity of what I still do not know.  Knowledge gleaned from one source will be hotly contested by another, where both seem to be intellectually honest, academically rigorous and personally sincere; thus confounding most aims to finding “the truth” of the facts on the ground.  This caveat is important to understanding this project because it must be clear that this essay is not comprehensive; the scope is limited.  In particular, my interest solidified around the question of Arab expulsion from the areas which would become the present-day state of Israel.  I have become fascinated by the recurring rhetoric regarding this expulsion; particularly the discourse around the nakba (catastrophe), otherwise known as Israel’s declaration of Independence in 1948, and it is about this which I will write.

In this paper I will argue that the state of Israel pursued a program of formalized expulsion against Palestinians as a necessary nation-state-building exercise.  In proving this argument I will examine the discourses upon which politicians, philosophers and other Zionist groups based their work.  To begin, I will justify my project, illustrating why this particular investigation constitutes a puzzle to be solved.  Then I will turn to a discussion of the way in which three specific discourses produced national ideological currency.  Next, I will discuss the modern subject and the discourse surrounding it, which appears at first to contradict the thrust of the previous three, but in fact buttresses them.  Finally, I turn to a discussion of the competing nationalisms within Palestine/Israel and the way in which they were facilitated by the discourses discussed thus far.  In my conclusion I will examine how these ideas have maintained circulation in popular media and how they have facilitated Israel’s ability to solidify and preserve their international image as a valid, modern democracy in the Middle East, paying particular attention to the way in which this information may prove to be vital in considering the creation of a lasting peace.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Support for the Community Garden Effort in Dover Street Park, North Oakland

From Phat Beets Produce: Media Advisory

Over the last year, with permission from the city, the neglected and unused perimeter of this public park has been transformed by the Dover St. Neighborhood Group and Phat Beets Produce. Replacing overgrown weeds are a 4000 square foot vegetable and herb garden and a recently planted 25 tree fruit orchard. Also added over the past year is a large food justice themed community mural created by the Community Rejuvenation Project. The project receives no money from the City of Oakland. All of this activity has contributed to far greater use of the park by the neighborhood and a heightened sense of community.
Now, a year later, Oakland Parks and Recreation have recommended the removal of 1/3 of the fruit trees and to limit future edible landscaping on most of the park perimeter. Concerned neighbors are invited to speak up for food justice and to demand much needed policy change regarding local, sustainable food production in Oakland Public Parks.
Please consider signing this petition (and if you are local, coming to the meeting).
Petition: Support for the Community Garden Effort in Dover Street Park
Meeting: Wednesday, June 8th, 4:30pm
Lakeside Park Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Avenue – next to Lake Merritt

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

“Who’s the Queer?”

Queer Themes and Neoliberalism in the BBC’s Torchwood

“Entertaining, engaging stories become popular. They become narratives that shape our cultures…embedded in our daily existence…they become our lived reality”  
– Robin Wright [1]

This essay is an exploration of the UK-based television series Torchwood and its unique productions of cultural knowledge.  The central questions of that exploration are: first, how does this show queer science fiction television/the crime procedural, and second, what does that queering produce?  In short, I argue that by utilizing familiar genre tropes (such as the “conflicted hero” and “good versus evil” story lines) Torchwood performs a televisual disidentificatory practice, deploying the familiar in unfamiliar ways and queering an otherwise normative masculine hero (Captain Jack Harkness).  By comforting us with these familiar tropes Torchwood is able to infiltrate our minds with queer ideas about partnership, sex and, importantly the nature of the world around us.  As a useful and productive juxtaposition to illuminate how these ideas work in practice, I demonstrate how Torchwood is effectively the anti-24 (24 being an immensely popular and in some ways thematically similar drama from the United States); using similar tropes and themes to dramatically different outcomes. 

My methodology is one of bridging cultural studies and feminist, queer and critical race theory in an examination of one particular contemporary popular culture item so as to deconstruct and analyze the various messages and ideas propagated by it.  Primarily, I utilize Jose Muñoz’ theory of disidentification as the foundation for my argument.  While Muñoz conceptualized his theory with live performance art in mind, the idea of inhabiting as well as contesting an image thereby producing a different and new image or concept can, in my view, be applied easily to almost any visual medium.  In addition, this theory is instructive and useful to my project because “disidentification is not an apolitical middle ground,” in fact, “its political agenda is clearly indebted to antiassimilationist thought,” although “it departs from antiassimilationist rhetoric for reasons that are both strategic and methodological” (Muñoz 18).  The distinctions Muñoz makes clear here are important to my own argument, which suggests that in embodying common tropes Torchwood is able to create new knowledges through a queer deployment of those tropes.  Just as its plots deploy the uncanny to frighten or discomfort its viewership (Rawcliffe 102), so too its “queer moments” disturb the waters of the desired sexual dichotomy (Sullivan 191).

I choose this path of argument because it seems to me that it is in the uncomfortable borderlands of the cultural productions these disciplines study where knowledge is being produced in the television viewership every week.  In undertaking this particular work, I take seriously Nikki Sullivan’s assertion that “queering popular culture…involves critically engaging with cultural artefacts in order to explore the ways in which meaning and identity is (inter)textually (re)produced” (190).  I understand both the queer themes of Torchwood and my current explorations of themes, both explicitly queer and not, as operating within this ideological construction of “queering popular culture.”  I choose to engage in this project, centered around a popular culture (and for much of its life, subcultural) text, because of a personal and observed belief in the power of stories in shaping the world we live in. 

Indeed, the power of fictional stories in the development of people’s beliefs is shared by Robin Wright, documents in her work the ways in which adult education teachers have been able to use fiction to challenge hegemonic cultural perspectives, as well as the way the television we watch aids in perpetuating hegemonic political discourse (Wright).  This belief is also reinforced by scientific research, for example, one such study “concluded that the use of fiction…to introduce a socio-scientific issue in the classroom stimulates students to develop their opinion-forming skills” (Knippelsab, Severiensa and Klopa).  Although this is hardly an exhaustive list in corroboration of my previously articulated assertion, these texts combined with the way in which we use stories and folk tales in the education of children and in everyday relations with each other suggest to a satisfactory extent the marked significance of stories.  Thus, my stakes in this work is high, as like Wright, I see in the stories we tell the potential for authoring and disseminating “alternative scripts for human interactions the promote liberty, equality, intellectual growth and community” (Wright 50).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Review: Heat Wave

Heat Wave (Nikki Heat, #1)Heat Wave by Richard Castle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reads just like watching Castle on TV...but with sex scenes.

View all my reviews

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

[Image description: A young white woman with brown hair (this blog's author) 
wearing white and blue swimming shorts, flip flops and a blue t-shirt 
hugs a large redwood tree and smiles broadly with her eyes closed. 
Small round specks sort of like bubbles dot the photo 
where a light mist had covered the camera lens.]

Hug a tree, it's good for you! :)

Friday, April 15, 2011

TransFeminist Community - Sex Worker Zine Project

Submission Deadline: May 1, 2011:
"The Sex Worker Zine Project seeks to create a zine showcasing the diversity of sex workers’ experiences of all genders, sexualities, ages, abilities, nationalities, immigration statuses, races, and ethnic backgrounds. International submissions encouraged! This yet to be titled zine will be printed in full cover and will be available for sale with profits supporting the work of SWOP-NYC. All accepted contributors will receive a free copy of the completed zine. This zine is intended to be informal, informational, and accessible."
Click the link above for all the details, sounds like a really interesting project!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This Friday: Rally To Stop The Violence

via « Transgression:
"Come out on Friday, April 15th for a Demonstration of Power
Gather at 6pm at 16th St. BART Station

On the evening of Friday, April 1, 2011, a young transgender woman was violently attacked near the 16th and Mission BART station.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people, low-income and homeless people, immigrants, people of color, young people, and women in our neighborhood face daily harassment, violence, and profiling, and have fewer and fewer resources for support. We must work together to stop the violence, heal, and reclaim our neighborhood!"

Go to the link for all the info!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Doctor Horrible Sequel Moving Along Slowly But Surely

Jed Whedon: Captain Hammer is comedy gold | Los Angeles Times:
"JP: There’s been talk of a sequel. How far along is the planning for it, if at all?

JW: We have some songs, a rough outline, and no time. Though I have a feeling that when Joss is finished making his massive, expensive superhero movie, he will want nothing more than to make a tiny, cheap superhero movie. With songs."

This pleases me. And so I thought I would share it with the rest of you! The interview also has a few other interesting related details.

Friday, April 01, 2011

We Are One: April 4 Day of Action

From the site: "On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with sanitation workers demanding their dream: The right to bargain collectively for a voice at work and a better life. The workers were trying to form a union with AFSCME.

Beginning with worship services over the April 1 weekend, and continuing through the week of April 4, unions, people of faith, civil and human rights activists, students and other progressive allies will host a range of community- and workplace-focused actions.

Join us in solidarity with working people in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and dozens of other states where well-funded, right-wing corporate politicians are trying to take away the rights Dr. King gave his life for: the freedom to bargain, to vote, to afford a college education and justice for all workers, immigrant and native-born. It’s a day to show movement. Teach-ins. Vigils. Faith events. A day to be creative, but clear:

See the link for your local action!!

List of Bay Area events current as of April 1 below the cut:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Cometbus #54 - In China With Green Day

In China With Green Day (Cometbus #54)In China With Green Day by Aaron Cometbus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Unlike anything about Green Day I can remember reading before.

Though there were times where I wanted to tell the author "wait, go back, I want to hear about that other thing!" he also managed to really take me with him on a sometimes nostalgic, sometimes frustrated, emotional journey.

Without getting into too much of spoiler territory I will just say that by chapter 20 I had a lump in my throat.

"Seeing them up close made me forget the cultural behemoth that they had become. Seeing them from afar made it easy to forget that they were human too." This, I think, is a quote that will stand out for me as I think about this zine later - and one which gives you a hint of what sort of story Aaron Cometbus ends up telling in its pages.

If you love Green Day... Not if you thinks they are ok, but if you really love them. And especially if you have been through a lot with them as a fan, I could not more highly recommend this to you. I am so happy to have read it.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SF Bay Area Free Event: Rebel Shamans - Women Confront Empire

From: Suppressed Histories

March 18, 2pm:
Priestesses, diviners and medicine women stand out as leaders of aboriginal liberation movements against conquest, empire, and cultural colonization. This visual presentation looks at how Indigenous and African Diasporic women draw on their cultural traditions to resist colonization --and how, by virtue of who they are and where they stand in the social order, their personal access to direct, transformative power makes the spiritual political. Nehanda Nyakasikana, Kimpa Vita

Berkeley City College, Room 431
2050 Center St. Berkeley CA 94704 (1 block E of BART)

Free! (Donations welcome) All are welcome. Wheelchair accessible.
Heritage posters, art prints, magnets and notecards will be for sale.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Rally Against Gang Injunction TODAY March 4 in Oakland

From the Facebook Event page:
In addition to listening to organizers of all ages from all over Oakland, including Angela Davis, speak out against gang injunctions, there will be theater and performances (Including Boots Riley from The Coup) at the rally. Free Childcare will be provided*

OUR STRUGGLES ARE LINKED: fighting against the injunctions throughout the state of California is directly linked to fighting for affordable housing, more jobs, better education, free, relevant and empowering programs for youth and formerly incarcerated people, and free health care. As money and resources are squeezed out of the basic services our communities need for survival, health, and sustainability, money continues to be funneled into institutions of social control, like policing and imprisonment. As part of this trend, gang injunctions specifically have been used throughout the United States since the late 1980's as a major suppression tactic by police forces (over 30 injunctions were enacted in Los Angeles County alone from 1993-2000). Gang injunctions have been enacted in Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, and Orange County.

Fighting injunctions is a local, statewide and national issue.

How You Can Support:

* If you/your organization is located outside of Oakland, please come to town and/or holler at us for support in getting here.
* Announce these events at any upcoming meetings and invite members of your organizations in person, by email, text, facebook and every other means possible.
* If you work with young people or in schools, you can help expand our Day of Education on Wed March 2nd by talking about the injunctions with your students/participants (Contact us for more information).

By working together we can stop the spread of gang injunctions in our


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bay Area Event - Girl Talk: A Trans & Cis Woman Dialogue

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
7:00pm – 10:00pm
San Francisco LGBT Community Center – Ceremonial Room
1800 Market Street between Octavia & Laguna 
Tickets: $12-$20 (no one turned away!)
Please go to this link for ALL the information!

Friday, February 25, 2011

White Supremacist Shawna Forde Sentenced To Death For Double Murder In Arizona

Link: "Shawna Forde, whom a jury convicted last week of murdering nine-year-old Brisenia Flores and her father, Raul Flores, was sentenced to death by an Arizona jury on Tuesday. The unanimous jury ruling is binding.

The court found that Forde led a group of anti-immigrant vigilantes in a March 2009 raid on the Flores home, where they posed as immigration agents and pushed their way through the door.
The case was not designated as a hate crime, despite Forde's long history with anti-immigrant organizations. She once maintained a Tea Party blog, was a member of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and has presented herself as a representative of Federation for American Immigration Reform. (All three have since distanced themselves from her.) After being cast out from the Minuteman group due to erratic behavior, she formed her own vigilante group, called Minutemen American Defense, which also patrolled the United States-Mexico border trying to detect illegal immigration."
Being as I don't believe in the death penalty and being as this is hardly going to change the situation for un/documented Latin@s in this country I have very...mixed...feelings about this. But there it is.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A really cool and useful post: "how to support a revolution"

how to support a revolution « guerrilla mama medicine

what i learned in the past month and past 31 years…

–offer free babysitting for folks who are going to hit the streets or do other kinds of work/revolt that is more difficult with children around

–let people sleep on your couch, bed, mattress, floor. offer crash space.

–if you have internet. share internet w those who dont.

–keep the bar stocked.

–keep cigarettes stocked

–if you have al jazeera english. let folks come over and watch. call folks with the latest news if you know they dont have access.

–keep basic first aid supplied handy

This is just an excerpt, click the link and read it all!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bieber: Don't Touch Esperanza's Hair!

Dear White People. This is what you shouldn’t do. Ever. Like ever ever. Like—EVER. Ever.
Yes, her hair is awesome. But just admire it from afar. K, Biebs?

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Received this not long ago in my inbox:

Please circulate this, and try to come tomorrow. 
Watch for a coming email announcing SF vigil action on Saturday. Busy weekend! Please send me opt-ins or outs of endorsements.

Emergency Rally in Solidarity with the Egyptian People

Friday, February 11, 2011
UN Plaza (Market St. between 7th & 8th Sts.), San Francisco

Why: After 17 days of nationwide street protests demanding regime change, after 300+ peaceful demonstrators were murdered by state security, on February 10th Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's much-anticipated address to the nation defiantly announced he is staying on and blamed "foreign influences" for the "unrest." The Egyptian liberation movement has declared February 11th a national martyr's day.We will stand with them, hold our hands in prayer, and tell their stories.

 Our primary objective is to support the unified demands of the Egyptian people:
1. Immediate end to Egyptian state violence against civilian protesters, journalists and human rights group; immediate release of political prisoners.
2. Immediate and orderly transition of power from Mubarak to an interim government.
3. Dissolving parliament and forming an interim national unity committee from all spectra.
4. Elect a new parliament as soon as possible through fair and free elections.
5. Revising the Egyptian constitution, primarily to allow for: a) guarantee political freedoms and equity; b) limit number of presidential terms
6. The Egyptian people have the right to choose their own leaders.

InquiriesOmar Ali,  415.244.4929  415.244.4929; Yasmin Samy,  510.379.8922  510.379.8922

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Review: New Spring: The Graphic Novel

New Spring: The Graphic NovelNew Spring: The Graphic Novel by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall this is a really decent conversion of New Spring into a graphic novel. For the first seven chapters the artwork is just beautiful, almost making up for years of the crappy TOR cover art of the Wheel of Time, and in general the story was converted with care. I most definitely enjoyed reading this novel.

HOWEVER, I don't know what happened with chapter eight, but suddenly the artwork was shit and the typos in the text went through the roof. I'm being hyperbolic but the decrease in quality really was that noticeable. I don't know if a new artist came on board or what, but whatever went on created a terribly lackluster end to the book. I was too distracted by "is that supposed to be Moiraine? is that supposed to be Suian?" to really enjoy the final chapter.

Though it must be noted that the final chapter might have been kind of ruined anyway since it rushed through the climax of the original book. Now I've seen plenty of comics which have a least one "box" (don't know if this is the correct terminology) that is just a picture between two boxes that have text on them to great a sense of "pause" for dramatic effect. This desperately needed some of those.  Also needed were some boxes which conveyed the shock and drama of the climatic scenes through text.  But there were none of either.

It was a very disappointing ending to an otherwise enjoyable reading experience.

View all my reviews

Friday, February 04, 2011

International Day of Mobilization in Solidarity with the People of Egypt: February 5th (San Francisco, CA information)

I received this in my inbox this morning:
Dear Friends of BAWiB, 
To show our solidarity with freedom- and democracy-loving peoples of the Middle East, BAWiB [Bay Area Women in Black] asks you all to join us in the International Day of Mobilization, Saturday, Feb. 5, at UN Plaza, Market and 8th Sts., in San Francisco.  We will meet at the MacArthur bart station at 11:50 to take the 12:05 train, dressed in our usual black.
[...]We will not conduct our usual vigil tomorrow, as we believe that events in Egypt and other dictatorships propped up by US tax dollars require our full attention at this time. We are also horrified by the many reports of Israel sending weapons, including chemical weapons, to be used against anti-government protestors in Egypt. 
We are also asking you all to call the White House comment line, 202 456-1111 and urge Pres. Obama to withdraw military aid from Egypt. 
Steering Committee 
Bay Area Women in Black

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Tweeting without the internet?

A friend brought this to my attention: Google, Twitter build Speak to Tweet for Egyptians:
"Google, in combination with Twitter and its recently acquired SayNow engineers, has released a service for tweeting without an Internet connection.

Designed specifically for those on the ground in Egypt unable to communicate via the Internet with the outside world, Speak to Tweet allows anyone with a voice connection to dial three international numbers and have their voice messages sent out as tweets with the #egypt hash tag added to those links. "We hope that this will go some way to helping people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time," wrote Ujjwal Singh, co-founder of SayNow and AbdelKarim Mardini, product manager, Middle East & North Africa at Google, in a blog post.

The numbers are +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855 and no Internet connection is required. There are already dozens of messages on the Twitter profile.

The only remaining Internet service provider in Egypt, The Noor Group, was taken offline Monday, according to reports."
Thanks for being cool today Google.