putting it together

June 5, 2011 § 1 Comment

–the vol 3 of outlaw midwives is shaping up.  yay!  i am getting excited about the prospect of sitting on the floor and putting it together.

–we had a first installation show at water studio.  i still have to get up the pics from the show on the tumblr blog.  but the show was beautiful.  deconstruction, chaos, rough, lyrical visually.

–the bridge called my baby: lex and china and i have been working hard core on this book especially in the past month.  you guys!  it is going to be an amazing anthology!  working with lex and china is a dream.  i am so blessed, each of us have come to this place on a very different journey, but here we are.  sharing what we have learned along the way with each other.  also the good thing about working with three people, is someone can be out for one stage of the project, and the work continues with the other two.  this is useful since we all have multi faceted lives.

–i, more and more, want to publish a book of poetry.  i feel like i need an editor or mentor or someone who understands poetry books to help me go through my work, edit, select, think through the process…know of anyone like that?  let me know…

–and of course working on the memoir.   going to kick that writing into high gear this week.

–cal and aza are going to the states in late june.  most of my friends are going to europe for the summer.  and soon it will be just me and a few stragglers (ha ha)…i dont want to go to the states.  it just wouldnt be a space in which i could focus on my work/writing.  i would spend that month running around like a chicken with my head cut off, this family, that family, these friends, must see, must see, exhausted.  no one would be satisfied.  everyone would want more.  and i would be unhappy feeling like i was letting myself down in this crucial time when it comes to my writing/my art/my studies.

as much as sometimes i get homesick, i cant tell you what i am homesick for… because i dont really have a home.

but as much as i love cairo, i dont want to hang out here all summer either.  so i am thinking maybe europe for a quick trip….

 

how to support a revolution

February 17, 2011 § 3 Comments

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

–be a street medic. ( i will never forget the guy who came to me with coca cola to blow in my nose to off set the effects of tear gas.  it fucking worked.)

–if you can translate, do so.  like it was so helpful when we could watch state tv and have someone translate for us, or watch aje and vice versa for the arabic speakers.

–joke and laugh a lot.  morbid jokes are totally appropriate.

–trust chaos. (fighting it accomplishes nada)

–keep food stocked. (you never know who is coming by.  or when stores will be open or closed. )

–take pictures.  document.  reflect the revolution to the world.  tell the stories.

–fight. if you cant fight on the front lines, support the people who are fighting on the front lines.

–remember its not about you or me.  its about freedom.

–model self care.  (ppl who need to take time to take care of themselves are more likely to do so when they know that others around them are doing the same.)

 

outlaw midwives zine vol 2

January 27, 2011 § 7 Comments

(pic is of a the cover the outlaw midwives zine.  mama holding a baby, water, grass, children, greens, yellows, blues)

outlaw midwives vol 2!

so here is the draft of outlaw midwives vol 2.  uploaded onto scribd. 64 pages.

click here for the zine.

the upload to scribd was imperfect.  there are about two-three pages that for some reason didnt upload.  pretty random.  (i think it is because in general the internet has been running slower since the protests began in cairo.  the egyptian govt fucked with twitter as it is, since that and fb is where a lot of the organizing is happening for the protests)  so i am going to upload it again, but until then, enjoy this.

——

I love volume 2 of outlaw midwives.  I love it because it is full of personal stories from the frontlines of birth work and mothering.  As I printed out the articles and sat on the floor with glue stick and scissors, stapler and paper, I could hear the air crackle around me as the electric heater burnt slowly.  These pages are pointing to a path of liberation and magic.  To a place where justice = love.

These stories run the gamut, from supporting women’s access to abortion to discovering that breastfeeding can be painful and exhausting.  From questioning who homebirth is really for, to mamas discussing marginal identities in the natural birth community.  There are visions for what midwifery could be, should be, and what it should never have become.  Stories about death.  And yes, stories about birth.  Most of all, these are stories, our stories, that we need.

So please enjoy, pass along, and support outlaw midwives by any means necessary.

——-

cover art –soraya jean louis

bird blues baby—soraya jean louis

love, sister—soraya jean louis

outlaw midiwives and outlaws—ash johnsdottir

black women birthing resistance—cara page and tamika middleton

evidence-based medicine—gloria lemay

my secondary post-partum hemorrhage experience—rebecca j. haines-saah phd

love and lost, for julie—brooke benoit

homebirth and no home—da midwife

on birth and choice—pamela hines powell

abortion in florida—randi james

i wonder what would happen if midwives…—carla hartley

what they don’t tell you about breastfeeding—aaminah al-naksibendi

stepping out—mai’a, aaminah al-naksibendi, amy gow, Patrice nichole byers, china

body pirate: how my body was taken hostage by a nursing toddler—laurel ripple carpenter

the c-section—alexis gumbs

a hard rains a-gonna fall—ash johnsdottir

——

also in this zine you will find call for submissions for the bridge called my baby anthology and for outlaw midwives vol 3.

with love,

mai’a

not a resource

January 25, 2011 § 6 Comments

1.  so this kinda weird thing happened.  i wrote this lil post about my experiences with a birthy magazine.  and really i just wrote it for me, so i could get over my creative block and get on with what i thought was really important.  and really i didnt think that anyone would really care about it.  cause im little. they are big.  that is just the way things are.

anyways a couple of birthy folks i know contacted me about it.  and one of them asked if she could post it to this doula forum.  and then there was a whole discussion about it.  but, i didnt write the post b/c i was trying to call the birthy mag out, i wrote it because one, it was the truth and two, i needed to blog it to move on.

what was weird that means that a bunch of people who i dont think normally read my work, and thus didnt understand the context of that post, responded in ways that were…off.  i mean this blog is 3 1/2 years old, its covered a good amount of ground.  and one of my intentions with this blog was that it was not going to focus on anti-racism.  (i was an anti racism consultant/trainer and got really burnt out and traumatized from the work…) i spend months not mentioning racism.  but still the posts that get the most coverage are the ones that center critical race theory.

i admit i am a little frustrated by this.  i am totally totally cool with people sharing my work.  i just get frustrated being pigeonholed or boxed in to ‘anti racism’ chick/resource.  i mean look at the categories bar (oh wait i dont think that shows on this blog theme) well, there isnt even a category for racism… i dont want to be a resource.  to quote ash ( who i think is quoting utah phillips) ‘you are a human resource.  do you know what happens to resources?  want to know?  look at mines, mountains demolished for coal, rivers that have been damned, the ocean the animals.”

i mean you can flip back a year ago and read how i dont identify as radical and how i posit woc as a term of privilege in relationship to the third world women in response to being told by radical women of color basically — your life doesnt count like ours does.  and that had more to do with us-centrism and the fact that i dont live in the us.

anyways, it was kinda weird.  a bit draining.  to see my approach to life decontextualized.

2. oh and to random birthy blog ladies who have their panties all in a tizzy because i told you, you dont save childbearing folk, they save themselves…

if you have time to write extensive critiques of me, then you have time to check your facts first, do some research, use the motherfucking google.  because it seems to me it would be a better use of your time to understand what and who you are talking about rather than straight up attacking me on spurious self-righteous charges.

srsly though.  this blog is written by a woman who a few months ago told me that i was such a great resource on anti-racism and imperialism when i made a comment on fb…so yeah…just to make a clear…

im not a fucking resource.

***inspired by something bfp said a few days ago…

space in between the buzzwords

December 25, 2010 § 2 Comments

so i have been (slowly slowly) working on the outlaw midwives zine vol 2.  i really love the submissions.  am inspired. get excited.  and then there comes this block.  and i just came seem to move.

what it comes down to is frustration.  see, over a year ago i put out the call for submissions for outlaw midwives vol 1.  i hadnt seen that many places publishing centered around birth, racism, violence – structural and direct, critiques of the natural birth movement/industry, practical advice for marginalized new mamas, etc.  what i had been looking for when i was preggers, birthing, breastfeeding.  so i decided i wanted to create a space for people to share their stories.  i wasnt sure what to expect, and the response has been awesome.

last summer, squat, a birth journal, appeared.  from the beginning i supported the work, keeping my reservations to myself.

my reservations during the first issue:

1. in the intro there was a mention of wanting squat to be a place for among other folks listed, like ‘radical doulas’, they also mentioned ‘outlaw midwives’.  and yet squat never contacted me to say — hey there is this magazine getting started that we want to be a place for well, outlaw midwives.  i mean it is weird, cause i didnt know of anyone who had used the phrase ‘outlaw midwife’ before me…

2. the contents of the magazine were white, liberal, middle class, natural birth industry stuff.  i mean stuff you can find all over the web. i think  radical doula miriam is the only person who was even kind of pushing the line…kinda…even though it claimed to be an ‘anarchist birth journal’…

before the second issue, squat contacted me and asked if i wanted to submit.  yeah, sure.  sounded cool.  i figured it could be an exchange of support of sorts.  i still identify (with major reservations) as an anarchist.  and i hoped it would push itself to doing more writing and publishing relevant to the communities i center.

anyways, i ended up withdrawing my submission.  some shit went down. and i dont feel like going into the details because i have just run out of my quota for ‘white progressive ladies fuck me over’ stories for year 2010.

issue 2 of squat came out.  primarily white, liberal, natural birth movement-y stuff again.  ugh.

now issue 3 is out.  and on one hand, the content is much closer to what i had been hoping squat mag to be.  on the other hand, i feel jacked.

« Read the rest of this entry »

thaura zine distro on the move

November 13, 2010 § 3 Comments

so i was kind of surprised when i found out that aaminah was leaving thaura zine distro.  especially since i found out by reading her blog and she had given me no indication beforehand that this was what she was going to do.

the distro was originally set up so that aaminah would be able to handle the mailing since i have major difficulties mailing from egypt.

but luckily after a bit of research and some working out the figures, i can run the distro on my own with the help of a few friends.  so please excuse the orders being late, there has been a lot of shifting around lately and i am just trying to keep up.

if you ordered stickers i will reimburse your order, because i can no longer distro stickers.  i will instead put the stickers up as pdf’s for free download.

so now you know really as much as i do.

salaam.

and love.

my birthday wish

October 15, 2010 § 1 Comment

so today is my birthday.  yay me!

and i would love it if you would donate to/support: a force more powerful than violence: the voices of Palestinian women

“We may not currently have the might of the Israeli army and the power of traditions confine us in certain roles, however, we know that one woman standing behind another in a line of solidarity is a force more powerful than both.”
–kefah, speaking in at-tuwani village, west bank, palestine

kefah, a sweet friend from the village of at-tuwani in the southern west bank is invited to speak in italy in late november.  but in order for her to be able to travel – for the first time outside of the west bank – we need to raise money.

i wrote a bit about kefah this summer on feministe:

i met kefah in the fall of 2004 under horrible circumstances. we were living in the southern west bank. and a couple of international friends had been walking with palestinian children passed an israeli settlement, when the israeli settlers jumped out of the woods and beat my two friends down. luckily, the kids weren’t physically hurt, but they were scared, very scared. but my two friends were taken to the hospital with a punctured lung, broken knee and arm, and psychological trauma. so i and a couple of other internationals who were living in palestine went to at tuwani and walked with the children the next day passed the settlement. and the day after that.
those kids were amazing. they faced death just so they could go to elementary school.
the israeli soldiers told us that if the settlers attacked us, they would not protect us. and we believed them since a lot of the soldiers were from neighboring israeli settlements.
at night we slept in the women’s museum, a palestinian women’s craft co-op started by kefah.
kefah is amazing. she is a wife, a mother to four sons, a self-avowed feminist, a leader in her village, a visionary, a business woman, a community organizer. when i think of revolutionary motherhood, i think of kefah.
and she has a great raunchy sense of humor.
kefah expanded for me what i understood motherhood to mean. well, actually not just kefah, a lot of palestinian women did that for me. women who daily confront israeli soldiers just so they can work in their fields, harvest plants, leave their house, go to the clinic, go to the neighboring town. women who do it with a babe riding on their shoulders. women who do it with little money and a lot of strength. women. who. do. it.
dont get me wrong, i dont romanticize living under an occupation. its not pretty. its too little food, and too many people dying. its your husband, your son, your father, your brother in jail and you trying to figure out how to get the money to get him out, if that is even allowed. its eid under curfew. its watching your house be demolished simply because it was standing and then rebuilding it just to watch it be demolished again. its your mosque, your school be demolished. apartment buildings being shelled. its never having enough. its living on the breath of survival. its life. and its painful.
revolution aint pretty and it doesnt come cheap.

that is where you come in.

the folks who are organizing the tour are amazing activists.  worked in the west bank for years with kefah and her husband, nasser. i know them and have worked (and drank) with them personally and can tell you that they know what’s up. they have worked in the village with kefah for years, have strong ties and really do follow the leadership of the community.

so please, please support kefah’s work.

if the links arent working for you please donate money through pay pal — c_carp2 at yahoo dot com  –

with love.

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