zabbaleen

October 31, 2009 § 7 Comments

so there are rumors that schools in egypt are going to close again because of swine flu.  the whole swine flu scare here seems so absurd.

anyways.  found this month old post about swine flu, the zabbaleen (our swine loving garbage collectors), and egyptian government ridiculousness.

Before leaving Cairo earlier this summer, I spent a day in the zabbaleen (garbage collectors) neighborhood. This area is home to 30,000 people who exist in a symbiotic relationship with the city: they go door-to-door to collect Cairo’s trash and then recycle it in small workshops. But one of the links of this cycle is now missing: pigs. The Egyptian government–prey to hysteria and very probably religious prejudice (pigs are raised by Christians in Egypt and considered unclean by Muslims)–ordered a total pig cull after the outbreak of the so-called Mexican flu. Cairo’s garbage collectors happen to be Christians, and the pigs were used to dispose of tons of organic garbage. With the pigs gone, not only have hundreds of families lost their livelihood overnight, but the city has lost an efficient way of disposing of organic waste, which the zabbaleen now dump in lots around the city. You can hear a detailed story I did about this, for the Radio Netherlands environmental show Earthbeat, here. (Also, check out  Liam Stack’s reporting on this issue for the Christian Science Monitor).

The pig cull is just the latest blow to the zabbaleen community. The authorities consider the whole area an embarrassment and are constantly scheming to relocate it far out in the desert and out of sight. A few years ago a plan was introduced to “modernize” the garbage collection system by subcontracting to modern companies. But the whole thing seems to be a bit of a scam: the garbage companies actually subcontract the zabbaleen (who get paid less than when working for themselves); the recycling rate is much lower. Everyone in Cairo now gets billed for this supposedly new-and-improved garbage collection service, but also still pays their local zabbaal, who continues to come to their door.

so here in abdeen, cairo.  now all that trash gets picked up a lot less regularly and gets dumped in just larger trash piles rather than being eaten/recycled by the pigs.  because the egyptian govt decided to kill all the pigs.

a lot more trash on the streets.

which means that the street cats and ferrets and rats are having a field day.  and of course the street cats also leave their feces  in the streets.  which is not picked up either.

which leads to my kid walking home.  and getting roundworm from the cat shit.

 

 

on fire

October 30, 2009 § 4 Comments

loveyourchaos:  (via maddiemoments)

1. the problem is that we tell folks that power makes them human.  and to our ears that sounds close to the truth.  but the only kind of power they teach us about is the power over another.  our society is constructed so that to have power we have to have power over someone.  and we dont know how to feed ourselves on our inner power.  on the soul.  we arent encouraged to have rich inner lives.  (am thinking of jung and the book that we just published posthumously.) we have good reason to not have rich inner lives, inner power, internal validation.  people who do are not considered by the world at large to be powerful and thus to be human.

2 we taught that we have a moral social obligation to have as much control as possible over our lives.  and since our lives are filled with people.  we must have control over them.  to some extent.  of course it turns out that it is impossible to have control over lives in any substantial soul affirming way. trying to control others ends up taking time and energy that we could be using to build our own personal strength.

3 when i think of confidence.  i think of hope.  and by hope i do not mean that tomorrow *will* be better that today.  but that it could be.  there is that possibility.  everything is changing.  things fall apart.  and other things come together.

it seems that the other choices i have are: suicide.  or  depression.  but really? for me. depression is just suicide postponed.

u see the way things are now in the world.  not good.  not sustainable.  not healthy.  i am really bad at lying to myself and saying that this is an okay way for people to live.

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outside the system

October 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

and…one of my all time favorite posts on licensed midwifery.  not just because she uses my drawing for outlaw midwife in the post.  but because i have not really heard analysis on the canadian systems of health care and midwifery.

ok a couple of years ago i was in chiapas talking to this california midwife at the midwifery clinic in san cris.  and i was telling her how making midwifery more professional, licensed, certified would lead not be helpful to empowering women in birth.  and she told me i was wrong.  didnt know what i was talking about.  and i kept trying to tell her that in minneapolis where i gave birth and is one of the most midwifery friendly cities in the states, midwives are afraid of losing their insurance and so risk out a lot of their patients way too soon.

anyways.

Wanting to be respected and admired is only human. As midwifery strengthens its professional framework, this respect will naturally emerge. Midwifery needs strong, outspoken, autonomous women to articulate a vision of birth with dignity for all women. Unfortunately, such voices tend to belong to women who are “outside the system.” Once women are in a legalized system, they are silenced. They can be coerced to give unnecessary pharmaceuticals to women and babies (oxytocin, erythromicin, vitamin K) and they become good corporate citizens. The real respect and admiration that comes from knowing that you are true to yourself is missing. This can be a terrible price to pay for a piece of paper and a guaranteed pay cheque.


Since women can give birth by themselves, the right of each woman to choose where, when and with whom she gives birth is the fundamental principle on which any healthy midwifery model is built. Thwarting the growth of the midwifery movement by making it more and more difficult for new midwives to get training and to launch their practices is ridiculous. Instead of constantly knocking the woman off the ladder on the rung below us, we need to reach down and give her a hand up. Training of the new generation is one of the strong suits of the medical profession and midwives would be wise to emulate that desire to multiply colleagues. The future of midwifery rests in the young women who are now working as doulas. This educated group of women is emerging as the midwives of tomorrow and they need all the support and nurturing that practicing midwives can give them so they can be ready to take up the challenge. When midwives focus their time and energy on training the next generation and quit trying to join the dinosaurs that are on their way to extinction, we will find power, respect and joy in our work.

money power and art

October 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

1. thought this was an interesting article: the ecstasy of influence.  i would appreciated it if the writer had spent more time exploring plagiarism and cultural appropriation and power.  because a lot of artists i know have a difficult time understanding the difference between cultural appropriation and simply being influenced of other people’s productions.  he begins to explore these ideas here:

This peculiar and specific act—the enclosure of commonwealth culture for the benefit of a sole or corporate owner—is close kin to what could be called imperial plagiarism, the free use of Third World or “primitive” artworks and styles by more privileged (and better-paid) artists. Think of Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, or some of the albums of Paul Simon or David Byrne: even without violating copyright, those creators have sometimes come in for a certain skepticism when the extent of their outsourcing became evident.

what has me thinking in this article.  is the writer’s description of art as a public commons or a public gift rather than as solely intellectual property.

A commons belongs to everyone and no one, and its use is controlled only by common consent. A commons describes resources like the body of ancient music drawn on by composers and folk musicians alike, rather than the commodities, like “Happy Birthday to You,” for which ASCAP, 114 years after it was written, continues to collect a fee. Einstein’s theory of relativity is a commons. Writings in the public domain are a commons. Gossip about celebrities is a commons. The silence in a movie theater is a transitory commons, impossibly fragile, treasured by those who crave it, and constructed as a mutual gift by those who compose it.

i havent read someone articulate this anti-intellectual property view of art so well.  in that he frames art as already being a part of the public commons that has been commodified and sold,  he places art in the stream of european socio-economic movement in the past couple of centuries toward private property and capitalism.

In free-market theory, an intervention to halt propertization is considered “paternalistic,” because it inhibits the free action of the citizen, now reposited as a “potential entrepreneur.”

and i think this is part of the problem that a lot of artists have.  we are not entrepreneurs by nature.  and in free market ideological societies, entrepreneurs are the ones who are considered to be ‘rational’ persons who work in their own self interests.  so if an artist creates work that is not in their own self interest but is in the interest of another or in the interests of the community primarily, that work does not exist really in the free market world.  so to me the free market inhibits the free actions of the community artist.

lastly, in looking at art through the eye of social and economic power.  i love the way the writer characterizes disney.  the very hypocrisy.  of copy right.  and intellectual property ideas.  meshed with free market theory.

SOURCE HYPOCRISY, OR, DISNIAL

The Walt Disney Company has drawn an astonishing catalogue from the work of others: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi, Song of the South, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Robin Hood, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, The Sword in the Stone, The Jungle Book, and, alas, Treasure Planet, a legacy of cultural sampling that Shakespeare, or De La Soul, could get behind. Yet Disney’s protectorate of lobbyists has policed the resulting cache of cultural materials as vigilantly as if it were Fort Knox—threatening legal action, for instance, against the artist Dennis Oppenheim for the use of Disney characters in a sculpture, and prohibiting the scholar Holly Crawford from using any Disney-related images—including artwork by Lichtenstein, Warhol, Oldenburg, and others—in her monograph Attached to the Mouse: Disney and Contemporary Art.

 

anti racism…what went wrong?

October 29, 2009 § 24 Comments

anti racism is a white supremacist movement.  because the big names/experts/the ones who make the money and prestige of it. are majority white.

huh. that sounds a bit harsh when i actually type it out.  but it is in essence what i think of anti racism.

what i mean is.  that the ones who are the most ‘successful’ in anti racism are white.  they are the authors, bloggers, consultants, workshop trainers, speakers etc.  yes there are lots of poc who do anti racism work.  or better said there are a decent number of poc who work in the anti racism industry.

and i have to differentiate between anti racism the theory (almost completely developed by poc under the designation of critical race theory) and anti racism the industry.

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quirky black girls zine

October 28, 2009 § 3 Comments

For surviving thru every lie they put into us now
The world is yours and I swear I will stand focused
Black girls, raise up your hands; the world should clap for us

-Jean Grae (on Black Girl Pain by Talib Kweli feat. Jean Grae)

To love a black girl is a radical act. In a society that says black girls are ugly, useless, laughable, difficult and expendable loving ourselves and loving each other is revolutionary, dangerous, a delicious risk. On the heels of yet another study about how black girls are ohso hopelessly lonely and unwanted we want to think about how we as black girls can critique the images, the stereotypes, the one dimensional representation of black women in the mainstream media. How do we create a vibrant black girl loving culture in the face of that mis- representation? As black girls who love black girls and the brilliant universe transforming potential that we represent we are creating an online zine that we really see as a big ‘ol collaborative love letter to black girls from black girls. We are seeking collages, poems, letters, comix, images, short essays, games, worksheets, puzzles, playlists and shout outs that respond to the following questions:

What do you want to say to black girls? What do you wish someone said to you when you were younger?

Can you write a letter to a specific black girl you know? What would you like to say to her?

Can we talk about and to black girls as complex, different, loving, strong, beautiful?

Can we write about black girl sexuality and innocence? Can we imagine a world where black girls can be sexual and innocent simultaneously?

Are there black girls who inspire you? Who are they?

Can we talk about black girls’ styles? Not only how it is appropriated and vanilla’ed by mainstream media, but also how we take our style back.

What are the questions that we want our daughters and mothers asking each other?

What is the future that we are envisioning? What specifically do we mean when we talk about loving black girls as themselves?

How do we re/define beauty, love, faith, courage, survival, life, expression, freedom so that we are centering black girls?

Who are we? Who do we love? How do we love them? And why?

Can we write a love letter to black girls in general? Can we love ourselves enough to love each other?

Please send your contribution to quirkyblackgirls@gmail.com.

love,
QBG
http://www.quirkyblackgirls.ning.com

October 26, 2009 § 3 Comments

it was all weighing me down. and then i realized.  or better yet remembered. that this is all a comedy.  ah. so funny. so very funny.  this. all of this is just some shakespearean play turned rightfully wrong.

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