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….

 

call for submissions–outlaw midwives vol 3 zine

March 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

call for submissions

focusing on pregnancy, birth, post partum, baby and breastfeeding

for and by: mothers, friends and allies of mothers, doulas, midwives, birthworkers, childbirth educators, childbirth advocates,

intention: to create a zine for pregnancy, birth, and the first year of motherhood centering the lives of working class, marginalized mothers and birthworkers.

submit: photos, drawings, visual art
poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction
tips, suggestions, lists of resources

check out the outlaw midwives manifesta and website: http://outlawmidwife.wordpress.com/

outlaw midwives: creating revolutionary communities of love

some suggestions for topics on which you can submit…but these are just suggestions…

suggestions for those trying to conceive.  and for not conceiving.  stories of conception, abortions and miscarriage.

what are the social, economic, legal consequences and limitations for marginalized mothers to make choices about how, when and where they will give birth.

tips for the first, second, third trimester.  relationship with doctors, clinic, midwives, family, friends, etc.

how do our ideas of gender and sexuality influence how we view childbearing, midwifery, and parenting?

Your take on reproductive justice?

how do we resist the high infant and mortality rates?

what are the ways that community could support the childbearing year, mothers and families?

how have you navigated through the systems of welfare, protective child services, hospitals, etc?

reflect on the state of midwifery today.  what do you see as the positives and negatives?  how has legalization and licensing affected mothers and families access to care?

what would you want to tell a soon to be mother about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood?  or write a letter to your pre-mother or pre-pregnant self about what you should expect.   what didnt you expect to happen/learn/experience in pregnancy, birth, the baby year?  write a letter to you daughter and/or son about what you learned/want to pass on about pregnancy, birth, baby year.

what was your personal experience/story of birth? pregnancy, the baby year?
what did you learn/are you learning from the baby year?

what do you wish someone had told you about early motherhood and/or being a birth worker?
what do you wish you could have said to someone, but didnt?
what is your vision/ideal of how pregnancy, birth, baby year could be?

what family/traditional wisdom did you receive about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding?  what practical tips do you have for working poor mothers?

breastfeeding vs. bottle.  what are the social, biological and economic influences and consequences of the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed?

what to do with the placenta?  placenta art, consumption, burials?

why did you become a birth worker?  what has been the highlights of the experience? what have been the difficulties?

what does ‘outlaw midwife’  mean to you?

keep it simple

deadline may 15

send submissions to maiamedicine at gmail dot com

awake for it.

February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

what i realized during the 18 days was that there was no one particular role i wanted or needed to play.  what i felt compelled to do was understand the revolution.  from as many sides as possible.  and by understand, i mean experience, get close to, get underneath, witness, live, breathe it.  and then be able to respond to what was happening in the moment it was happening.

which meant sometimes i was a protester with a scarf soaked in vinegar over my nose.

and sometimes i was a mama explaining to aza what was going on outside.

and sometimes i was a friend offering a drink and a smoke.

and sometimes i was a medic offering medicines and advice.

and sometimes i was a writer taking notes and hitting ‘publish’

and sometimes i was a photographer with a camera and a smile.

and sometimes i was a translator trying to relay impossible questions.

and sometimes i was the researcher/analyst reading about the history and the future of the region

and sometimes i was just tired or confused or overwhelmed or scared or cranky or insomniac.

but underneath it all, i kept hearing this little voice saying, just understand it.  just be in it.  so you can understand it.  pay attention.  pay attention.  keep waking up.

we have to keep waking up again and again.  its not a one time thing.  to be fully awake is a constant re-awakening from that half-sleep state of mind that we lapse into like a habit.  that state where we stop paying attention and instead get all lost in our heads in fantasies about the past and the future and the not here and not now.  and then we catch ourselves and we wake back up.

this is the internal revolution, to wake back up fully.  during an external revolution.  and both of these revolutions, the personal and the political, are constantly being refreshed.  we fall into half-sleep state.  we fall into social complacency and oppressions.  and then we revolt.

to fully awakenedness for a moment.

and then we just do what needs to be done.

 

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.)

 

resisting the twin injustices

November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Greetings supporters of at-Tuwani,

We are pleased to report that Kiefah and Nasser’s 2010 Italian
speaking tour is moving ahead!  Kiefah and Nasser have received visas and are scheduled to arrive in Italy next week.  They will stay in Italy for just over a week and are scheduled to speak in public
meetings and with women’s groups in a different city every day.  The
tour will begin in Verona (with a public meeting organized by an
Italian NGO and the participation of Germana Nijim, former CPTer) and end in Rome.

Kiefah is ready and eager to share her experiences in resisting the
injustices of both sexism and the Israeli occupation.

Thanks again to all of you who have helped make this tour happen and who continue to support the people of at-Tuwani.  We will continue to send you updates as the tour gets underway!

Grazie,
Joy, Piergiorgio, and Kristin for Humanity Together, Italy

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.

one woman standing behind another in a line of solidarity

September 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

what revolutionary community love looks like…
We may not currently have the might of the Israeli army nor the power of traditions confining 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.

– Keifah Addera, At-Tuwani Women’s Coperative

Dear friends and supporters of At-Tuwani village,

We would like to invite you to support a force more powerful than violence: the voices of Palestinian women. In late November 2010 , Humanity Together will host Keifah Addera and her husband Nasser on a speaking tour in Italy. Keifah will be speaking about the experiences of women in At-Tuwani as they nonviolently resist both the Israeli occupation and sexism. We hope that you will consider financially supporting this exciting project.

The people of At-Tuwani have often told their allies that the most important way we can support their struggle is to share their stories in our own communities. Keifah Addera, the organizer of the At-Tuwani Women’s Cooperative, is a powerful voice uniquely able to speak about the resistance of Palestinian women. While in Italy, Keifah will speak about the effect of the Israeli occupation and settler violence on women and children in Tuwani as well as the women’s cooperative’s work for justice and gender equality. Keifah’s husbandwill speak about his experiences as a prisoner in Israeli jail after being arrested for his participation in nonviolent demonstrations. Keifah and Nasser will present at the annual Italian Pax Christi peace conference as well as other public meetings in Rome, Trento, Ravenna, and several other locations.

Few Tuwani residents are as experienced in speaking with visitors as Keifah. She often hosts groups in Tuwani and has a rare talent for creating relationships with the people she meets. For this reason we are excited by the opportunities for building international support and women’s solidarity that this trip will provide. We are trying to raise 2,500 euros to cover the cost of flights, visa procedures, lodging, transportation in Italy, and food expenses. To donate, follow this link to our Pay Pal. Thank you so much for your support

In solidarity,

Humanity Together

http://www.humanitytogether.com/home

call for submissions: this bridge called my baby: legacies of radical mothering

August 4, 2010 § 2 Comments

This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Mothering

http://thisbridgecalledmybaby.wordpress.com/

“We can learn to mother ourselves.” Audre Lorde, 1983

All mothers have the potential to be revolutionary. Some mothers stand on the shoreline, are born and reborn here, inside the flux of time and space, overcoming the traumatic repetition of oppression. Our very existence is disobedience to the powers that be.
At times, in moments, we as mothers choose to stand in a zone of claimed risk and fierce transformation, the frontline. In infinite ways, both practiced and yet to be imagined,  we put our bodies between the violent repetition of the norm and the future we already deserve, exactly because our children deserve it too.  We make this choice for many reasons and in different contexts, but at the core we have this in common: we refuse to obey. We refuse to give into fear. We insist on joy no matter what and by every means necessary and possible.
In this anthology we are exploring how we are informed by and participating with those mothers, especially radical women of color, who have sought for decades, if not centuries, to create relationships to each other, transformative relationships to feminism and a transnational anti-imperialist literary, cultural and everyday practice.

“We don’t want a space where kids feel that only adults can imagine ways to strengthen our communities and protect ourselves against the Architects of Despair,” Sora said, “and we don’t want adults to feel that either. We want to create a space where all of our imaginations help each other grow; but we realize that kids might get bored from sitting still the way that adults tend to do, so we set up the play room with toys and games.”  Regeneracion Childcare Collective 2007

Sometimes for radical mamas, our mothering in radical community makes visible the huge gulfs between communities, between parents and non-parents, in class and other privileges AND most importantly the wide gulf between what we say in activist communities and what we actually do. Radical mothering is the imperative to build bridges that allow us to relate across these very real barriers. For and by radical mother of color, but also inclusive of other working class, marginalized, low income, no income radical mothers.


“Parenting and being a role model to kids in your community is important because they will be the activists of tomorrow.  And they will be our gardeners and mothers and bakers. They will question our generation, they’ll write their own history, create new forms of art and media.”
-Noemi Martinez 2009


We find the idea of the “bridge” useful because we believe that  the radical practice of mothering is at once a practical and visionary relationship to the future IN the PRESENT, a bridge within time that can inspire us to relate to each other intentionally across generation and space.   We also acknowledge the not-so-radical default bridge function of marginalized mother in society.  How our children in particular get walked all over in terms of public policy that criminalizes our mothering and movement spaces that claim to be creating a transformed future without being fully accountable to parents or kids.

“I came into the Third World Women’s Caucus when it was well under way.  The women there were discussing the caucus resolution to be presented to the general conference.  There were Asian women, Latin women, Native Women and Afro-American women.  The discussion when I came in was around the controversial issue of motherhood and how the wording of the resolution could best reflect the feelings of those present.  It was especially heartening to hear other women affirm that not only should lesbian mothers be supported but that all third world women lesbians share in the responsibility for the care and nurturing of the children of individual lesbians of color…Another woman reminded us of the commitment we must take to each other when she said ‘All children (of lesbians) are ours.” -Doc in Off Our Backs 1979

We see this book as a continuation of the accountability invoking movement midwifing work of the 1981 anthology This Bridge Called My Back in that it:
a. is the work of writers who see their writing as part of a mothering practice, as not career, but calling and who believe that their writing, and their every creative practice has a strategic role in transforming the possible world.
b. contextualizes contemporary radical mama practices in relationship to socialist and lesbian mothering practices experimented with and practiced in the 1970’s by writers including Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Third World Lesbians conference, Salsa Soul Sisters, Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers
c. seeks to speak to those who participated in that earlier practice and who have been informed by it as a primary audience, and to connect those who have not have access to that work to it

We invite submissions including but not limited to the following possibilities:

*Manifestas, group poems, letters, mission statements from your crew of radical mamas or an amazing group from history
*Letters, poems, transcribed phone calls between radical mamas supporting each other
*Accounts of your experience as a radical mama
*Reflections on enacting radical mamacity at different ages
*Motivations for/obstacles in your practice of radical mothering
*Conversations with your kids
*Rants and rages via the eloquence of a mother-wronged
*Your experience of radical grandmothering
*Self-interviews, interviews with other mamis
*Birthing experiences
*Ending child sexual abuse
*Mothering as survivors (survival and mothering)
*Mothering with and without models
*Mothering and domination
*Mama to-do lists
*Mama/kid collaborations…
*Radical fathering
*Overcoming shame and silence in the practice of radical mothering

*Ambivilence, paradox, emotions, vulnerability
*Experiences of state violence/CPS
*Balancing daily survival
*Loss of children, not living with children, custody arrangements and issues
*Sharing your stories from where you live

*Everything we haven’t thought of yet! Take a deep breath and WRITE!!!!

Please send submissions via email to
alexispauline@gmail.com
maiamedicine@gmail.com
and china410@hotmail.com
or via snail mail to
P.O. Box 4803 Baltimore Maryland 21211
by April 1, 2011.

what is truly damaging

June 11, 2010 § 2 Comments

im not sure if ive made this clear.  so please let me.

i am a really bad mother.

the latest incarnation of my bad mother status is that i take my daughter to places where people smoke.  yes, that is right she breathes in second-hand smoke.  thank goodness that there are people who care more about her health than i do, and refuse to hang out with us, because they dont want her exposed to their second hand smoke (sic).

actually, by that logic, what makes me a bad mother is that i let my daughter live in cairo.  you know, one of the smoggiest cities in the world, where simply breathing the air is a kin to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.  by that logic every mother in cairo is a bad mother.

now, dont get me wrong my daughter has spent some time in smoky environments since she was six months old.  not that anyone really bothered to notice.  other than n. americans.  in mexico, in our favorite bars, we hung out with aza and waved to the other parents out with their kids.  the only time we got the evil look was when some gringo with a waspy accent gasped at our heretical behaviour.  but you know wasps, i couldnt tell if it was the interracial relationship, the public breast feeding, or the sitting in a bar with a baby.  and honestly, i didnt really bother to find out.

i am a bad mama like that. kida kida.

now. you may ask why would i expose my daughter to such dangers.  think of all the damage that i am causing.

okay, give me a sec, let me just exhale and think about that…

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making a slight change to our lives

June 9, 2010 § 1 Comment

this is a speech/presentation given by my heroine, a palestinian woman/mother who lives in a village in the south hebron hills and organizes women from six neighboring villages in a women’s co-operative.  she is a leader and for me one of the most amazing organizers i have ever met.  she is the woman who sparked my vision for revolutionary motherhood.  her fierceness, perception, vision, sense of humor, and commitment to her community’s life is my inspiration.

Keifah sews.JPG

(in this she mentions some of my favorite people from the village, hafez, nasser, her husband, and saber.  these three men will always hold a special place in my heart for how much they taught me and supported me .)

shukran ktir to joy for posting this. and sending me the picture of her outside sewing on a manual sewing machine with a girl standing in front of her watching.

I want to speak to you about the position of the women in At-Tuwani village. First of all, women in this village suffer from very conservative cultural traditions. In regards to education, which is a right of women to have, unfortunately most of the women in At-Tuwani are illiterate. They have only managed to study through third grade. The role of the women is to work on the fields with the men and to have children and care for them. Five years ago, we gathered the women and decided we needed to make a slight change to our lives.

You should that know that women have rights and even though women’s rights have not been meet, we have decided to form a women’s cooperative. Even though, when we meet and decide what we wanted to do, we still had to consult with the men of the village. At first, they objected very strongly and they said, “Your role is just to care for your homes and your children, and to work in the fields.” We did not accept their rejection and therefore we had to think of activities to do, things that do not get in the way of the traditions and the culture that we live in. So we agreed, as most of the women are quite skilled in embroidery, even though they were not taught it but are skilled because many generations of tradition, we could use that as a starting point.

We came up with the idea of doing embroidery work to improve the economy of the village because of the settlers and the settlements around us and the way they confiscate our land and attack our homes and flocks. All of these was effecting the women of the village and our children. So we had to again bring it to the men of the village because of we had some support, but not a majority. The most important support for me was from my husband, Hafez, and Saber, the mayor of the village.

(…)

Now many girls are able to finish high school and there are three girls in university.

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