Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
The weave pattern is a herringbone (slightly visible in the blue stripes) and the oatmeal colored tread is my own hand spun. There isn't really a rhyme or reason to the stripes or their widths. It's telling me when to switch it up.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Unfortunately, shortly after I started my job, my boss left. She is an amazing person and continues to be a wonderful mentor and friend, but her departure nonetheless left me flying solo in a new job. I struggled to figure out how to do the sessions and how to go about utilizing the curricula we had laying around for me to consult. I somehow managed to run my 5 groups without too much feeling that I was screwing up the kids. It was fun, most of the time, but very overwhelming.
One of the resources that I've come to love is Teaching Tolerance. The site contains entries/submissions from educators across the country as well as articles from the experts (get this... the experts are actual teachers, school principles, guidance counselors, etc) on how to integrate civil rights and liberties topics into curricula. It also has a strong emphasis on teaching social change and helping students develop the skills to engage in community action, conscious media consumption, and critical analysis of current events. I'm loving the ideas and reading about the ways that educators are subverting the system and integrating some wonderful messages and topics to our youth.
Things have eased up a bit in the past week or so. All but one of my groups has wrapped up, at least until Jan. And in that group we're doing an activity called Progressive City Planners to further explore different forms of oppression, discrimination, and societal violence. Check the activity out. I'm excited about the discussion we're going to be having. This particular group middle schoolers is very smart, they never cease to blow my mind. Even has they manage to get under my skin and drive me nuts.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
My philosophy with the interns is that they should create more work for me, in the sense that I don't want them to do bullshit tasks... but actually get some hands on learning. They are not slaves. They're the next wave of our activists, advocates and educators. (Can you tell I had an awful internship once upon a time?) My goal is that by May, they'll be able to cofacilitate groups...or even fly solo. If only I could take all of them... UGH!
First World Problem? Possibly...
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
While I was visiting Mess in CA, she had a meeting at the San Diego Natural History Museum with some super cool dude, who's name, I just cannot remember. Her meeting was regarding her project of describing a fossil that has been on display, but undescribed and unclassified for some time. It is thought to be a different species (although, extinct) of Balaenoptera, or Fin Whale.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday I read Mandy Van Deven's review on Feminist Review of this week’s edition of The New York Times Magazine. The edition is devoted to ‘Saving the World’s Women’ and takes up the global condition and problems faced by women of the world, such as sex trafficking, abuse, microfinance, and lack of access to health/medical care and education. Since this was part of my area of focus in school, I was giddy and excited about it hitting the news stands. Yet, as I flipped through and read the various articles, I kept thinking the same thing: Why does this collection seem to only be highlighting disempowerment and oppression of women of the Third World? Why is there absolutely no mention of the issues faced by women in the Global North? By no means do I intend to discount the horrors that women of the Global South face, or imply that the issues of women in developed nations are higher in importance and relevance. In fact, I’m elated that the edition has provided such exposure and attention to these travesties. My problem with it is this: by ignoring the conditions and struggles for equality, justice and basic human rights faced by women in developed countries, the message is that women in places such as the US and Europe have already achieved equality and do not face many of the problems, violence, and discrimination that our sisters in Africa and Asia do. The problem is presented as something “over there” rather than a truly global phenomenon; one simultaneously occurring in our own backyards.
Instead the role of women of the Global North is presented, and can be summed up, in Lisa Belkin’s article “The Power of the Purse”. The article discusses how women are increasingly using their economic power to help sisters in need. Wonderful. What about the Americans working in the field? Those dedicating their lives to non-profit work and long hours through heartwork and sacrifice? What about the women working in shelters or tirelessly on legislative and policy reform to make the donated money more effective in aid?
The theme of the edition is on the global condition and staunch human rights disparities that exist for women, yet the content and focus of the articles does not seem to adequately reflect the variety and multitude of conditions through its limited scope of Africa and Southeast Asia. What about the sex trafficking and sex tourism that goes on in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Bloc? What of women in Latin America? In the Caribbean? What about the compounding effects of environmental destruction and scarcity of water? Why doesn’t it discuss the modes of oppression the First World through economic exploitation or women of the Third? Why aren’t any of the articles written by women from the places discussed? Instead of presenting a wide view of the various conditions and proposed solutions, the articles focus disappointingly only on economic and capitalist short-term solutions: microfinance and microlending. The articles, while well intentioned and well written, failed to adequately address the underlying social structures that provide the framework to these issues.
On a whole, I’m happy that the NYT Magazine took the chance and did this publication, but I’m highly disappointed in the content and execution. I suppose I got my hopes up a bit too high when I heard about it, and thought that perhaps things would be presented in a radical and revolutionary way. I understand that in order to fully cover all the issues I’ve mentioned would take volumes and much more space than the NYT Magazine could provide. However, what limited space that was available could have explored or touched on so much more. Instead, what was presented was but a sliver of the tip of the iceberg.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Nawal El Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist, activist, writer, scholar and physician. Her writings and activities around Arab women’s rights have cost her a psychiatric job, imprisonment, and a lifetime of struggle. Her resilience and determination has gained her public support, respect and admiration. The author of 27 books, numerous essays and articles, Saadawi’s work has concentrated mainly on Arab women’s sexuality and legal status. Even from the beginning, her work was considered controversial, dangerous, heavily criticized and even banned in Egypt. Her work over the last four decades has had a profound effect on many generations of men and women through out the world.
Saadawi was born in 1931 in the small village of Kafr Tahla. She was one of eight siblings and was ‘circumcised’ at the age of six. While her family live could be considered ‘traditional’, her father was somewhat progressive in insisting all eight of his children be educated. In 1951, Nawal left Kafr Tahla to study psychiatry at Cairo University despite religious and social oppression of women. Upon graduating in 1955, she went on to become the Director of Public Health and began a magazine, Health, addressing issues pertaining to preventative medicine. At this time she also began writing about women’s issues and their particular oppression by the Arab world. She then met her husband, Dr. Sherif Hetata, who was also an activist, revolutionary and doctor at the Ministry of Health. Hetata served thirteen years in prison for his activities in the leftist party. In 1972, Saadawi was relieved of her position at the Ministry of Health in response to the publication of her first book Women and Sex, which had been published in 1969. The book was banned by the political and religious authorities due to the contents of several chapters of the book in which she wrote against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and linked women’s sexual problems and control to women’s overarching political and economic oppression. Health was closed down in 1973.
In September 1981, Saadawi was imprisoned under the Sadat regime, for alleged “crimes against the state” and held in Qanatir Prison until November 1981 after the assassination of President Sadat, when many political prisoners were released. Yet her imprisonment did not quell, or deter her from, her activism and writing. While behind bars Saadawi formed the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association (AWSA), “the first legal, independent feminist organization in Egypt” and wrote what would become in 1983 Memoirs from the Women’s Prison on toilette paper with an eyebrow pencil smuggled in by a fellow prisoner in the prostitutes ward.
The AWSA has grown to have some 500 members locally and more than 2,000 internationally but was banned by the Egyptian government in 1991 following Saadawi’s criticism of US involvement in the Gulf War. Upon disbanding the organization the government seized and handed over its funds to the association called Women in Islam. Six months prior to the decree banning the organization, the government closed down the magazine Noon, published by the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and of which Saadawi was the editor-in-chief. Although banned in Egypt, Saadawi continues with her work with the organization.
In 2001, three of her books were banned at Cairo International Book Fair. A year later a fundamentalist lawyer raised a case to have her forcibly divorced from her husband due to her apostasy. She won the case thanks to international solidarity and pressure. In 2006, Saadawi’s play, “God Resigns At the Summit Meeting”, was banned, and in January 2007, Saadawi and her daughter, Mona Helmy, also a poet, writer and activist, were accused of apostasy and interrogated by the General Prosecutor in Cairo. Saadawi faced a new trial on charges of apostasy and heresy in February 2007 because of the play. She won the case in May 2008. While her legal battles and political struggles continue to the present, she continues her work, on female genital mutilation and women’s rights as well as remaining a prominent political activist.