Saturday, July 23, 2005

MY CIVIL RIGHTS MATTER

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From the British gay rights blog, Outrage!
By Elaine Meinel Supkis

This picture is a real hanging. These two boys, for they are still teens...were killed in Iran this last week for the crime of being gay. Take a good look at them. They are dead now. A court of mullahs condemned them to death.

I sigh with despair.

A blogger I have long admired, Prof. Kunstler, had his usual bimonthly rant up and I read it with agreement until the very end, the last sentence enraged me. From Clusterfuck Nation:
What I believe will happen: the Jihadi violence will continue, the American public will lose patience with the attrition in Iraq, other flash points (North Korea, Pakistan, Venezuela, Mexico) will make it clear that the US Army is not capable of conducting land operations elsewhere, events will evolve to choke off oil imports to the US as our hegemony slips away, terror events in Europe will continue and provoke a backlash against Islamic imigrants, which will only inflame the Islamic world further, the US will revert to a naval strategy of attempting to protect our interests -- namely access to oil -- which will not be effective, and America will be plagued at home by political recrimation, blaming, scapegoating, and a futile campaign to keep the car-dependent utopia going.

Ultimately, the world will enter The Long Emergency, a horizonless era of conflict, withering global economic relations, and energy starvation -- with plummeting standards of living.

Meanwhile, we are doing nothing at home to prepare for this future, for instance a crash program to restore the American railroad system, or to restore true fiscal discipline to the mortgage industry in order to stem the insane spread of even more car-dependent suburban sprawl (a.k.a. the housing bubble). Where is the Democratic party (my party) on this? Lost in the raptures of sexual and racial pandering.
So, my civil rights and my gay friend's need for civil rights is pandering? Eh? Did I hear right?

My life and death issues like birth control and being able to make a living and to terminate a bad marriage is pandering? My gay friend's struggle to not be beaten to death by strangers or fired from jobs or preserving their home if one is hospitalized and a hostile family then cuts off all contact, is pandering? The right to bear, keep or adopt children? The right to vote? The right to not be blackmailed or raped?

If saving American means enslaving me and my dear friends, well, a big fuck you all. This is not the first time, either, that liberal (white) males have attacked us. Kos has periodically made it pretty clear our petty civil rights problems are a drag and he would prefer we stop yammering about them and knuckle under so white hetero males can associate with us politically!

You know, I really am steamed about that. Why can't we eliminate the rights of white hetero males? Then they can meekly accompany us on our great fight to save ourselves from our economic and cultural follies. Eh? Do I hear moans of "no"?

Welcome to my party, dudes.

I was almost tempted to never go back to some economic blogs I used to enjoy when periodically, the white hetero males running them sigh about us pesky non white or non male or non heteroes who are so demanding. These guys just want me to shut up and go away and this will save the Democratic Party and America.

Well, why can't you all sacrifice yourselves instead of me? "Women and children first" means we get thrown to the sharks first? Huh? What?

Let's look at the progress of women's rights under the untender teachings of "freedom and democracy" America: when the Soviet Union collapsed, starting with Afghanistan and breaking up until a whole bunch of "stans" were created, did this recession of communism free women?

Let's take a look. From Muslim Uzbekistan:
Since beginning of June protest actions of Muslim women whose relatives were imprisoned on religious charges have been gathering momentums in Tashkent, Andijon and Marghilon cities of Uzbekistan, according to reports.

The website of "Birlik" opposition movement informed that the protests in Andijon went off more calmly. However, a little later human tights group "Ezgulik" spread information that although protests supposedly were off calmly from the outside the law enforcement authorities committed brutalities against some of protester Muslim women.

According to "Ezgulik" about 80 women gathered in Navoi square in Andijon on June 1 demanding putting an end to tortures against Muslim prisoners. Reportedly women were beaten up by Andijon police.
Doesn't sound very free. We know there is an insurrection running there now but this won't help the women, the insurgents want to eliminate the tattered remains of former Soviet civil rights!

Let's look at another place: From the BBC news:
You would never know that this beautiful, educated woman, in her traditional voluminous velvet, ankle-length dress of green and gold, was struggling to hold it all together.

Bichalicha smiled warmly and added: "I just try to keep going for the children's sake." I did not dare ask what she would do if her husband did not return. Bichalicha is lucky to find any employment.

After independence, Russian-backed factories and aluminium treatment plants ground to a halt. Those with professional qualifications are not faring well either.

Of the husbands who do return from Russia, plenty bring a suitcase packed full of roubles, but an increasing number of men are also carrying HIV. We met (women) doctors and teachers selling fruit and vegetables in the bazaar because their state salaries are so low.

One of them told me: "I make $40 a month as a doctor but I can't feed my family from that. I'm forced to leave a job I love and trained hard for."
In the Soviet days, many women were trained to be doctors and professors and dancers and all sorts of things. Now they are being forcibly repatriated to a past condition worse than the one of my great grandmother's day!

It only gets much worse! From the PBS Frontline special:
FRONTLINE/WORLD correspondent Petr Lom -- a professor at Central European University in Budapest -- first traveled to Kyrgyzstan to investigate Islamic extremism. But he stumbled across a strange local custom, which he decided to explore.

With his translator and friend Fatima Sartbaeva, a young Kyrgyz woman, as his guide, Lom sets out on a journey of discovery, driving deep into the countryside to a small village just outside the ancient city of Osh.

Petr and Fatima arrive as a wedding is about to begin. Women are busy making traditional Kyrgyz bread for the occasion, and men sit in chairs outside, talking and sipping tea. The groom confesses he has had some difficulty finding a bride, but he is hopeful that "this one will stay."

When the bride does arrive, she is dragged into the groom's house, struggling and crying. Her name is Norkuz, and it turns out she has been kidnapped from her home about a mile away.

Fatima had prepared Petr for this scene, telling him that the custom of bride kidnapping is shocking, but he is still stunned by what he is seeing.

As the women of the groom's family surround Norkuz and hold down both of her hands, they are at once forceful and comforting, informing her that they, too, were kidnapped. The kidnappers insist that they negotiated the abduction with Norkuz's brother, but her sister, a lawyer from Osh, arrives to protest that her sister is being forced to marry a stranger. Ideally in Kyrgyz circles, a bride's family gets a price for their daughter, but Norkuz is 25 -- considered late to marry -- and the women remind her she is lucky she was kidnapped at all.
If the woman refuses, she is murdered and her body dumped in the town square or a river! Is this what American freedom is spreading? We have military bases in all these countries plus Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan, under the Soviets, the women had not only civil rights but economic equality! Now they live in fear and squalor and have virtually no rights at all and we don't give a fig. We pretend we are "uplifting" them when we are not! We never have.

Iraq: same rotten story. Under the "evil" Saddam, women were lawyers and doctors and professor and had civil rights nearly equal to ours here. Now these are being removed, one by one, rapidly. The "constitution" being passed is a horror. It makes thing worse for minorities, for women, for gays, for everyone except the ascendant hetero males of power.

My grandmother fought for her rights. She was one of the first women to get a high degree from a men's university, the University of Chicago. She was a scientist like Madame Curie. She was a suffragette. My mother didn't have the opportunites or the goodies showered upon my father, luckily, he shared everything with her very openly and championed her activities and promoted her.

He was still quite dismayed at my lawsuits, my battles, my physical fighting, my challenging authority, my defiance. He thought, giving my mom privilages would please me.

I wanted all women to have privilages, period. This was a shared thing, not mine alone.

With sexual freedom, control of our bodies, control of our destinies, came great economic activity as well as political activity. This has been squandered by the American people, collectively, because we decided to be an empire that exploits people who are not American. Now we are falling into bankruptcy due to excessive military bills and this is killing us and we are lost little lambies.

Tossing me to the wolves won't save our empire. Tossing all the women on this planet to the wolves won't stop al Qaeda. Nor will it save all those unhappy and uncooperative white hetero males who can't work with me or a gay person because they are too petty and what?

What ails them? And the white hetero women who are their companions? The ones who hate gays, too? What on earth are they afraid of? Will they doom themselves, financially, just so they can hurt us? Huh? If this is the plan, well.

Don't come crying to me!

I will be busy fighting for our sexual civil rights. See you on the streets, everyone!

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