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(NaNoBloPo/NaSchoWriMo 27)

A friend pointed me to this essay by Patrick Stewart on domestic violence. It's a hard read, but a good one. Some of you know that I was raised by a woman with a violent temper. I never had to witness the sort of thing Stewart mentions, but the rest, barring the alcohol, sounds eerily familiar.
cut for possible triggery things )
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Dulce Et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

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I've been thinking about this, but not really compelled to write much. And [personal profile] purplecthulhu said it all very well. But still, in case this bothered you ...

The US news agencies have not really reported much about the fact that Megrahi was granted an appeal a couple of years back, because there was enough evidence to demonstrate that his conviction may have been a miscarriage of justice

I would be more supportive of the people -- especially the politicians -- calling to let the man die in prison (and he will be dead soon, according to doctors), if the US did not have a record of barring the extraditions of IRA terrorists.

I'm not arguing for Megrahi's innocence or guilt. I'm not even particularly arguing for the compassionate release, because there are plenty of people I would never want to give it to, people on life sentences, for example.

All I am saying is that citizens in the US and their government have directly and indirectly supported terrorism for years, and that it's hypocritical to argue against this when, as a country, we have behaved in ways that seem far more reprehensible to me, in part because the support of terrorism* was based on a seriously faulty understanding of history and a very strong political lobby.

I used to work in an Irish pub. There were regular collections for NorAid. The people most rabid about the collection were USians, usually 3 or more generations from Ireland, but Catholic. They happily called the IRA freedom fighters. I was married to an Englishman for a long time. I cannot count the times that, in perfectly pleasant settings -- at parties, for goodness' sake! people we barely knew would start in on X, calling him a murderer, accusing him of supporting the UDL, etc. Ironically, X is of Irish extraction, although the family have lived in ondon for several generations, and was frequently beat up for not being 'really English (the family is RC and he has red hair)' as a kid. He also worked in the City at the height of the bombings, and was slightly concussed when a bomb went off not far from where he was walking to work.
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Via Bitch PhD, anti-abortion activists aren't calling for violence, they're just hanging out with murderers and supporting the acts after the fact.

And according to TPM, some people are encouraging others to use firearms to fight dangerous health care reforms.


And this shit is being stirred up by people paid to report and comment on news. Instead, they are creating it, and then denying responsibility. I'm looking at you, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Bill O'Reilly, you cowardly assholes.

And btw, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow? Shame on you for playing a similar, yet non-violent version of the fact-distortion game. You aren't helping. Really.

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X-posted from Blogenspiel (which is now easier to read):

International Blog Against Racism Week

Well, it's International Blog Against Racism Week, and I only found out on Wednesday. So I don't have a particularly long or well-thought out post and am instead linking to some things that maybe you would like to see.

The first are from a site called Racebending. The site grew in reaction to the casting for a movie version of Nickelodeon's show, Avatar: the Last Airbender. The world of the show is clearly built with East Asian and Inuit cultural elements. Where the problem is ... well, look at the characters from the show:

Look at the casting:

The film is M. Night Shyamalan's latest attempt at a blockbuster, and the trailer looks pretty damned cool. I certainly thought it looked like I might want to see it, but not now. In fact, I'm going to be boycotting it, and encouraging my friends to do likewise.

It's not the first time this has happened, and it seems to happen a lot with sf/fantasy -- does Hollywood think that, because those genres are still somewhat marginalized, the fans are too few to notice and be annoyed?

If you remember, this sort of thing also happened with the adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea. Le Guin was not pleased with the result. It also regularly happens on bookcovers, where the main characters are depicted as white, even when the text makes it clear that they aren't.

Racebending also points to the video below. It's almost 10 minutes long, but worth watching.

It's interesting that this week is also seeing the winding-down of the furore following the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in his own home. There's been a lot of coverage of that on the web, on TV, and pretty much everywhere. HNN has had a lot of coverage, including this column on President Obama's tendency to not confront issues of race very directly. My own opinion is that the arrest was probably fine within the letter of the law, but the circumstances were probably loaded with a lot of racial baggage. Would Gates have been as upset had he not been a black man who has achieved a pretty notable position in the scholarly, and even talking-head, community -- and yet every day has to deal with a society where there are still many forms of institutional racism, and knows very well that people of color are frequently treated differently by the legal system and its representatives than whites? Would Sgt. Crowley have reacted as he did had Gates been white? or even (and my own totally unfounded guess is that this might have had something to do with it) had Crowley not been someone who was supposed to be especially well-versed in issues of racism, and was perhaps even more upset by Gates' alleged abusive language because he thought of himself as an ally?

I am not sure. What I am sure of is that race is still a very real issue in most of the societies in which I and my readers live. There's a poll on Facebook at the moment asking whether Michael Vick should be allowed to return to a career in the NFL after his conviction for participating in a dog-fighting ring. I do sometimes wonder if professional athletes would be held to higher standards if the demographics of professional sports in the US had not changed so dramatically over the last 30 or so years. Along with our, "anyone can make it if they just work hard enough," mythos, we have also developed one where sports save the young black men from a sure future of life in the inner-city, probably dealing drugs, fathering welfare babies, and otherwise caught, inevitably, in a vicious cycle of crime and punishment. So if professional athletes act like criminals, well, what do we expect? There's a subtext of "we know that's what they are" in a lot of the media coverage of the lives of professional athletes.

Um ... no. There are lots of reasons why people commit crimes, but I'm pretty damned sure that race is not a cause, although there are correlations between some of the effects of institutionalized racism, e.g., poverty, poorer education and fewer opportunities for better education, surroundings where people are more exposed to crime, disproportionate incarceration of juvenile offenders, etc., and whether or not a person becomes a criminal.

I don't really have much else to say on the matter. I just thought I should say something, because, well, it's something we should be aware of, and now's a good time to remember that.

Thanks to [personal profile] swisstone for one of the links and to [personal profile] sartorias for originally pointing me to the Avatar stuff.


May. 31st, 2009 02:54 pm
a_d_medievalist: a gift for my birthday from gillo.  Please don't use it! (Default)
The man had been shot before, his clinic bombed -- and no one ever caught. BOMBED. How is this not a form of terrorism?

x-posted to my LJ


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