When my husband and I came to Chicago from Israel so that I could go to graduate school, we had no intention of staying here permanently.
But then the second Palestinian intifada happened, and the Israeli government’s entirely irresponsible and deadly response to same, and we came to a conclusion: We no longer wanted to raise children in Israel.
At the time, we only had the one child, a round-cheeked toddler boy, but the fact of his boy-ness sharpened the point. Our choice came mostly out of a desire to educate him differently, to not sacrifice his up-bringing and our values on the altar of occupation and settlement, but there was an unavoidable sense of having also snatched our son from the jaws of war — because in Israel, of course, every 18 year old boy is drafted into the military. Girls go, too, but they don’t see combat. They don’t die.
I bring this up now because I’ve been thinking a lot about all the parents of African American boys who are holding their sons a little closer today in the wake of the horrible, heartbreaking Trayvon Martin case.
My aunt is one of those moms — white as me, but mom to a black man who was once young, a young black man who was stopped for jogging in his own neighborhood, a young black man for whom she would tremble a little whenever he went into the city.
Posted in Emily L. Hauser, Now That's Some Racist Bullsh*t, What the Crap!?
Tagged Aaron Campbell, Amadou Diallo, black men killed by police, Kiwane Carrington, Orlando Barlow, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Steven Eugene Washington, Timothy Stansbury Jr., Travares McGill, Trayvon Martin, white privilege
Peter Beinart (who is now, loosely speaking, my boss), has raised a kerfluffle, something of a habit of his (see his 2010 essay, The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment, as well as the blog he edits at which I’m a columnist, Zion Square). He did this most recently on Sunday, by suggesting in the New York Times that supporters of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should boycott Israel’s West Bank settlements.
“Oh noes!” cried Israel’s ambassador to the US, and various prominent Jewish thinkers, “Beinart is radical! And boycotting Jews! And boycotting Jews [and here I quote Jeffrey Goldberg] is distasteful, for obvious historical reasons!” I’m not at all sure what historical reasons these may be, as Jews have rather a history of disagreeing with each other and acting on those disagreements, and “radical”? A man who attends an Orthodox synagogue and declares himself a pro-Israel Zionist? Words are, once again, drifting free of their moorings, but that’s par for the course in these arguments.
The simple truth is that a boycott of Israel’s settlements has been around for awhile. I’ve been boycotting settlement products since before I left Israel, in 1998. Peace Now called for a boycott last July, and many Israelis think that’s a dandy idea. But Peter has real buzz, between his about-to-be-released book, and the aforementioned blog project — so, you know: Cue the drama!
Internet friend and fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates commenter Sergi (also known as HappySurge and @SadBastardBar) left the following poem in our open thread yesterday, in memory of Trayvon Martin and all the other boys who have been killed, and will be killed, in the same way, killed for being young, male, and black. If you can participate in today’s Million Hoodies for Trayvon campaign, particularly if you’re in NYC and can go to Union Square at 6 pm, please do so.
As I’ve said elsewhere, Trayvon was first his family’s and his community’s boy. But he was an American. He was my boy, too.
May his memory be for a blessing.
For You, Who Used to Be
When you were born,
there was a bullet waiting
in a bigot’s gun.
The first time your mother held you,
the first time you saw your parents argue,
the first girl that bothered you
on the playground
before you knew what you two were supposed to do
with each other;
that bullet was always waiting,
like a guardian angel,
to kiss you when you fell
to covet grace before you and violence most of all.
Last week, I got all caught up in my anti-War on Women fury and tweeted an article that, it transpired, was three years old. Oopsie!
In my defense, though, it was about a law in Oklahoma that was really, really heinous and had actually passed, so my brain was a bit addled. This law (later struck down by the courts) would have required that the details of every abortion conducted in the state be posted on a public website:
The questionnaire doesn’t include the woman’s name or “any information specifically identifying the patient,” but it does ask for age, race, level of education, marital status, number of previous pregnancies, and the county in which the abortion was performed, information which opponents of the bill argue would be enough to identify a woman in a small town. The questionnaire also asks about the mother’s reason for the abortion, her method of payment, and even what type of insurance she has, as well as whether the fetus received anaesthetic and whether there was “an infant born alive as a result of the abortion.”
So, you know – phew! At least we dodged that one!
Except we didn’t.
Again: No good reason, beyond my sheer love of the song. Sometimes Billy is an angry prophet – sometimes he’s just a man in love.
It’s bad timing and me
We find a lot of things out this way
And there’s you
A little black cloud in a dress
To take the precious things we have apart
To see how they work
Must be resisted for they never fit together again
If this is rain let it fall on me and drown me
If these are tears let them fall
Hearing these words, I remember this feeling so sharply it hurts all over again (clip after the jump).
I have been pregnant four times.
These pregnancies led to the following four results, in this order: abortion, baby, miscarriage, baby.
These pregnancies occurred over a span of many years, across two continents, and in three different homes. There were at least seven different health care professionals involved, my hair styles varied widely, as did my levels of nausea. The only constant, in all four cases, other than me, was the presence of a penis.
It happened to be the penis I eventually married, but regardless, that is how pregnancy works. No matter who you are, no matter your sexuality, ability to reproduce, or family make-up, if there are children in your life, at some point along the way, there was a penis involved.
I mention this only because it seems the GOP may have forgotten.
Ever since the internet discovered that it could be used For Good, people have railed against the phenomenon now known as “clicktivism.”
Clicking a link/signing an online petition is not nearly enough (goes the argument) — and worse than that, doing these things gives people a false sense of achievement. Having re-tweeted some punchy hashtag (the argument continues), people think they’ve “helped,” and move on to their reality-TV-watching, double-cheeseburger-eating lives, now freed of any sense that they might need to do anything truly useful.
Inevitably, any social campaign that goes viral leads to a great deal of such handwringing — as one headline recently put it: “Is ‘clicktivism’ destroying meaningful social activism?”
But the question is far from new: I recall the wrath of an old friend when I had the temerity to suggest many years ago that folks could help raise funds for hunger relief via The Hunger Site (where I still click, by the way, on a nearly daily basis, along with all the other clickable causes that GreaterGood Network now supports).
Here’s what I don’t understand about the question, though: What world do these people live in? Or, alternatively: What past are they remembering? Did they once live in a world peopled with passionate social activists burning with a sense of mission, ready to chuck it all, or at least the occasional evening, for the sake of repairing the world?
Do you like Nathan Fillion, rugged-yet-sensitive-Canadian-acting-person, of Firefly, Castle, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dr. Horrible, and Waitress fame? Do you like to laugh? Are you, maybe — just maybe — a wee bit of a geek?
Of course you do, of course you do, and of course you are!
That being the case, you will understand why the following made me so happy. I give to you: Nathan Fillion guesting on a web series starring his friends (I think! I don’t know what it’s like to be Nathan Fillion’s friend. I can only imagine. And what I’m imagining looks like Canadian unicorns) Tim and Sam Daly, being — let’s face it — stinkin’ funny. And also, unavoidably, inevitably: Ruggedly handsome. He carries his curse well.
Four minutes and fifty-three seconds of sheer delight. Enjoy (after the jump, people)!
See update, below.
I often find that I use Twitter as my rough draft for a full-fledged post — the outrage (or delight – occasionally there’s delight) begins, and my thoughts start to come together in that forum, and then I wind up over here, writing it all in a more coherent (and less 140-character dependent) form.
Such was the case over the weekend, as news broke of renewed hostilities on the Gaza-Israel border, and I began to tweet.
The whole thing started when Israel assassinated Zuhir al-Qaisi, the leader of the Palestinian Popular Resistance Committees (a militant group more extremist than Hamas) in an airstrike near Gaza City on Friday. Israel claims that al-Qaisi was in the process of planning another attack like the one last August for which it holds the PRC responsible, an attack in which eight Israelis were murdered outside of Eilat (Israel’s southern-most point).
The problems with just that first paragraph are myriad, however, starting with the fact that extra-judicial assassinations are illegal and immoral. Even if one presumes al-Qaisi’s guilt, his assistant was also killed in that initial attack. Moreover, I, for one, have learned not to immediately trust any government that drops information like “so-and-so was about to kill us, that’s why we had to take him out” — governments have very, very good reasons to lie about these things, and, if Israel was in fact lying this time, it had an especially good reason to do so: Those involved in last August’s Eilat attack didn’t actually come from Gaza, where al-Qaisi and the PRC are located. The terrorists came from the Sinai.