never like a boy you’ll end up either hating them or hating yourself
the point of social activism isn’t equality or loving each other, it’s about breaking down dangerous power systems when are people gonna get this
Almanina Barbour, a black militant woman in Philadelphia, once pointed out to me: “The women’s movement is the first in history with a war on and no enemy.” I winced. It was an obvious criticism. I fumbled about in my mind for an answer: surely the enemy must have been defined at some time. Otherwise, what had we been shooting at for the last couple of years? Into the air? Only two responses came to me, although in looking for those two I realized that it was a question carefully avoided. The first and by far the most frequent answer was “society”. The second, infrequently and always furtively, was “men”.
If “society” is the enemy, what could that mean? If women are being oppressed, there’s only one group left over to be doing the oppressing: men. Then why call them “society”? Could “society” mean the “institutions” that oppress women? But institutions must be maintained, and the same question arises: by whom? The answer to “who is the enemy?” is so obvious that the interesting issue quickly becomes “why has it been avoided?”. The master might tolerate many reforms in slavery but none that would threaten his essential role as master. Women have known this, and since “men” and “society” are in effect synonymous, they have feared confronting him. Without this confrontation and a detailed understanding of what his battle strategy has been that has kept us so successfully pinned down, the “women’s movement” is worse than useless: it ‘invites’ backlash from men, and no progress for women.”
Anonymous said: what are your thoughts about the white house iftar?
I could turn this into an all out thesis, but I’ll spare that today.
This country is hostile towards Muslims. So much so that those who are even ancestrally associated with or have been mistaken for Muslims (Arab Christians, Sikhs, Hindus etc) are also subject to Islamophobic backlash. Islamophobia is not merely an unfortunate social byproduct, its a state sanctioned form of bigotry and hatred that’s been utilized to export unprecedented amounts of violence to Muslim majority nations. This violence is deployed by direct combat and siege, funding dangerous militias and coups, stunting economies by ways of sanctions, installing puppet dictatorships or supporting occupation and genocides (Palestine and Somali Galbeed by bankrolling Israel and Ethiopia respectively, for example).
Given the deliberately nefarious relationship American politicians have cultivated around Islam and towards Muslims, one should be innately inclined to wonder what the motives of a White house iftar is. Who gets invited? Why? What conversations can and can’t be had with a group of people whose jobs it is to destabilize countries many of us are from? There’s a sharp cognitive dissonance with the fact that some elite Muslims in more lofty positions can attend iftar dinners in the same structure that hosted the most devastating and patently Islamophobic political measures. Drone strikes are signed off in the White House. Sanctions have been approved in the White House. Muslims have been spied on and have had their phones tapped because of decisions made in the White House. How can anyone faithfully say that White House iftars are made in good conscience and with pious intentions when after the plates are cleared, the violence resumes as normal.
In fact, this year, they didn’t even wait to clear the plates. Obama’s pivotal statement was his assessment that Israel had the right to defend itself, thus asserting that Palestinian slaughter was not only justifiable, but necessary. Because when you allow the colonizer further access to massacre the colonized, but extend no sentiment vice versa, that’s what you’re saying. It doesn’t take a genius to understand the dynamic and insidious nature of statements that legitimize settler colonialism and worse, masquerade as if they are victims of brutality in any meaningful or relevant capacity.
Think about why he chose that particular moment to enable Zionist violence. Of all the months of the Islamic year and in the history of Palestinian genocide, using this time to utilize Islam to reinforce the brutality against a Muslim majority region was an egregiously sadistic act. And the cherry on top? No one walked out. So here we have a dinner that is caught on video for millions to see, (which is supposed to hold immense spiritual sentimental value), but instead is used as a platform in which a long standing genocide is endorsed and congratulated and the appearance speaks as if it was approved by the Muslims who attended, because they didn’t walk out.
What does that say to the world about the neutral approach towards Palestinian genocide? What does that say to Muslim Palestinians who have to deal with the instrumentalization of their faith (probably one of the few things that allows them hope to withstand violence) used as a tool against them? What does that say about the disgustingly privileged and opportunistic nature of certain Muslim leaders in the West to our brothers and sisters back home, who are oppressed by both the very apparatus of American politics and our unwillingness to speak out?
This was a reprehensible act of violence. Towards Palestinians first and foremost, and secondarily to all Muslim activists who put their heart, time, soul and efforts in BDS movements. Who have been victims of nonconsensual videotaping, relentless harassment, assault, lawsuits, fired from jobs and expelled from schools to stand up against Israel’s brutality against Palestine.
This is the neoliberal hell we live in. Where liberal governments can pay meaningless lip service and empty gestures towards brutalized minorities, but encroach upon them and utilize them as agents against their own. And franky, anyone who attends White House iftars should be completely ashamed of themselves.