Tag: Terrorism

Weekend Links

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ”
– Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The American political news this week was appalling and, as a citizen abroad, cripplingly humiliating. The history of the American nation is one of a country constantly falling short of its own ideals, and yet striving tirelessly towards them anyway. We’ve backslid, we’ve divided, we’ve pushed for better, we’ve linked arms and moved forward together. I trust that will continue. But the current moment feels really, really dark. There are astonishing moments of light and brightness, yes, but I find myself constantly dismayed at my own naivete in thinking so many of the forces I see ascendant now were–not dead (I’m not that dumb), but were at least on the down and out. I was wrong. I was ignorant. I won’t make the mistake of complacency again.

To put your money where your mouth is in condemning white nationalism (code of white supremacy), BossedUp has put together an excellent list of causes you can support here. I will be donating, I encourage you to do the same.

The whole Charlottesville story is awful so let me be clear: if you are a purpose who purports to stand against people mobilized by dangerous ideology (political and religious) happening “elsewhere,” I damn sure expect you to oppose it on home turf. At time of adding this story, the photos look inches away from an actual Jim Crow South style lynch mob.

Added over the weekend: it got worse. Rest in power, Heather Heyer.

It got even worse. Seth Meyers, of all people, summed up my feelings on the president’s statements on the matter. Which he then tried to walk back with a scripted statement, which he later overturned again to confirm that his first statements that “both sides” were to blame truly reflected his views. I will concede that both sides threw punches; only one was able to show up armed better than the actual police (thanks to decades of paranoia-rousing and the systematic arming of civilians with military grade weaponry, and entrenched racism–I dare anyone to argue that a para-military group of black men armed to the teeth in an identical way would not have been met with swift and deadly force). Only one side is embracing an ideology that necessitates the subjegation or extermination of millions. There is no moral equivalency, and “both sides” arguments will not hold water here.

Seth Meyers nailed it again. I feel out of ways to say that Mr. Trump is unfit for the office he holds. I am not calling for his impeachment because that is a legal process that must be done in the right way for reasons within the boundaries of law…that or our laws are meaningless. But he is morally, intellectually, temperamentally unfit for the role he has been awarded, and I believe he is causing damage to the office and both the functionality and perception of the American government.

Vice produced a compelling, informative, and frightening mini-documentary almost in real time that should be required viewing in this moment.

This thread about the, let’s be frank, false victimhood of the American white male is required reading.

 

I legitimately had to read this article a couple of times and sit with it, because it’s so self-descriptive. I am horrible at taking holidays, and I am trying to take advantage of them (seeing as how I’m legally entitled to them, and all…) but the guilt I often feel for putting in a time off request is corrosive.

I am not the biggest fan of Taylor Swift, but I read this story of her testimony against a man she accuses of assault with great satisfaction. When questioned how she feels about him losing his job due to the incident, the cool response was: “’I am not going to allow your client to make me feel like it is any way my fault, because it isn’t,’ she said. Later, she continued: ‘I am being blamed for the unfortunate events of his life that are a product of his decisions and not mine.’” Amen and amen.

Sir, could you just not?

Wealth is a strange thing.

Disrupt away, ladies!

Faith in humanity ticking back up.

WAY behind the times but worth celebrating.

Oh man. I’ve given myself permission to buy from this collection when it launches, but now I fear it will take ALL of my money…

I might need to arrange to be on Westminster Bridge next Monday.

Pro tip: be a dick in public, get dragged in public. It’s the brave new media world.

Why white people don’t get to say, “This isn’t us.”

This story could have been handled in a tabloid-y and gross way. In McKay Coppins’ capable hands, it’s done very well.

Another tiny bright spot.

This week in Mormon news, another thing to warm your feeds!

What the **** is wrong with people?! (trigger warning on this one, but a number of -isms are on display here and need to be confronted)

And then, on Thursday, there was another terrorist car attack, this time in Barcelona. Waking up this morning, there was more bad news in Spain. My heart hurts.

Album of the week: Silk and Soul, by Nina Simone

Four Days in Paris Part 1

“Cities have sexes: London is a man, Paris a woman, and New York a well-adjusted transsexual.”
― Angela Carter

I’ve been putting these posts together for a while now, and the day I was going to post the first part of the story, there was another attack in Paris. The information of this us still being pieced together.

The city of light is a resilient old girl, just as London is a crusty old guy, and both are holding it together spectacularly. And yet. It does feel like there are people who want to rip it to shreds because it’s beautiful and (at it’s best) it an be seen as a symbol of people getting along in spite of forces trying to rip it apart. Sometimes failing miserably, but still trying.

There’s a reason people fall in love with Paris. It revels in beauty and thought and language, which is dangerous to the harsh and the narrow. It’s sumptuous and gauche and luxurious and wretched all at the same time. It wears its age and its history well, and it doesn’t seem to be ashamed of even its own darker moments. It’s easy to love and so I think it must be easy to hate too.

It’s not surprising to me that Paris is considered female or feminine in its language or its characterization. It’s not safe to be beautiful, disappointing, sexy, boring, interesting, complicated, conflicted, contrary, romanticized, fetishized, put on a pedestal, found lacking, found transcendent, loved, or hated. Paris is all of these things. I’m always glad when go and I’m sorrowed that I or other people have to second guess whether or not it’s safe to right now. We need her romance and charm and pleasure and sober history more than ever.

Weekend Links

“They want us to turn on our neighbors and it will never happen.”

It was a rough week here in the UK, as I’m sure international readers may imagine. The company I’m contracting with is tangentially but significantly affected by security changes throughout the world so work was a bit full on this week and London was operating at a heightened state of vigilance. Nothing but praise for first responders and the Manchester community who showed up to support their city, refused to tolerate malicious commentary based on prejudice, and general came together in ways that might have made me tear up a bit. Oh, and humor. The Brits responded with humor.

The American president leaked I mean mentioned in casual conversation the location of nuclear subs, put forward a budget that is (in my opinion) aggressively hostile to poor and disenfranchised citizens whilst potentially seriously ******* with NATO’s ability to function, and quite literally cost a dear friend of my her job–in case you thought it had to pass through Congress before having any effect. He also received the Pope’s treatise on climate change. Boy I hope they included the Cliff Notes.

Meanwhile, I’m happy in the knowledge that human beings are fantastic.

Here are you links for the weekend, kittens, and hope you find some joy in it. Stories and sharing in the comments, please!

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Here, have some balm for the soul.

Fellow yanks, let me translate this British for you: they are pissed at us right now.

Not subjected to high levels of editorial scrutiny, huh? You don’t say. (I don’t have time to delve into why this whole conspiracy theory story and the people promoting it are garbage, but there I stand. In case you were wondering.)

Heartbreaking

Enough with the depression, let’s have some fun for a bit! This bot is doing the lord’s work.

Guy, GUYS! The internet did something good!

Also, GET HYPE. 

Loved this piece in Bazaar. It’s fine, good, and healthy to want a loving partner and committed partnerships–and voicing your support for feminism and feminist causes is NOT a barrier to that. I have a kind of great partner who proves that point. False dichotomies are lazy and unhelpful–and dare I say, tools of the patriarchy. Meanwhile a partner who abuses you, limits your choices, is unwilling to find family-specific and personal compromises on all aspects of home and family life, or is otherwise a jerk to you for having opinions IS a barrier to a healthy, happy, and productive life.

Here’s an instagram feed to make your day more pretty.

This story is altogether too common, but I’m thrilled her account is getting recognized and is being taken seriously.

You decide, ducklings: how important are these pineapple earrings to my happiness?

It’s going to be a summer of TV for me, between Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods, and a list of other pop culture To Dos. But I’m also committed to finishing up my audiobook goal and getting my Goodreads year end report looking impressive.

Album of the week: True Care, by James Vincent McMorrow

9/11

[Partial repost from 5/2, the day I learned about bin Laden’s death, but it contains my 9/11 story.  Please share yours]

In 2001 my family lived on an American military base on a godforsaken little island in the middle of the Pacific ocean.  The joys of government service, n’est pas?

My day began at 4:30am when I and two other kids attended an early morning meeting for teenagers.  Only one of us had a driver’s license so we carpooled together to this meeting, back again to catch a bus at 6:30.  The island was tiny but the roads were so bad that it took over an hour to get just 30 miles to our school.  I got out of school at 2:30pm, then had soccer practice until 5pm, and then back onto the bus for a ride that zigzagged back home and took longer than the initial ride to school did.  I stumbled through the doors sometime between 7 and 8pm, did homework, and fell into bed.  I was a shockingly well behaved teenager, but in retrospect that might have been because I was consistently exhausted.

September 11, 2001 didn’t start out too differently.  That morning I climbed yawning into the car and the three of us drove off to our meeting.  As we passed through the gates we noticed far more men in camouflage than usual, but chalked it up to some sort of training exercise and weren’t too alarmed when the heavy bars slid shut behind us.

But when we got to our destination, the youth leader was standing outside her car.  Shivering.  On a tropical island.  The three of us braced for bad news, but even we weren’t prepared to be told that the United States had apparently been attacked.

We weren't let off the base for days. And those of us who didn't have work to distract us watched this, over and over again, for a week.

Remember, we lived on a base and our parents were employed in the military  or government of various countries.  A million thoughts ran through my head: Are we at war?  Will my family be separated?  Will they send me and my siblings away?  Is it even safe to travel?  We have dozens of planes and ships stationed here – are we a target?  And then, finally, how will I get home?

It turns out that the base had utterly shut down, we could get off, but they weren’t letting anyone back on.  But we had a secret weapon, my Dad’s considerable rank.  We called him and he escorted us on base, and when we were stopped at the gates and denied entry, my usually mild mannered father snapped, “This is my daughter and she is coming in.”

That was when the fear really hit me.

10 years later that fear has actually largely dissipated.  The world is the way it is.  The nature of my father’s profession meant that we were frequent travelers and though the fear of terrorists never stopped me from getting on a plane, it would a lie to say that it never intruded on my travel thoughts and plans.    I grew up in government and military circles which has meant that for the past ten years many of the people I knew were at war or at least directly affected by it, and not in ways confined to CNN or BBC news blips.

[end of repost]

When the Pentagon was hit, both my mother and I blanched, even though it had been over a decade wince my father worked there.  For the first time in my life my government and society was caught completely off guard and a sense of security was shaken in a way that I have never felt before or sense.  I am not special.  My life was not the only one changed, and it was certainly not the most affected, I lost no friends or parents.  But my generation has been affected in ways that we don’t even recognize sometimes.  I still have to practically strip to get on a plane.    Most people I am acquainted with have known a military serviceman or woman who has served in the Afghan or Iraq war.  Anytime a news agency reports a man-made tragedy, my brain goes first to terrorism.  I can’t help but wonder if something as huge and devastating as 9/11 will happen again.

For me personally the people I admire most from that fateful day were the people on United Flight 93 who fought back, because I hope that I too could be as brave as that in those circumstances.  But then I realize that there is a chance, however small, that I may be put in that position someday, the world being the way it is now, and I doubt my bravery.  There were many acts of bravery that day, and for me that should be the legacy of 9/11: that people, in the face of crippling fear and terror, volunteered to fight back, to run into the flames, to carry neighbors to safety, to put aside retirement or days off and show up to help when they didn’t know what was happening, for civilians to bring water and food for rescuers and the rescued alike, or to stay and bear witness to what no one should ever have to see.  That’s what we should “never forget.”