maraahmed.com

un cahier perlé

July 31, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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A Thin Wall will be part of the 3rd i Film Festival in California

A THIN WALL has been selected to be screened at the 13th annual 3rd i Film Festival which runs Oct 22-25 in San Francisco, and Nov 1 in Palo Alto. The film will be part of the Palo Alto lineup on Nov 1st, and included in a program called ‘Voices of Partition’ – it will be followed by a panel discussion organized by the 1947 Partition Archive.

July 31, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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symposium on culural identity and religious belief

July 30-31, 2015: attended a symposium at nazareth college. it was about the interaction between cultural identity and religious belief. papers were presented by academics from saudi arabia, many of them women. the discussion was harmless enough as it supported dialogue and co-existence, all theoretically though, with very little analysis of the political realities on the ground. what was not said, not critiqued, not challenged was, in a way, more telling.

with women presenters at the symposium

with women presenters at the symposium

July 31, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Killing of three Palestinians in a week shouldn’t be business as usual

Mairav Zonszein: Three unarmed Palestinians killed in one week is alarming. If it were three Israelis, the news of the “escalation” or “wave of violence” would surely be much more widespread in both local and international media. But it is not only the frequency of these events; it is the fact that they are accepted as routine — and legitimate — operations in Israel. Israeli soldiers force their way into a home in the dead of night, fully armed, masked and protected. They don’t need a warrant, and the suspects don’t have any rights. Israeli army claims that soldiers’ lives were at risk is what justifies the killing of unarmed Palestinians. Sound familiar? That is because it has happened over and over again for nearly 50 years. The very nature of the relationship between occupier and occupied, between the soldier and the enemy, to which Israelis have become so accustomed and desensitized, somehow makes the killing of three Palestinians into a non-event that mainstream Israeli journalists don’t bother to question. More here.

July 31, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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‘I’m No Longer Afraid’: 35 Women Tell Their Stories About Being Assaulted by Bill Cosby, and the Culture That Wouldn’t Listen

Teju Cole: Last night, reading the accounts by women who had been assaulted by Cosby, I was overcome with sorrow.

Tricky to say anything about this, but silence is simply not an option. This is everybody’s business. But I’ll say some things to the men who are reading.

We men benefit, all of us men benefit, from rape culture. We benefit from the pain it causes women because we sprint ahead obliviously; we benefit from the way it knocks them off circuit and opens space for us; we benefit from the way it dehumanizes them so that our own humanity can shine more greatly; and we benefit from the aura of power it gives us as perpetrators or as beneficiaries. And because we benefit, explicitly or implicitly, we are not vociferous enough in our opposition to it.

(This is why, even after everything we know, it is still possible for the New Yorker to put up a long article praising Woody Allen, as they did last week—”The Existential Genius of Late Woody Allen”—praising him from beginning to end, in every line, as though none of that other stuff were relevant, as though it were somehow gauche to acknowledge what he’d done. That’s rape culture for you, at the highest levels: not mere silence, but you have to come out and sing hosannas to the guy.)

We must fight rape culture, even in its allegedly mild manifestations, we must be grieved with the grief of those who commit the crime and those who benefit from a world built on such crimes, we must oppose men who wade in with stupid explanations and caveats and distractions, we must surrender the poisonous sentimentality that makes us believe a “great artist” over a less well-known woman. Indeed, we must be willing to let anyone go—think of any man you admire, any man at all, alive or in history, close to you or far away, and think to yourself that you must be willing to let him go—if such things are true of him too. And understand that such things can be true of any of them, of any of us.

We must be allies in this, in a subsidiary but vital role, to the generations of women who have been fighting it since forever. Why should it be easy? It can’t be. We will have to face even the complication of confronting those few women who are themselves invested in perpetuating rape culture. It will cause us extreme discomfort, but our discomfort will be nothing compared to the pain of being a victim of rape or assault or harassment.

And above all we must listen, to women, and to the significant but vastly smaller number of men who have also been assaulted. So that, gradually, we can collectively begin to slough off this wretched state of affairs in which the first thing someone who has been assaulted thinks is “no one will believe me.”
That’s to men.

And to women: I believe you. And I’m heartbroken about the many ways in which I fail to live up to that belief.

Article here.

July 31, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Susiya’s struggle lays bare Israel’s colonial agenda for Palestine

Joseph Dana: As events outside of Palestine divert attention from the colonial complexion of Israel’s position in the region and its leadership’s fear mongering over regional threats continues on a daily basis, Israel will entrench its footprint on the West Bank. Settler towns like Israeli Susiya will be reinforced, while the natural resources of the area will be used by Israel for its sole benefit and enrichment. The only constant feature of this decades-long conflict is the ever-growing Israeli appetite for Palestinian land and resources. Regardless of negative publicity or the high cost of maintaining the occupation, Israel will continue on this path until it is forced to end its colonial escapades. After all, as Fanon noted: “Colonialism is not a thinking machine nor a body endowed with reasoning faculties.” The plight of Susiya is the embodiment of Fanon’s description of colonialism in action. The village’s saga demonstrates the unavoidable truth at the heart of Israel and Palestine: that the conflict is a colonial one that only borrows the rhetoric of a religious conflict to obscure its true dimensions. It will be the deployment of colonial theory and anti-colonial tactics, as laid out in the work of Fanon and others, that will ultimately resolve the conflict. More here.

July 25, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Yes, it’s possible to be queer and Muslim

Lamya H: And likewise, to extend that mercy to others, my Muslim communities in particular. I don’t need to renounce my communities, can’t blame them entirely for their casual homophobia in a world that is homophobic. When homonationalist, mainstream LGBT politics have been wielded to further marginalize my communities, paint them as “backward” and justify occupation. I don’t need to defend why I keep going back to my mosque, don’t need to name the spiritual highs and sense of connectedness I derive from this imperfect space, this imperfect community. This imperfect community that struggles with homophobia, but also with anti-blackness and misogyny, that is simultaneously battling surveillance and racial profiling, wars in the name of saving us from ourselves, motherlands being pounded by drones. This imperfect community that I’m invested in fighting both with and against. That I don’t need to enact my queerness in ways that are understandable – to straight people, through marriage, through claiming biological determinants of gayness. That I don’t need to enact my queerness in ways that are understandable to gay people either – I don’t need to take off my hijab, don’t need to come out unless I want to. Not to my parents, not to casual acquaintances, not even to all of my friends. Instead, what I need, what I find I cannot live without is community. Queer Muslim community, specifically: chosen families comprising people who eat together and protest together, whom I can be queer around and Muslim around without having to defend, explain, justify. Iftars every day in Ramadan and reading Quran together and beach trips galore. People who will pick me up after a bad heartbreak, people who I can turn to for support because they have turned to me for support. People who define what it is to enact love. More here.

July 25, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Jon Stewart Told Wyatt Cenac to F*ck Off When He Was Challenged About Race

this is not “jon bashing,” nor is this about the appropriateness of jon’s herman cain impression or about humor in general, it’s more about how POCs can be shut up and dismissed on the subject of race. funny how white people know more about racism than everybody else and how their hurt feelings trump others’ lived experience.

[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There’s a tone in your voice. I was like, “There’s no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.” And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, “Fuck off. I’m done with you.” And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. “Fuck off! I’m done with you.” And he stormed out. And I didn’t know if I had been fired. More here.

July 25, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Not just gender-based violence in Palestine

Sa’ed Adel Atshan: I have pages and pages of notes and writing on my research examining humanitarian responses to gender-based violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Structural and physical violence outside of the home certainly exacerbate violence in the home– especially in such a patriarchal context. But it has also become clearer to me that we must understand how our society simultaneously cultivates a durability of nurturing love between so many men and their mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters. One man I interviewed said there were no words to describe how much his wife means to him. He said that his father-in-law, on the eve of the wedding, was in tears, imploring him to take care of his daughter that he raised for over two decades. The husband said, “I promised to never let my father-in-law down and to be “shareekiha fil haya” [her partner in life].” Another man told me that he would “give his eyes” to his daughter– the only girl and youngest of five children. He said that when the brothers want something, they send their sister to ask for it because they know how his heart melts when he sees her after a long day at work. There are countless stories like these. I need to make sure that my representations of all the abusive men here don’t eclipse the voices and experiences of all their counterparts whose patience, respect, gentleness, and kindness for their families are just as worthy of our attention.

July 23, 2015
by mara.ahmed
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Support BLACK at the National Convening for Black Lives

Help local activists (and members of BLACK) attend the National Convening for Black Lives by supporting this fundraiser.

“B.L.A.C.K. | Building Leadership And Community Knowledge is a grassroots collective created to empower the Black community through education, awareness, leadership development, cooperative economics, social media, and tactful action in an effort to combat the many disparities caused by institutionalized racism. Through a unique focus on Black cultures, as opposed to race, the group strives to help emphasize the value of Black lives and promote solidarity amongst peoples of the African diaspora.”