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May 12, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Urchins

Over fifty crocheters worked on this absolutely stunning Choi + Shine-designed lace installation featured in this year’s “i light marina bay” sustainable light art festival in Singapore. More here.

May 11, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Kshama Sawant: Don’t Wait for Authoritarian Trump to Be Impeached, This is the Moment to Revolt

Not only do I agree with everything Kshama Sawant is saying here, but I also love what she’s wearing 🙂

Kshama Sawant: …I don’t think the most important question is whether or not a certain FBI director was fired. And I’ll say why: because the FBI itself is part of a racist and repressive security and state apparatus. It has a long track record of targeting activists, black activists. So, at the end of the day, the larger question is what this indicates as far as the status of the administration is concerned, and what should we be doing about it. I think a lot of people correctly want Trump out. I want Trump out. But I want Trump, the Republicans, the billionaire class and the security state out of power. How do we accomplish that?

…The strike actions on May 1st were very significant. And ultimately, a very strong indicator of what’s already happened in Trump’s regime is the airport actions that happened in late January, that were a decisive factor, the civil disobedience and shutdown, peaceful shutdown, of airports. That was a decisive factor in giving Trump his first stinging defeat on his attempted Muslim ban. I think we need more of those kinds of social movements. And right now, if people are sitting up and taking notice, let’s get organized.

…if you’re talking about the most important issue for Americans right now, it’s healthcare. …when the majority of people want single payer, why is it that the most prominent Democrat, Nancy Pelosi, said that single payer will not be in the Democratic Party platform? Why is it that in Democratic-dominated states—Washington, Oregon, California, all of these have Democratic governors—why isn’t it that they are joining? Why aren’t the prominent Democrats joining the movements on the ground and saying, “Let’s fight for single-payer healthcare. Let’s tax the rich. Let’s make sure we have a West Coast-wide single-payer healthcare”?

…we cannot rely on corporate Democrats. We will have to build independently of the corporate Democrats and fight for single-payer healthcare. More here.

May 10, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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It’s Time to Talk About What’s Radicalizing White Male Terrorists

Lincoln Blades: In a nation where we strive to understand religious propaganda in order to prevent further indoctrination, it’s crucial we take a more serious approach in identifying white nationalist, white supremacist, misogynistic, homophobic, and transphobic agitprop. We cannot and should not dismiss any prejudiced motive because, by fact, the most common and most lethal form of domestic terrorism isn’t carried out by brown-skinned Islamic jihadists. And while the U.S. does not decrease its efforts to root out terrorism based on Muslim fundamentalism, the number one question that Americans of all backgrounds should be asking is: Who and what is radicalizing white male terrorists? More here.

May 10, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Viet Thanh Nguyen Reveals How Writers’ Workshops Can Be Hostile

i have often thought about how writing for a prestigious magazine such as the new yorker is not predicated on talent only but rather on being integrated into a very specific linguistic, aesthetic and political infrastructure. this piece by viet thanh nguyen truly speaks to me. thank u so much Rajesh for sharing with me.

VIET THANH NGUYEN: As an institution, the workshop reproduces its ideology, which pretends that “Show, don’t tell” is universal when it is, in fact, the expression of a particular population, the white majority, typically at least middle-class and often, but not exclusively, male. The identity behind the workshop’s origins is invisible. Like all privileges, this identity is unmarked until it is thrown into relief against that which is marked, visible and outspoken, which is to say me and others like me.

We, the barbarians at the gate, the descendants of Caliban, the ones who have no choice but to speak in the language we have — we come bearing the experiences and ideas the workshop suppresses. We come from the Communist countries America bombed during the Cold War, or where it sponsored counter-Communist efforts. We come from the lands America occupied, invaded or colonized. We come as refugees and immigrants, documented and undocumented. We come from the ghettos, barrios, reservations and borders of America where there are no workshops. We come from the bedrooms and the kitchens of the American home, where we were supposed to stay, and stay silent. We come speaking languages other than English. We come from the margins, where English is broken. We come with financial aid and loans and families that do not understand what “creative writing” is. We come from communities we do not wish to renounce in the name of our individualism. We come wanting to do more than just sell our stories to white audiences. And we come with the desire not just to show, but to tell. More here.

May 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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palestinian hunger strike

palestinian prisoners’ collective hunger strike enters its 23rd day!!! 1500 prisoners putting their lives on the line. their demands: an end to the denial of family visits, proper health care and medical treatment, access to higher education and an end to solitary confinement, administrative detention, and imprisonment without charge or trial. basic human rights. there are approximately 7,000 palestinian political prisoners inside israeli jails. there are over 400 child prisoners, including 108 under the age of 16. since the occupation of the west bank and gaza in 1967, over 800,000 palestinians from those areas have been held as political prisoners. this is a disgrace. it needs to stop. solidarity with #PalHunger #PalestinianPrisonersDay #Dignity_Strike #Palestine

May 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Photographic collages by Ysabel LeMay

The work of Austin, Texas-based visual artist Ysabel LeMay can be summed up simply: W.O.W. It stands for ‘Wonderful Other Worlds’, which she creates through the process of hypercollage. Her digitally composed panoramas of natural splendor, the real world remixed to paradisal perfection, are so vividly realized that one feels drawn to step into them. Traveling extensively, LeMay shoots plants, animals and the elements, constantly replenishing her visual catalog of the living world. While her technique is high-tech, LeMay’s hypercollage process is instinctual and organic, allowing each piece to dictate its own destiny. From a single, simple starting point — an image, a color, an emotion — she follows a meticulous process. First isolating and extracting elements of her photos, LeMay then weaves these together into intricate compositions of resplendent beauty.

Ysabel LeMay. Sanctum, 2011

May 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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A message from a French Muslim to US Muslims

Thx Muhammed Malik.

“Of course, the vast majority of us are happy Le Pen didn’t win. And many of us have much to say. If only the world would listen to us and not just to any “Muslim living in the West,” including American Muslim social media personalities who tend to speak the loudest and take up the most space. Could you ask US Muslims not to speak on behalf of French Muslims? Could you ask them not to breathe an unsolicited collective sigh of relief on our behalf when it is we, not they, who are dealing with and will deal with the daily lived realities of islamophobia here in France? Many of us are still trying to catch our breath while many American Muslims sigh in relief on our behalf and chatter loudly on social media without having spent time with any of us in our neighborhoods or masjids in France or without checking in with us on what we think Macron’s election means not just for Muslims but for workers and immigrants on a larger level, as well. Merci, Camarade.”

May 8, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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We Stand With Linda

For nearly two decades, Linda has fought for the rights of the dispossessed, marginalized, and underprivileged. She has stood by those who have faced persecution in the United States and abroad. We have all had the privilege of working closely with Linda, and we know first-hand that she is a dedicated organizer who brings communities together.

Just this year, Linda was one of the National Co-Chairs of the Women’s March on Washington, an event that drew over 1.2 million people in Washington and over 6 million across the globe. Her work has been honored and celebrated by countless community organizations, the highest levels of government, and popular culture. Former President Barack Obama named Linda a Champion of Change and Time Magazine recently recognized her as one its most Influential People of 2017. Linda’s record and character are impeccable and beyond reproach.

We call upon the City University of New York School of Public Health to stand with Linda. We call upon leaders in the New York State Assembly and the New York state government to condemn the false and hateful claims made by Hikind and Lancman. We also call upon people of conscience to support Linda by contacting the offices of Hikind and Lancman and condemning their attacks, by urging the CUNY School of Public Health to honor their commencement speaker invitation, and by visibly expressing your support (#IStandWithLinda) on social media. More here.

May 6, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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#palhunger #dignitystrike #decolonizethisplace

Steven Salaita: We are nearing the twentieth day of the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike. During this period, people from around the world have expressed their solidarity in various ways: by drinking salt water, doing their own fasts, writing beautiful messages of support, educating others about why the strike exists. Palestinians have taken to the streets. Israel has responded with typical brutality.

Meanwhile, the princes, dictators, and potentates that govern us have been virtually silent. They’re too busy collaborating with Israel and nurturing their obscene wealth to worry over wretched inconveniences starving in barbaric conditions. The economic and political elite in Beirut, Amman, Dubai, Riyadh, Cairo, and Doha go about the business of finding elegant suede loafers and form-fitting summer dresses so they can look marvelous while fleecing their compatriots and ensuring our region’s subservience to Western capital.

This should be a moment of rage, education, concern, reflection, love, understanding, and empathy, a moment to fight, a moment to achieve dignity, a moment to scream support for fellow human beings refusing to eat so that we might one day enjoy the taste of freedom. At the very least, this moment should forever cure Arabs of whatever fantasies we have that our leaders and their global think tank lackeys have anything to offer other than cowardice, silence, and complicity.

May 5, 2017
by mara.ahmed
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Is America Possible?

Vincent Harding: Indeed, it is precisely in a period of great spiritual and societal hunger like our own that we most need to open minds, hearts, and memories to those times when women and men actually dreamed of new possibilities for our nation, for our world, and for their own lives. It is now that we may be able to convey the stunning idea that dreams, imagination, vision, and hope are actually powerful mechanisms in the creation of new realities — especially when the dreams go beyond speeches and songs to become embodied; to take on flesh, in real, hard places.

This is why we turn to the world of dreams and visions that became flesh and blood in the African-American freedom movement. This is why we return to Rosa Parks and wonder aloud what visions of black and white together were in her mind and heart as the bus approached her stop on December 1, 1955. This is why we listen and laugh when her friend and mentor E. D. Nixon tells us that his dream of a new America for his grandchildren had eventually changed to a vision of a new nation that he could see and feel and experience in his own lifetime. It is in search of that power of imagination and action that we approach Malcolm X, realizing that the best heroes of democracy’s shaping were constantly opening their dreams and visions to change and were never satisfied to get high on dreams alone. More here.