Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Resentment

It feels lately as if i am stuck reliving in a history book from the world war two. The right wing eating up the world feeding the fascism that liberalism festers quenching the thirst of nationalism of the right wing. Countries are redrawing their borders more violently than ever, masses are leaning towards voting for popularist right wings movements. Europe is fortress, not like it was never but more and more so bluntly and vigorously. The United States now dropped its strawberry sugar coat and showing the world its real colors, literally, white and racist, a police state par excellence. Australia is on a cloud. The global south on the other hand is stuck in a revolutionary hang over that bred dictators and more violent police states. Right wing here, right wing there, right fucking wing everywhere.

Army boots worshipers are flourishing and popping out creating binaries between the army and refugees. You are with us or with them. If you are with them you need to die.  With the heightening of capitalism all you can do is work work work that if you find a job. There is no place for anything but productivity for the machine. Anxiety is eating people up, the fear of the other taking your land, your job, your food, the roof above your head, your whatever that keeps you safe. All is consequences of capitalism, not mobility but who am i talking to, nobody, myself sometimes, and probably my group of friends who nod in approval. Dare it confront a fascist or a nationalist, dare anyone do that. You know what happens to people whom oppose a nationalist, they are traitors, they need to die to keep the sacredness of land. Land, a piece of shit full of garbage and dust, barely functional.

I used to be believer in confronting systems, taking them down, deconstructing them, i believed that something can be done, not for us, but for the future generation. I used to believe that production of knowledge in all its form is the essence of existence, it is the brush that shapes the future. I used to believe that we need to resist. Resistance who?

Now i just want to take the bunch of people who are not fascists, who are not rapists, sexual harassers, who are not misogynistic, state fascists, who are not nationalistic, who don't believe in fucking property or productivity who are not homophobic and transphobic, who are not racist, or animal abusers, who do not worship their borders and favor it over human lives. And the list goes on and on. I want to collect all those who will not tell me "you can do it" while you cannot under capitalism and neoliberalism. I want to collect my lovers and friends and comrades and reside in a bubble. A bubble of peace. Its not that i was ever useful to this world, i don't believe i ever believed in it, but now i don't even believe that anything anyone can do can change it. It is what it is. I want to exist outside of this world, on an island, grow my food, and play all day. We owe each other this, let the world eat itself, why is it that people need to act as buffer zones between humans? I don't want to be part of shaping discourse, or part of understanding racism and classism as integral part of each other. I don't want to fight for anything anymore. I just want to hide from this world until it cancels each other and when it does, i don't even want to know. How do you keep your sanity in this world?
Where do we go? In what world do we seek refuge. Yes we who do not agree but yet have voice but have no say in how the world goes. How this fucking shithole country goes.

Where is this country going really, where is this world going, i don't know. But all i know is i want to find an island away from it all and live. Live in all its meaning.

Can giving up ever be a political statement? Because i don't want to even do political statements anymore.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Liberal politics are turning your ideology into a Mcdonalds burger (and I'm not loving it)

I recently learned the word misandry (men hate), i am not sorry to say it is laughing material... and "men rights" activists - I know hilarious - use it a lot against feminists to the extent that sometimes feminists ideology in some mainstream discourses is highly tied with men hate. I will not contest or agree to it, whether feminists love men or hate them, because feminism is not about men, no matter how much they are trying to make it about them, just like everything else in the world. 
 
But i have to highlight here that misandry is being used as a scarecrow nowadays to wave in the face of killjoys everytime we want to talk about structural violence, institutional oppression, social and economical inequalities etc,. So here here, I don't care if my feminism to you means I hate men, I don't care if your feelings are hurt when I make feminist arguments and your misandrist claim does not scare me, again, feminisms is not about men, it is about structures of power; which liberal politics and a lot of human rights discourses (not all of them) managed to make them about men in order to preserve the status quo of centering men around every argument - so you either love them or hate them where eventually conversations move from discussing structures of power, to discussing men's emotions. 
 
Misandry and hurting men's feeling have become a tool of silencing against feminists, patriarchy it seems, keeps inventing new ways of silencing feminists, and misandry i can argue (for hours) is the new form of trial to silence feminists, among many other tools that were used historically such as fear and violence. But now it's not modern to beat women up if you are a liberal male - at least not in public or in political leftist spaces, so you just accuse them of hating men and thus you think you discredit them. 
 
And here's the point I am trying to make, the liberal depoliticization and demonization of feminism that praises women rights and gender equality over feminism have managed to a certain extent to erase from the mainstream conversation about feminism, the layers of structural inequalities and power hierarchies that lead to the emergence of feminism as social and political ideology/ tool to fighting these inequalities in the first place. The fast food activism modules of gender equality, for example, "He for She" and "women are human beings too" and many others have opened the space to avoid talking about structures of power, while it made it about collecting men alliances instead of talking about historical and institutional male privilege for example. He for she, for example, wants to include men in lobbying for gender equality, okay fair enough IF the conversation was more profound; IF the conversation was actually about structures, laws, social pressure, privilege, economical powers: wage inequality, affect labor as labor, traditional roles, masculinity & femininity, heteronormativity, colonialism, domestic violence, harassment, rape, wars, capitalism, race, ethnicity and many others. I call it fast food activism basically because its core is centered around catchy words that can launch a fast impact advertisement campaign, does some noise around the subject and then degenerates leaving nothing behind it but more ways to glorify inclusive women rights/human rights discourses simultaneously demonizing feminism that many argue is not inclusive. Women are human beings too? No kidding! I thought given the specificity of the historical moment we live in, it is already established that all humans are humans, but what make them matter or disposable is a mass amount of gender, politics, nationality, class, race, borders, capital etc. 
 
Feminism or some of the Marxist, intersectional, queer feminism is the ideology that fills the gap of the present neoliberal politics that are constantly highly depoliticized and empty from political discourse that makes any social movement very fragile. Fragile political ideologies collapse easily in the face of neoliberal policies and capitalistic approaches of absorption.  And this is why feminism is highly resisted and fought, it is not because it is not close to the masses to understand, it because of those liberal depoliticized ideas and mass production of easily consumed ideologies that demonizes feminism merely by existing and turn feminism it into a scarecrow that is highly fought. This is one of the main points of intersection between patriarchy and capitalism nowadays, fast consumption, mass consumption of everything. Ideologies are not 5 minutes ready made burgers that you can grab and go, they are rooted in people's lives, ideologies form policies, ideologies are political whether we like it or not. And feminism is not an advertisement campaign that wants to sell a product, feminism is about our lives, and for some of us it is the essence of life anyway. 
 
 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

You can do it? No you cannot. A take on how neoliberalism influences resistance

Dear Diaries,

Okay that was a joke, i don't have a diary, but i do have rants, a lot of them. This rant is a very old one, it emerged as i dug deeper in unpacking the mechanism in which neoliberalism orchestrate the way we think about life. This rant is about quotes, motivational quotes in specific. Let me tell you one thing about motivational quotes, they fucking get on my nerves so badly, and i am going to tell you why:

Our imagination of how to live is assembled pieces of what we have been exposed to, ideas, situation, life experiences, neighborhoods, smells, ideologies, anything can  play a role in how we imagine our lives, but a very important aspect of what dictates our social aspiration in terms of our economic class  - as in climbing up the class ladder if we ever could - is highly influenced by quotes. Whether intentionally or not, motivational quotes centralize our economic status within ourselves. In order to make my point clear here's an example: You Can Do It.

Who doesn't know this quote, it is small, simple and it motivates you. Imagine yourself being exploited by the capitalist load of production (and by load i mean load and not only mode - them rhyming is a pure coincidence for the lack of better term) load as in the pressure to produce all the time. But then sometimes you can't do it. No you can't do it most of the times if you are born from a working class family within a capitalist economical system that is built on sustaining class hierarchy.

My problem with this quote and the rest its quotes relatives from its type is that it removes the blame from a structural system that is entrenched in our everyday life and spill the blame on you. You could not do it, then it is your fault. You might have been too lazy, or even a looser. It is not capitalism's fault anymore, it is you who is a looser, who did could not climb up the class ladder, you probably were not smart enough, didn't get exploited enough or figured a way to exploit other people enough to climb the class ladder. The origin of the problem in your head becomes yourself, rather than acknowledging that there is an economical system set in place that does not allow people to out grow their class. The problem with this mode of thinking is that it shys away from looking at privilege, circumstance, color, location, geographies, it just erases everything and puts human being in the center of blame: you failed because of you not because of capitalism.

Another quote would be if you can dream it, you can do it. So what now, everybody who is poor lacks imagination? What else other than food on your table and a roof above your head will you be dreaming about if you are homeless and hungry?

There are billions of motivational quote that are rotating around the internet, in paper books, in PDFs, on TV, in ad campaigns, on the radio, etc. Look at the T-shirt you are wearing, it might have one of those. We are drowned in them, immersed, soaked with those quotes, and have you ever wondered why? And most importantly how did we get here aslan (this is an arabic word it means in the first place but it is more compatible with expressing my rage)?

So let me go back to my point about neoliberalism. One of the conclusions i reached after reading a lot of literature about neoliberalism is that its most vicious traits is that it can infiltrate our imagination and become part of how we view life. Through those motivational quotes, neoliberalism (and not as an abstract hand but as a system with very multi functional structures that are institutionalized in our lives) influence our sense of resistance against capitalism by constantly feeding us those quotes that situate us in the center of the blame thus our attention is shifted from fighting capitalism to actually diving into it. Becoming part of it, aspiring to climb the class ladder, get richer, work more, invest our bodies and minds and imagination in endless labor because someone decided to tell us: we can do it, and if we dream it, we can do it.

So now you will be thinking, but some people did it. Of course, a very small number of them because they figured out how to exploit other people's labor value. duh!

It is 1 am, i am having one of my intense insomniac fits again for almost two month now, which is why i am unable to properly write in length, but i am thankfully still able to think, and i thought maybe someone out there is as frustrated as i am with those bullshit malicious motivational quotes and would feel better if they read that someone else is also ranting about them.

When i said this is a rant, i meant it is because this is just an opinion that gather connections rather than references for it to become a valid academic argument, but that should never discredit it i guess.

One day i want to turn this into a paper, don't ask when, but until then, until we meet again in some rant.




Friday, July 15, 2016

The Necro-structure of nowadays

It have not been so beautiful, the world i mean. There were always wars and occupation, the world have never been close to perfect. But the everyday life i knew/know went through phases, it became locally structured around death in 2005, 2006 while all the explosions took place in Beirut, but then it took little breaks. Up until now i don't know if I or anyone in this country processed that.

And then the revolutions started happening and death and imprisonment continued to mark the present.  I stand baffled by the violence this moment carry, is it me, or is it increasing, geographically expanding out of proportion? Do we just have more access to news via social media, or is it really growing? I can't tell with the haziness of the moment, and something in me is too hesitant to say why is it so important if it increases or decreases, the devastating part is still the same, people are dying when they didn't chose to.

I had my take on why some lives are given more importance than others during explosions and massacres, (link here).... but now a short while later, i am tired of this debate, it became such an archetype of a conversation, like a mimic of itself. Most articles are identical, different phrasing with the same ideas. Why the world feels more compassion with lives in france more than in Turkey or Syria or Iraq or Beirut, every single time. It feel like conversations are stuck in circumscribed banalities.

The death all over the world has been putting it more and more in perspective, and all questions are valid, but my nagging questions would be how do we survive with so much death news around and so little mourning?

Our days have become structured around death. We wake up to it, we sleep to it, and the political situation from which everyone stands is a volcano. We need to tip toe around every argument, at least those of us who are aware of how language and the way we talk about anything is highly discursive.
From Syria to France, to Palestine to Iraq to Egypt to the US to Lebanon to Kashmir, and many more and all the layers, complexities and specificities of each crime against human beings that is happening, how much talking are we doing, and how much fighting (which are essential) but how much mourning are we doing as well.

It is becoming scarier how our affects are being policed by our defenses against the power status quo in which any conversation takes place. Are we entitled of sadness in a world that constantly dismisses it for who's sadness is more valid? Are we entitled of rage under highly authoritarian regimes that use every way to dissolve rage once they can't oppress it? How can a brain fathom all the complexities of this moment without collapsing while its trying to cope with what is happening.

The excessiveness of violence have become a mega production that aligns perfectly with capitalism. Necro-Mega-everything and our ability to mourn sounds so juvenile in the face of all the political fights we have to take.

Today is a compilation of the observation of the necro-structure of nowadays that broke my threshold of absorbing witnessing violence.

So excuse me today I don't want justify where i stand from all of this, my political stance today is to feel sad and mourn all this death from years until now, i can't take the acceleration of everything including how we think of things and how we analyze them anymore, today i will give myself the space we all need to actually feel sad for this world, regardless of how juvenile this sounds.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The misery of reading thousands of articles about the misery of sex in the "Arab World" paraphrased

The “Sexual Misery of the Arab World” article recently published in the New York Times has recently sparked a lot of discontent in the social media, article shared with a sense of discomfort with the way the article was written. In this piece I try to slightly highlight my own sense of discomfort and disagreement with the article. I also try to highlight some of the problematic issues this article renders and the ways in which they are tackled. But most importantly in this article I ask questions that encompass a deeper gaze at our historical moment.

Here I must note that in the age of heightened surveillance, whether police surveillance or writers policing of each other, I must state that my opinion about the piece written is not out of policing but out of my deep belief in debate and disagreement as a feminist duty. We have been using disagreement for a long time as a point of arrival, disagreement is usually where conversations end. This time i would like to use it as a point of departure.

The “Sexual Misery of the Arab World” article is not an exception, it did not come as a surprise, similar articles are being written and published to the extent that reading an article about our temporal history has become predominantly some sort of parrot mimicking. Reading the same article over and over, with different authors, written in different words.  Of course, there are few articles as exceptions, article that take into consideration political geographies and the profound layers of migration and mobility in addition to issues of sexual violence. What is disturbing about it is that those articles are exceptions.

The problem is not that we are talking about sexual violence in the Arab world, on the contrary, talking and objecting to violence should never stop. The problem is how we are talking about it, how are we asking our questions, and most importantly how are we complicating our questions. In Germany, Cologne have witnessed a sample of the Tahrir Square violence with the Cologne sexual violence incident, the nightmare we experienced in the “Arab World” has sneaked out of our geographical borders and paid the “west” a visit, and now suddenly the whole world is in panic. The world showed solidarity against the mass sexual assault in Tahrir Square, but the world did not panic until it got a hint of what was happening. And suddenly brown bodies – the refugees became more vulnerable, more disposable, nations outrage boiled down to blaming the assault on all the refugees. Anyone want to sit with me and talk to me for hours to convince me that in Germany and Europe there are no men who rape?  Actually I was verbally harassed once in downtown Cairo by a white European man who called me “Ya Mozza” with a ridiculous broken accent, but I don’t see Egyptians calling all white people harassers, are they? We are in a very critical moment of history where the Nato is about to interfere in order to block refugees from getting into Europe, can our present get more violent?!

So what do we have here now, there is sexual violence in the “Arab World” – and there are Arabs refugees trying to get out of war zones and oppressive regimes. We have a refugee crisis all over the world and we have sexual violence incidents that are taking place in Europe that are foreign to the type of sexual violence Europe is familiar with. Really what do we do now, how do we discuss this? Do we silence the woman who were harassed and sexually assaulted in Tahrir to maintain our “Arab World” image? Do we silence the women and the discussion about what happened in Cologne to protect the refugees? Do we swipe under our carpets the patriarchal nature of how the world, and the “Arab world” deal with woman bodies? Do we flatten the multi layered politics in all of this? What do we do? Shall we keep hiding our every day realities and compromise the safety and health of our bodies just because the west looks at us as a less “modern” states? Do we let the west expel that refugees because they are not culturally “appropriate” for the “modern” western culture? But do we as well look at every refugee or every Arab man as a sexual predator?

Of course not, of course we do not silence the women neither in Tahrir, or cologne or any part of the world. And of course we do not swipe our own problems of patriarchy under the carpet, let us start by stopping the silencing. Let us also start by stopping this constant violent concealment of the “Arab world” issues regarding sexual violence because we are too scared to air our dirty laundry infront of the west. We keep talking about how the western debate about the “Arab World” is Eurocentric, but we might be reproducing this eurocentrism by avoiding talking about sexual assault and violence in our countries just out of fear of breaching our “Arab World” image. And as for the west, it needs to debate with us, but sometimes it also needs to shut up and listen to what we have to say about our lives, instead of trying to generalize who we are and how we behave in the west.

Writing is very critical, epistemology have the power to discursively render anything as good or bad, to include and expel, so how many similar articles about the sexual misery of the “Arab World” can we afford!?

And let’s talk about the linguistics of the “Arab World”. This phrase has been in quotations for a reason. Is there really a one singular “Arab World”, is it a "world" anyway. It is just a set of countries like Europe, but we barely share the same spoken languages, currencies or cultures. This hegemony of the Arab world needs to stop, we need to start naming countries by their names, not out of a border fetish, but out of a realization that our countries are different, the level of patriarchy and capitalism and most importantly resistance in them differs. So this hegemonization of the “Arab World” really needs to stop. Our resilience and resistance are not flat or hegemonic, and out of respect to that, the world needs to start recognizing them and dealing with them as profound and multiple!

Now regarding the Arab world sexual misery article, I need to make a few points: there is a huge difference between sex and sexual assault, the whole shade of gray is called consent and if consent is absent, sex turns into rape. So how did this get mixed up in the article? Also, sex can happen out of desire, love is not a prerequisite for sex. Most importantly what was highly disturbing about reading that article was the pathologization of sexual violence.

The "Arab world" does not have a sick relationship to women, it has a patriarchal relationship to women and that's a totally different story. The pathologization of the history of patriarchy under capitalism and describing the structural violence women undergo as "sick" justifies violence against women by making it sound like an illness and not a behavior based on social norms and structures. The patriarchal system that structurally violates women bodies on daily bodies and produce them as disposable and dehumanized, is a system of oppression that targets all genders, but especially women bodies and sexuality. Patriarchy is not only a mode of thinking, it has its own economy as well. Also, attributing sexual violence and patriarchy to sickness is an insult to those who suffer from mental health issues. And this is what is meant when people talk about language as discursive! 

Also, in the article in the famous New York times (what a surprise) there's a general feeling of attributing and relating sexual violence to male sexual frustration. Sex is a taboo, yes, it is, but sex is not tucked under the table in the "Arab World" it is spoken of every minute. Videos of Sheikh's talking about sex are published online every day, sex is all over the media, so talking about sex is always there, the problem is not that sex is unspoken of, the problem is how it is being addressed. I am very sick and tired of people denying the hyper sexualization of everything is the media and in Arab countries and disregarding those essential facts just because sex is not being talked about in a positive manner. If something does not fit your description of how it should be addressed that does not mean it not being addressed, even if the method of addressing it is oppressive.

That said, among many other things, I pause my question again, we know that it is important to talk, to ask questions, but how do we do that without flattening societal violence and societal issues? Does sexual violence coming from what the west identified as "foreigners" towards women entitle the west to make rapists and predators out of all refugees? And how can we deal with all of this? How can it stop? Those are questions I struggle with everyday, and I hope you do too. because this is when we can actually start talking productively about the patriarchal system in this world.