Posts tagged with "anniversary" - Faerye Net 2008-06-08T11:59:25+00:00 Felicity Shoulders In keeping with long tradition... 2008-06-08T11:59:25+00:00 2008-06-08T11:59:25+00:00 <p><a href="">I missed Faerye Net&#8217;s birthday</a>. Five years of bloggery! I&#8217;ve been bloggin&#8217; for so long I have bloggin&#8217; calluses! Get off my lawn!</p> Remembrance 2007-09-11T21:04:58+00:00 2008-06-03T12:34:30+00:00 <p>It&#8217;s September 11th again. Today we are told, over and over, never to forget 2,998 people that most of us did not know. &#8216;Never forget,&#8217; I read, and wonder. How do you forget, or hold in your memory, someone you do not know? How can you value them, or their memory, except as individual lives? Those lives are precious both despite and because of their commonness, the humanity we all share and by virtue of which we all claim value, dignity, rights.</p> <p>I can&#8217;t forget these dead, nor can I remember them. They are not my dead, and they cannot live in me as my dead friends, as my dead relatives, as even dead strangers whose words I&#8217;ve loved can and do. Why then am I asked to remember them? </p> <p> Why should I remember those three thousand, and not the <a href="" target="dead">hundreds of thousands</a> dead in Darfur, just as unnaturally? Because of patriotism, or of proximal ethics? If I should remember those dead, rather than the <a href="" target="dead">70,000 dead civilians</a> in Iraq, because the innocents killed in 2001 were closer to me, or shared my nationality, why should I remember them rather than the <a href="" target="dead">over 6,000</a> American women and men who have been murdered by their spouses or partners since the attacks? </p> <p> What if this act of memory to which we are invited isn&#8217;t really about those 2,998? About their names, faces, hopes, or families? What can it accomplish? I can only imagine, as I see another string of Photoshop tributes, that their creators and consumers must get a feeling from them, perhaps akin to what I might feel listening to Beethoven&#8217;s Fifth Symphony or, perhaps more aptly, to Holst&#8217;s &#8220;Mars, Bringer of War.&#8221; The heart expands, and the body floods with primal energy&#8212;with passion. Is it to feel that passion that uninvolved people refresh their horror and stoke their anger up with public acts of memory and grief? </p> <p> Or is it the clarity that passion brings them? The dead I&#8217;ve mentioned are victims of domestic violence, of our own colonialistic folly, of racial hatred and economic powerplays. Systemic problems that evolve and worsen over time. Problems that can only be solved with forethought, deliberation, and reason; often by changing the situation that gave them rise. We as a society, perhaps even as a species, don&#8217;t like systemic problems. We like our villains centralized and clearly labeled, our courses of action smooth and broad. America&#8217;s straightforward charge against a complex terrorism problem has taken us deeper and deeper into confusion and remorse. Perhaps on September 11, 2001, the way lay clear before these passionate rememberists. Perhaps they want to feel that way one more time. </p> <p> For myself, on that day, I felt sorrow and a sick foreboding about what would happen next. I need no prompting and no Photoshopped towers to feel that way again.</p> I missed some(thing)'s birthday! 2007-06-01T20:19:18+00:00 2008-06-08T11:58:09+00:00 <p>On May 29, Faerye Net turned four! In blog-years that is a long while. I declare the motto of this fourth anniversary to be: <em>&#8220;Celebrating Four Years of Errant Nonsense.&#8221;</em></p> Against my better judgment... 2006-09-12T17:16:51+00:00 2008-06-08T13:27:04+00:00 <P>I listened to <a href="" target="links">Bush&#8217;s address</a> yesterday, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. I really didn&#8217;t want to. I had a very nice recorded book ready to shove in, but sadly, I don&#8217;t feel I have the luxury of ignoring politics these days. I can&#8217;t, in all conscience, ignore politics when my country is hemorrhaging money and credibility, deeply corrupt, and less free by the month. Oh, and when people are actually managing to revive the debate over contraception. Contra-bloody-ception. Oy.</p> <p>At any rate, I listened to the whole speech. It started out reasonably smoothly. The opening paragraphs were fairly well written, and either Bush was speaking a little less choppily and awkwardly than usual, or exposure to his style is getting me used to it. I ended up having plenty of problems with the speech &mdash; it certainly wasn&#8217;t the &#8216;non-political&#8217; speech his handlers had promised, it wasn&#8217;t focused on the occasion it marked, it persistently roped me into a &#8216;we&#8217; I don&#8217;t feel a part of, and it assumed all Americans believe in &#8220;a loving God who made us to be free&#8221; &mdash; but my first and most important problem was the rhetoric of &#8216;civilization&#8217;.</p> <p>The word &#8216;civilized&#8217; first appeared in this context: <blockquote>And we have learned that their goal is to build a radical Islamic empire where women are prisoners in their homes, men are beaten for missing prayer meetings, and terrorists have a safe haven to plan and launch attacks on America and other civilized nations.</blockquote> <p>Is America civilized? Sure, certainly by the textbook definition of &#8216;civilization&#8217; beaten into my head years ago (is it still there? Hmm&#8230;surplus food supply, specialization of labor, formation of cities, and something else I cannot recall&#8230;) it is. Likewise Britain, and Spain&#8230;okay, so countries which have been targeted by terrorists are civilized. But the word has to have some reason for being there&#8212;the fact that it&#8217;s true isn&#8217;t enough, or we&#8217;d have speeches mentioning that America, Britain and Spain are all colored pink on somebody&#8217;s map in geography class. The use of the word &#8216;civilized&#8217; here is serving to imply that the Arab countries from which terrorists have come are <em>not</em> civilized. When I heard that sentence for the first time yesterday, I said out loud, &#8220;Hey! That&#8217;s racist!&#8221; (Yes, I talk out loud alone in my car.)</p> </p><p>When Mr. Bush later said <blockquote>This struggle has been called a clash of civilizations. In truth, it is a struggle for civilization.</blockquote> that also struck me as racist. I recognize that the racist meaning is a few layers under the surface, but the basic problem is this: we spent several hundred years operating on the assumption that Western, predominantly white nations were Civilized and that we had an obligation to spread said Civilization to other countries, which coincidentally were peopled by non-Caucasians. That was called Colonialism. It worked so well that Colonialism is now practically a dirty word.</p> <P>Civilization is a pretty low bar. We humans pretty much all have it these days. And, here&#8217;s what&#8217;s particularly offensive about this kind of Neocolonialist jargon being used against the Middle East: civilization started there. There may be questions about whether civilization only began in one place, but archeology tells us that the first place it occured was, in fact, Iraq. The poor downtrodden &#8216;decent people&#8217; Bush paints as yearning for civilized countries to offer them freedom developed the systems of mathematics that underlie modern engineering and science, and inadvertently ended the European Dark Ages when the Crusaders nicked bits of their culture and knowledge and carried the loot back home. Don&#8217;t condescend to the Arab people, Mr. Bush.</p> <p>And don&#8217;t misunderstand your own, either. We are supposed to believe that Arabic &#8220;people will choose freedom over [terrorists&#8217;] extremist ideology&#8221; when our country is giving up freedoms by the bushelful?</p> <p> <blockquote>We are fighting to maintain the way of life enjoyed by free nations. And we&#8217;re fighting for the possibility that good and decent people across the Middle East can raise up societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity.<br /> <p><br />We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom and whether the forces of moderation can prevail.</blockquote></p></p> <p>I question many things, Mr. President. I question foreign policy based on &#8216;secret&#8217; information, I question the erasure of checks and balances, I question a leadership that doesn&#8217;t believe the function of the National Guard is to guard the nation. Most of all, I question whether a nation can in all conscience attempt to impose &#8220;societies based on freedom and tolerance and personal dignity&#8221; on others, when that nation is wiretapping its citizens, eroding the divisions between Church and State, and imprisoning people without trial. I question any society based on fear, hatred, and dogmatic nationalism.</p>