Apr 27, 2006

Securing Our Writing -
Forum for Women and Trans Writers of Color

Ok. It seems there's a few of us who are interested in starting some kind of a cyberspace for sharing our written work for purposes of critical feedback and support.

I have created a blogspace called Securing Our Writing where we can start posting our work and having the collective offer critical feedback and support.

For now, I have created the following email account: securingourwriting@hotmail.com where those interested in posting their works-in-progress can send their documents to. As temporary moderator, I will regularly check this email to make sure your documents (and subsequent revisions) are posted on the blog.

We can also use this blogspace to post call-outs for submissions in anthologies, begin compiling a list of progressive publishers, writing workshops, etc. Again, all this info can be sent to the above mentioned email address.

I would like to stress the fact that this forum is a collective and space created solely for women and trans writers of color.

The purpose of this forum is to create a safe and supportive space where we can provide one another with the critical feedback and support needed to help strengthen and polish our pieces. Our ultimate goal is to secure our writing.

So let's do it!

Please let me know your comments and thoughts on all of this.

Apr 25, 2006

Insecure Writers: Securing our Writing

I think about how many conversations I have had with incredibly talented Women of Color writers who are insecure about their work. This, of course, includes me. For many of us, writing is what we inhale and exhale; it’s a big part of what defines us. It’s what makes sense and feels right. But for many reasons, which I won’t get into here (since it’s not the intention of this posting), most of us do not pursue our writing as a career (or we have a real tough time doing it).

I’m dedicating this post to all of us Women of Color insecure writers that need to secure our writing.

After a conversation with a friend about this very subject, I decided to confront my self-doubt by posting a piece of writing that I did not feel good about. In fact, the piece was one that I felt was the worst I had ever written. I posted it and waited for comments. Initially after receiving incredible feedback from a fellow blogging sister, I felt embarrassed and wished I had never posted the damn thing. But the comments were so helpful, and I knew I had done the right thing by posting. Having said that though, my feelings of embarrassment lead me to bring the original post down in order to make the edits and put the new revised version up. What I should have done, though, was to leave the original post for others to read and/or compare to the revised version.

I guess, for me, posting the original story (even for a day) was the first step. The first step towards what’s going to be a long (and difficult) process of working through my insecurities, my self-doubt and my hyper-critical tendencies. More importantly, it was a step towards securing my writing – taking it seriously, as something I want to pursue not for fun, but for a living.

But what helped me take this step?

It was the support. Straight up.

It was the supportive talks with other amazing Women of Color;
The conversations with other insecure sisters who write;
and, of course, the Women of Color blogging community that created a safe, supportive space for me to put myself out there (granted, as Pomegranate Queen, but it’s still me!)

While I don’t have all the answers as to how some of us insecure writers can really secure our writing, what I can say for sure is that we need supportive communities (such as this radical Women of Color blogging one) where we can work towards taking those steps.

I would really appreciate your thoughts and comments on all of this.


Apr 23, 2006

This is NOT Hateration

I swear, if I have to look at another photo of "Tomkat" at the corner store, the subway magazine stand or anywhere else...

I really don't give a shit about these people and their babies. Isn't it enough having to look at their pasty botoxed faces with their bad hair and bad smile...and now the celebrity offspring too?!

It's enough for me to start carrying gravol everywhere I go.

Apr 22, 2006

Images from Iran...

Tribal Qashqai' Wedding

Young Irani voters shock passerby with their "unIslamic"
gear and the name of candidate wrapped around their hips

Women's Basketball Team

Waiting while mama votes

Irani B-Boy Breakdancing for a mixed crowd
of girls and guys (fyi - mixed crowds not allowed by law)

Qashqai' women weaving a tribal rug

Apr 21, 2006

and all the different versions...

Middle East Map #1
(try finding a map that actually acknowledges Palestine)

Middle East Map #2
Oil Company version

Middle East Map #3
Image from Art Not Oil

Apr 20, 2006

To Sanction or Not To Sanction?

Don't get me started on the United Nations, or especially, the U.N. Security Council!! Um, let's see we've got the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China (and now Germany) sitting around, discussing what happens to lives of Iranian people living in Iran. And what a surprise to know that the first 4 of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (plus germany) were key players in the western imperialist attempts to colonize Iran back in the day. Although they never "officially" colonized Iran, with the amount of political economic influence they had, they might as well have!

So here we are, years and years later, and the mofo's just don't quit. It's the same damn thing continuing from before (and if anyone says the words "post" with colonial or "new" with "world order" they are just plain ignorant. PLEASE, what is so passe about colonialism and new about this fricken world order?!)

So now we've got the average western person, who normally wouldn't give a shit, worried like, "damn those gas prices! How can I afford to keep my gas-guzzling SUV?!" And not to mention the ripple effect of high gas prices, which = rising prices in commodities/services and slowing down of econonmic growth (you know the rest).

Iran is the world's 4th largest producer of crude oil, and OPEC's second largest oil producer. As you might know, oil prices have hit a record high of $72.64 a barrel, and it's got people worried about a cut in supplies by Iran.

Yup. BE worried. Be worried about your cars, your rent, your cost of living...because then you'll see how interconnected all this shit really is. When you had no idea where on the map Iran was (or Afghanistan or Iraq or Palestine...) now you'll know because the situation of that country affects your life thousands and thousands of miles away.

There are Iranians who I'm worried about. What is going to happen after heavy sanctioning? What's going to happen to the already below the poverty line population of Iran? What's going to happen if they decide to attack Iran (nuclear or conventional)? What's going to happen if they sanction and attack?

Remember Iraq? Do you know what hell the Iraqis went through during the sanction period and the regular U.S. bombing that continued even after the Gulf War ended (which noone really knows about)?

So the next time your neighbour, your child's teacher, your friend or some random person says to you, "damn those rising gas prices!"
you say to them,
"Damn that power-hungry, money-hungry U.S. global order that's killing the people who supply our oil!"


Apr 18, 2006

Anar Queen

I was googling my name and came across a Hindu story (from a sacred text I believe) . The story is called the The Wanderings of Vicram Maharajah.

Here's a snippet:

In a country some way from Rajah Vicram's there lived a little Queen, called Anar Ranee (the Pomegranate Queen). Her father and mother reigned over the Pomegranate country, and for her they made a beautiful garden. In the middle of the garden was a lovely pomegranate tree, bearing three large pomegranates.
They opened in the centre, and in each was a little bed. In one of them Anar Ranee used to sleep, and in the pomegranates on either side slept two of her maids.
Every morning early the pomegranate tree would bend its branches gently to the ground, and the fruit would open, and Anar Ranee and her attendants creep out to play under the shadow of the cool tree until the evening; and each evening the tree again bent down to enable them to get into their tiny, snug bedrooms...

I LOVE the idea of a Pomegranate country! It reminds me of what an auntie was telling me the other day, about a pomegranate deh (village) that her friend's family used to own in Iran. She wasn't talking about a pomegranate bagh (a large garden or orchard), but a friggen pomegranate village! How incredibly amazing that must have been. Pomegranate trees, especially the blossoms, are BEAUTIFUL.

So, the Farsi (Persian) translation of my name would be Maleke Anar - and of course, Iran being the land of this fruit's origin, I figure there MUST be Iranian stories involving pomegranates. So, I came across this Iranian story that is somewhat similar to the Hindu one above.

And here's a snippet...

In the garden of the palace there grew a pomegranate tree with only three pomegranates; their seeds were fabulous gems that shone like lamps by night. When ripe, the pomegranates would turn into three beautiful girls who were to become the wives of the three princes. Every night, by the king's order, one of his sons guarded the tree lest anyone should steal the pomegranates...

My great-grandma used to tell me a similar story that involved a princess and a naranj (sevillian orange) rather than a pomegranate - same idea though, just a different fruit. I wonder what is up with these stories involving our women and fruit???

If you know of more pomegranate stories out there please let me know!

On a totally different note...

Here's an article by Norman Solomon regarding the Moveon.org opposition to a nuclear attack on Iran.

(Moveon.org and it's supporters)
Say NO to a nuclear attack on Iran!
A conventional attack?
Sure, why not.

(Pomegranate Queen)
What the fuck is wrong with people?!
And they call this "progressive" political organizing.
They need to take their "consensus" approach and shove it up their ass.

Apr 17, 2006

Love is Stronger than Pride?

Ms. Sade,
You got it all wrong
I mean,
The winter's come and gone
And I'm still waiting...

Stuck in a dialect of pride
I stutter fear of rejection
Cold words numb my tongue
As I sing songs of lost affection

I still really really love you
But love 'aint stronger than pride
I still really really love you
But love 'aint stronger than pride

Apr 16, 2006

A Conference on “Feminism and War”
October 20-22, 2006, at Syracuse University

Call for Proposals!

The Women's Studies Program at Syracuse University invites proposals for papers to be presented at a national conference on the contested and complex relationship between feminism and war. The focus will be on recent U.S. government initiatives that claim war in the name of women's liberation, but with a global and transnational context in which other military actions might be considered. We look forward to energetic dialogue from interdisciplinary perspectives on these sub-themes:

*Women's Liberation and U.S. Foreign Policy
*U.S. War and Women in Iraq and Afghanistan
*War and Women in and of the U.S
*The War and Organizing for Women's Liberation

Confirmed Speakers:

Zillah Eisenstein
author most recently of Against Empire; Feminisms, Race and the West (Palgrave MacMillan, 2004).

Suheir Hammad
Palestinian-American poet who has performed on Broadway and whose books include Born Palestinian, Born Black.

Shanaz Khan
author of Muslim Women: Crafting a North American Identity (University Press of Florida, 2000).

Anne McClintock
author of Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (Routledge, 1995).

Jasbir Kaur Puar
author of Geographies of Globalization (Duke, 2001) and most recently "Abu Ghraib: Arguing Against Exceptionalism," in Feminist Studies, and with Amit Rai, "Monster, Terrorist, Fag: The War on Terrorism and the Production of Docile Patriots," in Social Text 72.

Julia Sudbury
author most recently of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison-Industrial Complex (Routledge, 2005).

The conference schedule will include plenary sessions, paper presentations, discussion groups, and cultural events.

The Conference Organizing Committee includes Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Linda Martín Alcoff, Gwen Pough, and Vivian May.

We will consider proposals for single papers or panels.
Please send a one page abstract for each paper, or send a one page description of each panel proposal with one page abstracts for each paper in the panel to the committee at the address below.

Proposals are due April 15, 2005 through email or regular mail to:
Janet Dodd, Women's Studies Program,
208 Bowne Hall,
Syracuse University,
Syracuse NY 13244,

Notifications of acceptance will be made by May 15, 2005.

A special invitation is extended to activists to submit proposals, to
increase dialogue between theoretical analysis and grounded experience

We hope to examine questions such as:

*What are the multiple interpretations of the phrase “women's liberation”?
*How are these multiple interpretations related to the specifics of religion, culture, history, nation within the current U.S. wars?
*What, in fact, is assumed about the category “woman” in the context of these conceptual and actual locations at this moment in time?
*What different philosophical concepts of “freedom for women” might be implicit in the current debate raised by the conduct of U.S. wars?
*What different histories -national, gendered, religious- intersect within this debate about women and freedom?
*What are the liberating and limiting aspects of religion in relation to women in these debates?
*How does the struggle over definitions of women's freedom manifest itself in cultural creations, artifacts, and productions?
*Have women in Iraq and Afghanistan been liberated by the recent Gulf War?

Apr 14, 2006

Don't Believe the Hype

Don't believe the hype - its a sequel
As an equal, can I get this through to you...

It IS a damn sequel...it's like this shit is on replay...similar actors, same plot.

Remember "Don't Believe the Hype" - that Public Enemy track from '88? I remember it clearly. It had been almost a year since we'd moved to Canada and my cousin was blasting that PE album non-stop. I didn't know what the English word "hype" meant then, but he tried to break it down for me. I thought about the situation in Iran at that time (post-hostage crisis anti-American, anti-western Islamic Republic) and perceptions of Iranians in the west...I thought about the media in my homeland and that of the new country I was living in, I thought about people's views in both places...Yeah, I think I understood the word "hype" pretty damn well.

Q: So what's the current hype on the Iran-nuke situation all about?
A: The U.S. is "worried" Iran is going to develop nuclear weapons and fry Americans and Israelis.

This is what we've been getting on the news, over and over and over again.

People listen up...

Iran has managed to enrich uranium to 3.5 % - in non-technical terms, this means that Iran is a LONG way away from building any kind of bomb (if that IS infact something they are going to do). In Juan Cole's (of ZNET) words, Iran can now make glowing Mikey Mouse watches.

So let's get real here.

Palestinian Hip Hop Group
DAM, an innovative and explicitly political Palestinian hip hop group, has been around since 1998. So if you haven't checked them out, then it's about time, get on it!
All three artists were born and raised in the slums of Lod, a mixed Israeli town of Arabs and Jews. Combine dope beats, drenched in that beautiful melancholic middle eastern sound, with tight arabic rhymes inspired by the everyday suffering and resistance of their people, and you've got a hip hop sound that is haunting.
Here's a link to their video for Meen Erhabe (arabic translation = who's the terrorist)
Check out the chorus of the track:
!مين ارهابي ؟! انا ارهابي ؟
!!كيف ارهابي وانا عايش في بلادي؟
!!مين ارهابي ؟! انت ارهابي
!!!ماكلني وانا عايش في بلادي
Who's the terrorist? I'm the terrorist?!
How am I the terrorist when you've taken my land?
Who's the terrorist? You're the terrorist!
You've taken everything I own while I'm living in my homeland

Apr 13, 2006


A community teach-in with Ervand Abrahamian, Kaveh Ehsani,
and Timothy Mitchell moderated by Leili Kashani presented by
Action Wednesdays Against War Wednesday.

April 26 at 7:30pm
Judson Memorial Church (NYC, directions below)

"We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran. ... If necessary, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur."– United States National Security Strategy 2006. http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss/2006/nss2006.pdf

Weapons of mass destruction
Islamic terrorists
People in need of liberation and democracy
Open calls for regime change


Three years into the war on Iraq the same rumors and stereotypes are being deployed, only this time, with multilateral support – and against Iranians. The United States of America, which remains the only country to have ever used an atomic weapon against a civilian population and today has 890 permanent military bases in 130 countries, continues to talk about imminent threats to its security.

How is this like and unlike the lead-up to attacking Iraq?
Is this about Iran’s alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons? Or regime change?
How do oil politics relate?
Does international law have a role to play?
Why aren’t we mobilizing against deeper sanctions and a war on Iran?
How can we do things differently this time?

Join Action Wednesdays Against War for this important conversation, designed to provide critical information about the crisis and opportunities for solidarity with progressive political movements in Iran and with anti-war forces throughout the world.

About the Speakers:

Ervand Abrahamian is Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York, and has written extensively on modern Iran. His books include Iran Between Two Revolutions, The Iranian Mojahedin, Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic, Tortured Confessions, and a co-authored work titled Inventing the Axis of Evil: The Truth About North Korea, Iran, and Syria. He has been a regular commentator on Iran and a guest on “Democracy Now!” His articles include “Neocons and their Nemeses in Iran” boundary 2 (Spring 2005) and “Iran: The next Target?” Global Agenda (2005). http://www.globalagendamagazine.com/2005/ervandabrahamian.asp

Kaveh Ehsani is the co-editor of the journal Goft-o-Gu in Tehran, and an editor of Middle East Report (MERIP) in Washington DC. He has published widely in Persian and English on Iranian politics and relations with the United States, and on urbanization and regional development in Iran. He is a director of the Jomhur Cultural and Social Research Association in Tehran. Some of his most recent articles for MERIP include “Neo- Conservatives, Hardline Clerics and the Bomb” (Winter 2004), “Round 12 for Iran’s Reformists” (January 2004), and “Iran’s Presidential Runoff: The Long View” (June 2005).

Timothy Mitchell is Professor of Politics and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, and currently directs the International Center for Advanced Studies at NYU. His books, Colonising Egypt, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity, and the edited collection Questions of Modernity, and his articles on the political economy of oil have helped transform the study of the Middle East. His articles include “McJihad: Islam in the U.S. Global Order” Social Text (Winter 2003) and “The Limits of the State” American Political Science Review (1991).

Leili Kashani is a Ph.D. student in the joint program in History and Middle East and Islamic Studies at New York University. She has been a student council member at The International Society for Iranian Studies, and is an editor at Arab Studies Journal. She helped organize the World Tribunal on Iraq (NY session, May 2004) and is part of the Action Wednesdays Against War organizing collective. She is also part of the “Global Movements, Urban Struggles” radio collective and co-produced a show about a possible US-led attack on Iran on March 21.

Co-sponsored by Arab Studies Journal, Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII), Left Turn, Middle East Report, Persian Cultural Society (NYU), Students for Justice in Palestine (NYU), War Resisters League, and Youth Solidarity Summer.

For directions, please see http://www.judson.org/directions.htm
For more information contact: actionwednesday@gmail.com

Skyscraper's blog, queering me, is a great new addition to the blogosphere, and especially the community of radical women of color bloggers!

Check out this "wandering little pomegranate with a burning soul big heart poppy eyes and fierce attitude" in her "quest for truth /truths"

In her recent post on identities and racisms skyscraper challenges notions of a "color-blind society" by talking about her experiences as a Russasian of Uigur ethnicity living in the U.S.

Apr 7, 2006

Consensual Genocide

If you haven't heard of the very talented, kick-ass and lovely Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha then you should get on that right away!

Leah is an inspiring and incredible spoken word/writer/poet/arts educator whose words hit you with the most beautiful intensity.

Check out her long awaited first collection of poetry, Consensual Genocide.

"Tracing bloodlines from Sri Lanka 's civil wars to Brooklyn and Toronto streets, these fierce poems are full of heart and guts, unafraid of telling raw truths about brown girl border crossings before and after 9/11, surviving abuse, mixed-race identities and femme lives. Telling the story of a young queer woman of color's coming of age amidst the fractures of her family and culture, decolonizing her spirit, body and heart, these poems tell stories we've been waiting for."
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