Sep 29, 2008

On Love, Lust and Longing

Dating is a waste of time. But how else do I get what I need?


What are you views on Palestine/Israel? Do you know who Chick Corea is? What countries border Iran? Do you know any Shi'a Muslims? What do you think of the clarinet? Who's Molaana Jalaledin Mohammad Balkhi? Can you pronounce my name correctly? What do you think about women with hardcore ink? Have you ever been to a rally? Who's your favorite member of DITC? What do you know about invisible disabilities? What are your 3 favorite Bowie albums? Have you ever dated queer women? Or men? What do you think of "true love?" What's the last book you read? Major chords or minor? Curly or straight? Name 3 ingredients in a Tabouleh salad? Are you into vinyl (I mean all kinds)? What are your views on abortion? How often do you clean your bathroom? Dettol or baking soda? What was the last gift you made someone? What rhymes with spit?


grandma says i'm too picky. she's worried i'll never find anyone. time is running out, my eggs are rotting. the womb is wasting away. too much education does this to a girl. so does living in the west.


touch. never enough.


"I can't believe i'm sitting here with you right now," he says as he takes another swig from his third bottle of beer.
"Really? Why?"
"A hot eye-ranian girl sitting here, talking to me."
"And why wouldn't I be talking to you, eye-talian guy?" I say, ready to get up from my seat.
"Because everyone knows you ladies only hang out with your own guys. I can't wait to tell my friends! You're like a trophy."


Can I talk to you, desert woman?
You are so sexy with your hooked arab nose.
How do the morenas feel about you and your lighter skin?
Don't think I haven't been noticing your ass.
Your hair is so black.

my racialized body sexualized. consumed.

what am i, you ask?
i am a red tulip holding this machete, asshole.
what are you?


Longing. Desire. Imperfect Love.
I want to love you in the moment. In between details. Syncopated. Raw.
If I ask you, will you come?


barefoot on the balcony
body curves into night air
across miles of skin
promise of you seeps
into my spine like molasses

Sep 23, 2008

(an ode to) Imperfect Love

Sep 18, 2008

The Stoning of Soraya M.

There is a movie being released about the stoning of women in Iran. Based on a real story, the synopsis of the film is as such: a French journalist goes to a remote village in Iran, and is approached by a woman who tells him about the killing of her niece. Through the story (and I quote from the film's website) we're expose[d] to the dark power of mob rule, uncivil law, and the utter lack of human rights for women. The last and only hope for some measure of justice lies in the hands of the journalist who must escape with the story--and his life--so the world will know."

Sound familiar? Remember, Not Without my Daughter? Yes, this is another one.

This movie is embedded within a wider racist, colonialist discourse that's rooted in a long history of power and domination between the "west" and the Middle East (see Said's Orientalism). Today, this discourse is part and parcel of U.S. (and European) imperialist, war-mongering efforts to occupy countries like Iran. All under the pretense of "liberation" and "democracy." They want to save us from our barbaric selves! The only hope and measure of justice lies in the hands of our oppressors! Yes, by the very people (and their systems and structures of domination) that actively work against any possibility for our people to liberate themselves.

Regimes such as the one in Iran do not exist in a vacuum. There are power plays to consider, by imperialist nations such as the U.S., which benefit from the existence of such regimes. Just look at the history of U.S. relations with Afghanistan (Taliban) and Iraq (Saddam). And who was responsible for the '53 coup in Iran? Who prevented Iran from potentially having a democratic government? Right.

The issue of stoning is real. Under the Islamic theocratic regime of Iran, women have little to no rights. This upsets me more than I can express. But there is resistance in Iran. And there is support for that resistance here, from allies and those of us in the diaspora. So my issue isn't with the subject of the movie. What I am severely concerned about is that which is missing in stories like this one. Stories which are told from a colonial discourse of domination. With missing layers, like wider global relations of power, and the resistance that's actually happening. The layers are missing. The discourse is oppressive and dangerous. This is what I'm concerned about.

I don't have time to get into heavy analysis here. I just want people to be aware when watching movies like this. There is an impending war on Iran. And that's what we need to remember.

Sep 15, 2008

Iran: A People Interrupted

This book by Hamid Dabashi is a must read. Through a historical analysis of Iran from the 19th century to present day, Dabashi highlights his premise of an anticolonial modernity. This book was a breath of fresh air in so many regards. First, Dabashi's political historiography is multifaceted and takes into account movements within Iranian literature, cinema, art and so on. He brings Iranians to the core of their history as agents of change (resistance) both in terms of domestic tyranny (absolute monarchy or theocracy) and foreign intervention (colonialism and imperialism). Dabashi refuses to essentialize at any given point in his analysis (even rejects Spivak's notion of strategic essentialism), choosing to present an alternative, more complex (and ultimately politicized) historiography of Iran. One that rejects both the imperialist colonial discourse of "western emancipation" and Islamic theocracy, while seeing the interconnection between the two vis-a-vis European colonial modernity.

"Iranians (like the rest of the world) received the universal promises of Enlightenment modernity through the gun barrel of European colonialism...We became modernized and colonized at one and the same time. We cannot be modern without speaking through a colonized mind, and we have not learned how to decolonize our minds without abandoning what Jurgen Habermass still insists on calling "the unfinished" project of modernity...Without a systemic critique of modernity...we cannot achieve that radical decolonization of the mind." (Dabashi 46-47)

"We have become a nation not by virtue of European colonizing or Orientalists writing about us, but by virtue of resisting colonialism, talking back to senile Orientalists, reminding them of where we come from, striking back at the imperial hubris that has denied us agency. We are a nation by virtue of our collective will to resist power, and we are a modern nation by virtue of an anticolonial modernity that locates us in the defiant disposition of our current history." (Dabashi 25)

There is much more going on in this book than I have summarized here. If you have a chance, read it. This is a critical book not just with regards to the current situation in Iran, but also in terms of anti-colonial/imperialist historiographies, discourses and movements in other parts of the world.
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