Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘social

Do you feel dancing like mad, occasionally? Or reciting poetry?

Is there any connection for dancing hard and reciting poetry?

Are the two activities an urge to change, a liberation of a rotten situation that endured too long?

Are the two activities basically initiated by women?

Why do we dance?

Gillian Schutte posted:

Dance is used in protest in many parts of the world.

In South Africa, dance and song has always been intrinsic to protesting for human rights – and is often led by women.  Dance was considered the most performing rebellious/revolutionary act to display in front of the apartheid regime precisely because it said to them that no matter what they do they will never restrain the human spirit, the ability to dance and be.

Dance denotes a freedom of body, mind and soul.

It is both a celebratory and a rebellious act in that it speaks of a freedom of movement, a non-restricted relationship to body and is the … antithesis of an oppressed, restrained and violated body.

Dance is essentially non-patriarchal and it rebels against patriarchal control over the female body.

It is a misnomer to think of celebration as non-revolutionary. Celebration is the ultimate rebellious act in a world that is dictated to us by non-celebratory forces.

It is every women’s right to live in a celebratory world – one that celebrates her sexuality, her beauty, her wisdom, her body, her right to be orgasmic and free. To not recognize that urge is to remain in the clutches of the austere and patriarchal ethos.

To pooh pooh dance in protest also speaks of a western superiority as dance is used in protest in non-western culture naturally – why should we then not include it in a global movement?

Perhaps it is time for dissenters to consider what celebration and contemporary protest have in common, to wonder what such ritualized display of dissent may be able to do in a dynamic process of social change.

Dance, carnival and celebration has been used throughout history to destabilize restrictive leadership and government and it is destabilizing in that it cannot be contained or categorized as aggressive. This is not about women playing dance, it’s about revolution. You have the choice to rise, strike or dance.

Those who would like to dance should be free to do so!”

Why we are dancing:</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>"Dance is used in protest in many parts of the world. In South Africa for example, dance and song has always been intrinsic to protesting for human rights - and is often led by women.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Dance denotes a freedom of body, mind and soul. It is both a celebratory and rebellious act in that it speaks of a freedom of movement, a non-restricted relationship to body and is the<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
antithesis of an oppressed, restrained and violated body. It is essentially non-patriarchal and it rebels against patriarchal control over the female body.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It is a misnomer to think of celebration as non-revolutionary. Celebration is the ultimate rebellious act in a world that is dictated to us by non-celebratory forces.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
In South Africa, again, dance was considered the most performative rebellious/revolutionary act to display in front of the apartheid regime precisely because it said to them that no matter what they do they will never restrain the human spirit, the ability to dance and be.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It is every women's right to live in a celebratory world - one that celebrates her sexuality, her beauty, her wisdom, her body, her right to be orgasmic and free. To not recognise that is to remain in the clutches of the austere and patriarchal ethos. Furthermore to pooh pooh dance in protest also speaks of a western superiority as dance is used in protest in non-western culture naturally - why should we then not include it in a global movement?</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Perhaps it is time for dissenters to consider what celebration and contemporary protest have in common, to wonder what such ritualised display of dissent may be able to do in a dynamic process of social change. Dance, carnival and celebration has been used throughout history to destabilize restrictive leadership and government and it is destabilizing in that it cannot be contained or categorized as aggressive.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
This is not about women playing dance, it's about revolution.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>You have the choice to rise, strike or dance. Those who would like to dance should be free to do so!"</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>- Gillian Schutte

The Poetry of Creatures

A poetry reading in Lebanon.

Nath Halawani posted a review of a poetry evening at Dar Bistro:

It’s one of those evenings that make me content with the choice I made over a year ago: to come back to Lebanon.

I had promised both poets I’d make them look like legends.

Matter of fact they didn’t need my help, they were there. I already hold deep admiration to Sara Sibai’s performance.

In fact I was just thinking of asking her later on to send me one of the poems she recited that night.

The idea got kicked out by the fact that a few lines won’t simply do, I’d need a video recording, better yet, I’d need to watch her performing live.

Sara Sibai

As for Omar, he shone like I’ve never seen a person shine before.

I’m known for my bluntness, my abstention to compliment people; Omar was truly an energetic human, whose light was reflected within the letters of every word he recited.

Omar BR

I felt a bit uncomfortable though, embarrassed with the noise my camera’s shutter kept making, such noise that broke the serenity of Dar Bistro.

The scene I was having pictured in mind needed to be caught on camera. I knew everyone would excuse me and understand.

Throughout the evening, both poets invited the audience for some contribution as well, and what contribution that was!

Last thing I expected was to witness the rogue dance of both emotions and reason in front of my eyes whenever a poem was screamed out loud.

The amount of sorrow, hatred, love and peace kept popping out dandling tenderly on the coffee tables

A few heads were looking up onto one direction, others were simply reaching out for an unseen world where the poem was taking place.

I hold but pure respect to both Sara and Omar, for their initiative replenished my faith in my choice and this tiny country, all drenched in chaos.

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Part 2. The Second story of how social media changed

If you wish to read part 1: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/how-often-have-social-media-changed-part-1/

Second story: China Earthquake and Obama campaign…

Last May, the Sichuan province in China had a 7.9 magnitude earthquake.  Massive destruction in a wide area, as the Richter Scale has it. And the earthquake was reported as it was happening. People were texting from their phones. They were taking photos of buildings.They were taking videos of buildings shaking. 

They were uploading it to QQ, China’s largest Internet service. They were Twittering it. And as the quake was happening, the news was reported. And because of the social connections, Chinese students coming elsewhere, and going to school, or businesses in the rest of the world opening offices in China — there were people listening all over the world, hearing this news. 

The BBC got their first wind of the Chinese quake from Twitter.Twitter announced the existence of the quake several minutes before the US Geological Survey had anything up online for anybody to read.

The last time China had a quake of that magnitude it took them three months to admit that it had happened.

China authorities might have liked to have done that here, rather than seeing these pictures go up online. But they weren’t given that choice, because their own citizens beat them to the punch. Even the government learned of the earthquake from their own citizens, rather than from the Xinhua News Agency. And this stuff rippled like wildfire.

For a while, 9 of the top 10 most clicked links on Twitter (the global short messaging service) were about the quake. People collating information, pointing people to news sources,pointing people to the US geological survey. The 10th one was kittens on a treadmill, but that’s the Internet for you.

But 9 of the 10 in those first hours were about the earthquake. And within half a day donation sites were up, and donations were pouring in from all around the world. This was an incredible, coordinated global response.

And the Chinese, in one of their periods of media openness, decided that they were going to let it go, that they were going to let this citizen reporting fly. And then this happened.

People began to figure out, in the Sichuan Provence, that the reason so many school buildings had collapsed during this school day,  is that corrupt officials had taken bribes to allow those building to be built to less than code. And so they started, the citizen journalists started reporting that as well. And there was an incredible picture.

You may have seen this picture on the front page of the New York Times. A local official literally prostrated himself in the street, in front of these protesters, in order to get them to go away. Essentially to say: “We will do anything to placate you, just please stop protesting in public.”

But these are people who have been radicalized:  thanks to the one child policy, they have lost everyone in their next generation. Someone who has seen the death of a single child now has nothing to lose. And so the protest kept going. And finally the Chinese cracked down. That was enough of citizen media. And so they began to arrest the protesters. They began to shut down the media that the protests were happening on.

China is probably the most successful manager of Internet censorship in the world, using something that is widely described as the Great Firewall of China. And the Great Firewall of China is a set of observation points that assume four parameters:

1. that media is produced by professionals;

2. it mostly comes in from the outside world;

3.  it comes in relatively sparse chunks, and

4. it comes in relatively slow.

And because of those four characteristics they are able to filter it as it comes into the country. But like the Maginot Linethe great firewall of China was facing in the wrong direction for this challenge: Not one of those four things was true in this environment. 

1. The media were produced locally.

2. It was produced by amateurs. 

3. It was produced quickly.

4. And it was produced at such an incredible abundance that there was no way to filter it as it appeared. 

And so, now the Chinese government, who for a dozen years, has quite successfully filtered the web, is now in the position of having to decide whether to allow or shut down entire services, because the transformation to amateur media is so enormous that they can’t deal with it any other way.

And in fact that is happening this week. On the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen they just, two days ago, announced that they were simply shutting down access to Twitter, because there was no way to filter it other than that. 

They had to turn the spigot entirely off. Now these changes don’t just affect people who want to censor messages. They also affect people who want to send messages because this is really a transformation of the ecosystem as a whole, not just a particular strategy.

The classic media problem, in the 20th century is, how does an organization have a message that they want to get out to a group of people distributed at the edges of a network. What was the twentieth century answer? 

Bundle up the message. Send the same message to everybody. National message. Targeted individuals. Relatively sparse number of producers. Very expensive to do, so there is not a lot of competition. This is how you reach people. All of that is over.

We are increasingly in a landscape where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap. Now most organizations that are trying to send messages to the outside world, to the distributed collection of the audience, are now used to this change. The audience can talk back. And that’s a little freaky. But you can get used to it after a while, as people do.

But that’s not the really crazy change that we’re living in the middle of. The really crazy change is here: it’s the fact that they are no longer disconnected from each other, the fact that former consumers are now producers, the fact that the audience can talk directly to one another.

Because there is a lot more amateurs than professionals,and because the size of the network, the complexity of the network is actually the square of the number of participants, meaning that the network, when it grows large, grows very, very large.

As recently at last decade, most of the media that was available for public consumption was produced by professionals. Those days are over, never to return. It is the green lines now, that are the source of the free content, which brings me to my last story. We saw some of the most imaginative use of social media during the Obama campaign.

For example, in the Obama campaign they put up MyBarackObama.com, myBO.com  And millions of citizens rushed in to participate, and to try to figure out how to help. An incredible conversation sprung up there. And then, this time last year, Obama announced that he was going to change his vote on FISA, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Obama had said, in January, that he would not sign a bill that granted telecom immunity for possibly warrantless spying on American persons. By the summer, in the middle of the general campaign, Obama said: “I’ve thought about the issue more. I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to vote for this bill.” And many of his own supporters on his own site went very publicly berserk.

It was Senator Obama when they created it. They changed the name later. “Please get FISA right.” Within days of this group being created, it was the fastest growing group on myBO.com; within weeks of its being created it was the largest group. Obama had to issue a press release. He had to issue a reply. And he said essentially:

“I have considered the issue. I understand where you are coming from. But having considered it all, I’m still going to vote the way I’m going to vote. But I wanted to reach out to you and say, I understand that you disagree with me, and I’m going to take my lumps on this one.”

This didn’t please anybody. But then a funny thing happened in the conversation. People in that group realized that Obama had never shut them down. Nobody in the Obama campaign had ever tried to hide the group or make it harder to join, to deny its existence, to delete it, to take to off the site. They had understood that their role with myBO.com was to convene their supporters but not to control their supporters.

And that is the kind of discipline that it takes to make really mature use of this media. Media, the media landscape that we knew, as familiar as it was, as easy conceptually as it was to deal with the idea that professionals broadcast messages to amateurs, is increasingly slipping away.

In a world where media is global, social, ubiquitous and cheap, in a world of media where the former audience are now increasingly full participants, in that world, media is less and less often about crafting a single message to be consumed by individuals. It is more and more often a way of creating an environment for convening and supporting groups.

And the choice we face, I mean anybody who has a message they want to have heard anywhere in the world, isn’t whether or not that is the media environment we want to operate in. That’s the media environment we’ve got. The question we all face now is, “How can we make best use of this media? Even though it means changing the way we’ve always done it.”

Whispered Tales landed in San Francisco...

Sabine Choucair and Chantal Mailhac, of the “Whispered tales from Lebanon” company, are touring many major cities in the US and disseminating 10 stories they captured from families in Lebanon. Here what happened in San Francisco.

“First trip within the Arabic diaspora

Loubna ( who actually put us in contact with Alif – Atlanta-  and CAC – Boston) was there to greet us and drive us around San Fransisco, to visit the space and the Arabic Cultural Center that was hosting us.

When we first discovered the space on the day of our arrival, we found it great and cosy, and we thought we’d have a very intimate moment during the performance.
And in fact, we were right.

The day of the performance, we’ve had an intimate event with an audience that was mainly of women. But not any women, those who are very engaged persons, and very active politically.

This actually might be the reason why the stories that touched them most were the ones related to the revolution and the fight against occupation, like the story of Hajj Abou Ali.

Now we are in Atlanta…
we performed last night and we are looking forward for our second performance tonight.

updates about the extremely exciting Atlanta experience will follow …
just after our second show.

stay tuned 🙂

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Family Life According to Egypt Moslem Brotherhood: Bees, flowers, erratic emotionally…

Osama Abou Salama, professor of botany at Cairo University, told young men and women in premarital counseling classes: “Women are erratic, emotional, and they make good wives and mothers but never a leader or ruler”. Osama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, The women did not object.

MONA EL-NAGGAR published on September 4, 2012

“Since the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power, much of the uncertainty over its social agenda is stirred by its undefined attitude toward women. Will the Brotherhood’s leaders try:
1. to impose a conservative dress code?
2. Will they bar women from certain fields of work?
3. Will they promote segregation at schools?

In a country where the vast majority of women already cover their hair, disregard any collective call for action and voluntarily separate from men in coed environments, that may seem academic.

Mr. Abou Salama asks anyway. “Can you, as a woman, take a decision and handle the consequences of your decision?

A number of women shook their head.

Osama to resume: “No. But men can. And God created us this way because a ship cannot have more than one captain.”

None of the 30 or so young men and women in the class winced.

More than any other political group in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is most fluent in the dialect of the masses. By upholding patriarchal and traditional values around a woman’s place in society, it garners popular support, builds political capital and reinforces a socially conservative paradigm.

Hania Sholkamy, anthropologist and associate professor at the Social Research Center of the American University in Cairo says: “The woman is the symbol of a moral platform through which easy gains can be made. Those who deprive women of their rights, limit their freedom or place them in a subordinate position believe that the political cost of doing so is very low.”

The lectures of Mr. Abou Salama, who has raised three daughters, are part of a four-week workshop dubbed Bride and Groom Against Satan and sponsored by Family House, a Muslim Brotherhood-funded charity.

Among its many activities, Family House offers financial support to struggling households, provides a matchmaking service and sponsors mass weddings for low-income couples.

Walaa Abdel Halim, the Family House coordinator who organizes the youth counseling workshop, says: “This is part of the reformist methodology of the Muslim Brotherhood. Shaping a righteous individual leads to shaping a righteous family and by shaping a righteous family, you get a righteous society that can choose a righteous leader.”

For Ms. Abdel Halim, 22, her efforts bore fruit when Mohamed Morsi was elected president in June.

At the time, Mr. Morsi gave assurances to protect the rights of women and include them in decision-making. Less than three months into his presidency, Mr. Morsi has already broken a campaign promise to appoint a woman as vice president. Instead, he named a team of 21 senior aides and advisers last week that includes three women.

Of those three, Omaima Kamel is a medical professor at Cairo University and member of the Muslim Brotherhood since 1981. One of her main areas of work and interest, she says, is women.

Omaima Kamel says: “Let’s face it, if your work took you away from your fundamental duties at home and if your success came at the cost of your family life and the stability of your children, then you are the one who stands to lose. A woman can work as much as she wants, but within the framework of our religious restrictions.”

Many analysts and critics of the Muslim Brotherhood see such vagueness as conducive to capricious laws and social constraints on women.

Ibrahim el-Houdaiby, a researcher of Islamic movements and former member of the Brotherhood, says: “There is an absence of a well-defined vision so they use words like “religious restrictions”.  O.K., sure, so what exactly are those restrictions so we can know them and figure out how to deal with them? As long as we don’t define what those limits are, then we can expand them to the point where women, practically speaking, cannot work.”

Outlining some parameters, Ms. Kamel listed “respect,” “modest dress” and “limited or no mixing between the sexes.”

In Mr. Morsi’s political program, called “the renaissance,” there is overt emphasis on a woman’s “authentic role as wife, mother and purveyor of generations.” The program then makes recommendations to safeguard family life; foremost among them are premarital classes for youth.

Free from the Mubarak regime, the Muslim Brotherhood’s social outreach programs have mushroomed. In less than a year, Family House expanded from a single office to 18 branches around Egypt.

Back at the mother branch, in the densely populated Cairo neighborhood of Nasr City, Mr. Abou Salama walks into a spacious room where front rows are for men, back seats for women. He lectures on qualities to seek in a partner, getting acquainted under parental supervision, dealing with in-laws and successfully consummating marriage. In his social paradigm, understanding that the woman was created to be an obedient wife and mother and the man to fend for his family holds the secret to a happy marriage.

“I want you to be the flower that attracts a bee to make honey, not the trash that attracts flies and dirt. A woman takes pleasure in being a follower and finds ease in obeying a husband who loves her.”” Mr. Abou Salama said, encouraging the women not to flaunt their bodies. All the women in the room were veiled; most of them wore long loose dresses, and four had full-face covers.

Note: So many “professors”, left and right, not feeling ashamed to display their stupidities…

Supposed to be relieved: From buying emergency items, one at a time

It is an inconsequential event, at least in what it concerns me.

Irrelevant little events have a habit to snowball. They snowball into mythical stories, to be relayed from generation to generation.

Mother used to remember of a missing items while cooking: The item was an emergency happening, and I was dispatched to fetch it from my aunt’s shop, a small distance away…These emergency items, one at a time because mother forgets, forced me to descend several times a day.

I used to believe that a misery item to purchase shouldn’t take that long. Wrong.

My aunt, as she saw me coming, would open up a topic for discussion, and her husband (both over their 80’s) would take the hint, pick up on the thread and rewind a long broken record of customers they despise, they cannot suffer…long time animosities that never healed and couldn’t be forgotten…George would never miss a comma, a well-oiled and memorized broken record

Stories of angst, anger, displeasure with countless former clients would roll down uninterrupted…

I learned to be patient, calm down and let the inevitable story to fizzle out…And I knew that sooner or later, I will be the next target to add in their long list of people to “wipe the ground with“.

Consequently, I refrained from participating and giving my opinion: Any opinion not to their favor was a basis to list me as the enemy, even temporary…

This time around, my opinion was to turn to a longer-term animosity. What? They are not getting enough customers to buy all their fruits and vegetables on display before they go bad?

I fear this redundant event has all the elements to grow into a tribal animosity: No one from the family or the extended family members came by to visit and ask for clarification and to talk…My aunts visited mother twice and never talked to me or brought up the subject with me: Children (of over 60 in age) are still out to be involved in serious topics…

There were a few established customs, by the force of repetition.

My aunt used to visit mother a few times per week, preferably in the morning to have her blood sugar content checked, have her blood pressure taken…and to spend an hour chit chatting…Sort of venting out their body aches, recalling who died lately, who is in emergency treatment, and reminiscing of old stories…

Mother used to visit on Sunday afternoon, about 3 pm. Sort of getting out and socializing: Not many people visit us…

A community of archaic mentality that enjoy toying with irrelevant events, and weaving great stories of inconsequential little events, adding lies and large handful of spices for better taste to foul tongues and memorable listening evenings…

I am supposed to be relieved: From buying emergency items, one items at a time, going down to the shop several time a day… I am not relieved yet, on two counts:

1. I still have to go up three floors, several times a day, to fetch emergency items from my sister’s apartment

2. I am not that relieved: It is supposed to be a personal matter between George and me. Why the extended family has to feel directly concerned and shun from saluting and having small talks? Particularly the young members…

In any case, everyone know that George should be on tranquilizers to cool down his nerves on edge at all times. George is battling with his shadows when no one is around him…A small medication can go a long way to restoring the peace in these countless mini civil wars…

“Voyage to the End of the Night” Part 4

These are excerpts of statements of a collection of stories describing the war, the after the war, and delivering physical care to the poorer district in Paris…

“The French race doesn’t exist. We are a bunch of seedy people like me, flea-infected, in transit…who ended up on these shores, with nowhere else to resume the flight, a long trip, fleeing famine, cholera, tumors, cold…the defeated individuals, arriving from the 4 corners of the world…

We are the generations of great parents, hateful, docile, raped, stolen, and cuckoled…We are born faithful, soldiers for free, heroes in the eyes of everyone, and talking apes: We are the darling of King Misery.

We change nothing, neither socks, nor opinions, nor our masters… (It sounds like Celine was describing the Lebanese people…)

Love is infinity at the reach of dogs, and I’m not dignified enough for that luxury.

I needed over 20 years and participating in an ugly war before I learned that two distinct kinds of humanity exist: The poor and the rich. It took me that many years and many more miseries to start asking for the price of things and people, before I touch and keep things and people

We have this urge for making love as we scratch. It is harder to renounce on love than on life: We pass our time killing or adoring, and often time doing both concurrently.

We do our best to relay our sperms to the next generations of bipeds, frantically, at any price, as if it were extremely agreeable to sustain procreation. We are tacitly hoping that, eventually, in a distant future, mankind will get its revenge and reach a phase of living forever

And yet, all our love-making is tinged with shame, (and it is because of this feeling of shame attached to this activity that we keep at it…keep scratching all the way…)

Love is like drinking alcohol: The more drunk and impotent, and the greater is our feeling of power and cunning, and the stupider is our certainty for our divine rights over our partner…a feeling of power that hides our endemic lack of courage…

Poems of heroism possess the soul of those not on the front lines, and particularly, those making huge profit from wars…and this is done without any resistance

Lola (an American nurse from the east coast) had these steel blue eyes that looked you straight in the eyes.  Lola rambled on the side of optimism and the joy of living, as most privileged people do, invested with health, security, money, and a long life ahead of her. I had a thousand irrefutable reasons to have contrary emotions. To Lola, I was no longer in the vibrant and radiant mood…Lola harassed me in the matter of the soul. To me, the spirit was the vanity and pleasure of the healthy bodies and of those in want of getting out of the body during extreme sick periods… And it became my project to pay a visit to the USA and meet more of these healthy girls…

As long as the little people are paying the tab, out of their labor, sweat and miseries in order to advance the lot of the privilege class, what difference does it make if they pay in Marks, Francs or Dollars? What could the little people lose when the building of the owner burns down? Another owner will take over…(It is better the new owner does not speak the local language: The little people can enjoy these fleeting instances of feeling superior, making fun of the proprietor and ridiculing him out loud…)

Note 1: Ferdinand Celine worked 4 years on his manuscript at nights after a long harassing day as a physician.  The manuscript lacked all kinds of punctuation, 25 years earlier than Kerouac first manuscript “On the Road” and it was not like Celine didn’t know how to punctuate.

Note 2: If you like to read part 3 https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/voyage-to-the-end-of-the-night-by-ferdinand-celine-part-3/


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