Sunday, December 7, 2008

Day 12: Collaborative cooking | Recipes against VAW

On Day 12 recipes, techniques, and wikis of action--check them out!

However, I am cooking outside of the text again with my favorite recipe-cookbook blogs because I've learned that besides the Twitter, SMS, organizations, blogs, and images, we need roses and bread...or for many women around the world....rice or bhat-caul in Bangladesh.

One vegetarian cookbook blog that I adore, save and share recipes: 101 Cookbooks- by Heidi Swanson-a photographer and writer of her own vegetarian cookbook, Super natural Cooking (you want to eat the pictures, too, on both the blog and cookbook).

Also this time of year and also during rainy times, Bangladeshis eat and make big mounds of kichuri (mixture of rice, lentils, veggies and spices)--a kind of comfort or soul food--that I never learned to make until this fall (previously depending on my former students and VAW activists Dr. Rifat Akhter and AKM Saiful Islam--who needs to finish his path-breaking dissertation on domestic violence and Bangladeshi NGOs!).

This fall, I bought a small 6 cup rice cooker and have been making variations weekly on this recipe since the following recipe...the cup refers to the small cup (3/4 cup) packed with the rice cooker

This is my adapted Bideshi Blue kichuri....that makes about 3-4 servings that are good warm-hot and/or as cold-room temperature leftovers for office lunches...and it's not so spicy for bideshis (foreigners). [NOTE IMPORTANT UPDATE--ADD WATER IN STEP 6]

1. rinse 1 cup of rice (mine does a great job with brown rice) along with 1/2 c mix of red lentils, moong dal (split hulled mung beans) and/or yellow split peas. rinse several times until water runs clear. put in large bowl.

2. make 1 cup of mixed veggies (i use frozen ) and or thinly sliced greens

3. chop small onion and several cloves of garlic

4. mix veggies, onion, and garlic with rice-lentils with pinches of tumeric, coriander, cumin, and ginger (salt if you like), also add one to two whole serrano or jalpeno chilis (depending on your heat tolerance) i also add a dried chilepotle pepper (smoky hot taste)

5. add 1/8-1/4 cup olive or canola oil and mix with rice, veggie, spice, chili mixture

6. stir in at least three cups of warm water-pani (rice cooker size cup) and pour into cooker insert pan-bowl

7. put in cooker, set to cook...and let steam for at least 15 more minutes after cooker clicks to keep warm mode (needed to steam and fully cook brown rice). the cook cycle takes about 30 minutes on my cooker. some times i steam more greens (kale, mustard, etc) in the steaming insert...toward the end of the cooking cycle...

you can check your email, blog, and/or relax, etc while the kichuri is cooking

8. fluff kichuri and eat. some times I add some cilatro sprigs, roasted nuts and/or some sliced baked itself, kichuri is complete protein (rice+lentils).

Also I like to combine some leftover kichuri with some broth/water (1-2 cups), and after the mixture comes to a simmer, then I stir in one T or more of light miso (keep at simmer) to make soup. See also Heidi Swanson's post on miso soup!

This post fulfills the requests of several Carbondale, IL bideshis who have bought rice cookers after the New York Times article this fall and my summoning the courage to use my rice cooker.....and a big hat or rice cooker tip to Rifat e Saiful.

So what's your comfort food after a hard day of organizing, cold rallies, or computing??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Day 11: Burst media bubbles | Talk, draw, blog back!

Day 11 I was in a cartoonish frame of mind....and some of my favorite cartoons with attitudes:

Danae in Non Sequitur (Wiley)--Danae is my tiny but mighty alter ego....who says what I think and also has an interesting use of Barbies and Ken (not shown) but she also keeps her father's life I continue to do with mine!

Sylvia in Sylvia by (Nicole Hollander)--she says what I will say when I am grown up...she also has a series of books, involving mostly cats (my personal fav: Psycho Kitties among others)...that seem to inspire the take back the tech balinese (now one year older).

also click on image for Sylvia's home page and location

or you can also catch Sylvia at the very useful and informative Women'sEnews website

Dykes to Watch Out For cast of characters)--Alison Bechdel -her blog and her autobiography, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. DTWOF was one of the earliest cartoons with realistic lesbian cast of characters, partners, offspring, and allies, and their various adventures and never in mainstream comics. Although I just discovered that the 2 Dec 08 New York Times raved about her latest book, The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For. Check out the DTWOF archive
and her Flickr stream link to a cartoon campaign comment.

Why don't we have more women cartoonists and uppity women and girls in cartoons and their commentaries?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Day 10: Controlling images-words ?| Secure online communications | Your right to privacy

On Day 10, please consider the state of your identity in on-line networks, especially social networks. TTBT women have many useful tools and apps on their website.

I want to talk about readers, audience, and the possible uses and abuses of social networking sites.....and what recourse we have when some one takes images and (mis)information and posts it to us and/or social networking sites.

Ultra Violet
has some interesting discussions started by Meena Kandasamy who had continued to grapple with a cyber-stalker, in "Self-expression and social networking sites" and pursuant discussions on readers and audience. After anonymous negative comments appeared based on a picture that she posted on her social networking site, she wrote:

Although one is aware that there are laws against defamation in place, how can these be put to use against anonymous trollers and orkut-scrap-posters and their like? Forget the case of independent writers, do we actually have any mechanism to punish ALL those who are abusive on the web because of the anonymity that it provides.

Recently Niveditha Menon asks what are "the voices in our head"? She discusses our abilities to name and/or articulate our experiences, picking our battles, and who is our audience? In particular,

how do we know who is in our heads when we write? Who are we writing for? Who are we writing against? Under what social pressures do feminist writers (whether male or female) articulate their experience? How do we know our “authentic” voice, given all this input from friendly and unfriendly sources?

Back to me (my puran-aged feminist self).....

Several important issues here....1) using writing and posting to clarify who we are, our place in the world and 2) then how our readers can take and use/mix/abuse our words, images, and some times actions. How much agency and control do we have over our own images, identities? TBTT and others stress using pseudonyms and many do.

At the same time, trolls and others hide behind their pseudonyms to stalk and provide misinformation about people, incidents, and episodes...once on the internet...this misinformation is very hard to scrub. As result, stalkers can pursue bloggers and/or people absconding on sexual assault or domestic violence felony charges can set up faux social networking identities complete with 'female friends' writing (interesting gender bending) and/or from the safety of their home country can continue to harass the plaintiff and their families via various internet ISPs...Others join in the discussion and gossip-adda of idiosyncratic personal matters rather than the broader and endemic issues of VAW and abuse. This is not an isolated incident...from some of my earlier writing but also some of my transnational emails and advocacy work on domestic violence.

So it's one thing to be clear on our voices, audiences, and purposes for writing, but what do we do when others hide in the anonymity of the internet and social networking sites and faux identities? Adda and gossip ensue?

Or how do we handle the announcement of beginning and ends of relationships via little symbols on Facebook? When relationships do not begin as we like and/or they end badly? Scorned persons? Or the uses of our images and videos by others, especially when be-friending people gives them access to our profiles and info? Or when disturbed former spouses-partners post pictures of their ex-partners on the internet-social networking sites. Or batterers claim that pictures of abused partners have been photoshopped....

These are also real experiences that brought me to Facebook, and also make me concerned about the uses-abuses of social networking sites. Hence I'm still looking for how we handle these situations...or when we discuss and use these sites to clarify such issues if that is possible giving the social constructions of our relationships and lives by multiple persons.

How do we handle when such (mis)information persists on the internet and is easily retrieved by searching on a person's name? I see these searches nearly every week on my blog. How do we handle troll comments on our blogs and sites?

Any thoughts? Suggestions?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Day 9: Break Barriers-Translate-Network and learn!

On Day 9, I want to give a hat tip to Global Voices and Rising Voices b/c they have done excellent work in compiling and translating blogs in multiple languages. Some of the Rising Voice grants are starting to develop blogs in Indigenous languages, for example, Cristina Quisbert's Bolivia Indígena, which includes Amarya and Nari Jibon students blogging in Bangla (you may need some Bangla fonts to read this post).

Or check out Renata Avila writing about Central American women, ICT, and TBTT in Global Voices and then featured in TTBT site via Manal Hansan's blog.

Or Aparna Ray who has been a wonderful khala (aunt) to Nari Jibon bloggers, including encouraging and doing translation of some of their Bangla works.

Or Rezwan Islam, the mama (uncle) to Nari Jibon bloggers and original editor of Rising Voices blog.

Please link up and check out these Rising Voices projects and participants. Share and comment on blog posts that interest you. Look up the regional editors and consider becoming a contributor, encourage them to cover more issues of concern to you such as VAW and women's lives, and/or a translator in the Lingua-Global Voices translation program, too. Finally, for those in mono-language mode, please consider learning some more languages....I'm working on my Bangla and Spanish....and enjoying Google Translator, if needed. Yes, I know that it doesn't do a good job, but I can get the gist....and who knows what's next in my studies....

More of my favorite links-posts tomorrow. I stayed up too late last night reliving the songs of my wanton feminist youth....for my previous post!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Day 8: Songs Against Violence: Remember the Women!

On Day 8, I'm sharing some inspirational songs-lyrics from the 1970-80s from mainstream and women's music and before....check out the TBTT site for some interesting ringtones against VAW and other aural items.

1) I Will Survive--lyrics-- Gloria Gaynor--(facts and ringtone) --usa feminists' disco anthem 1980s

2) Respect--lyrics---Aretha Franklin

3) Come unto me (sample)--no available lyrics--Sweet Honey in the Rock National Public Radio story long interview-this song and others within interview. you can hear more samples and see all Sweet Honey in the Rock's albums-cds at the Ladyslipper Music Site

4) Holly Near, "We are Singing for Our Lives"
We are a peaceful and loving people and we are singing for our lives......

Holly Near The Rock Will Wear Away lyrics (with Meg Christian)

5) Meg Christian Sweet Darling Woman Look Within

6) Chris Williamson, Retrospective--interview-songs women's music herstory Waterfall Song of the Soul (songs for many rallies) Tender Lady Sweet Woman

5) Give Us Bread and Give Us Roses--lyrics--Lawrence, Massachusetts Women Workers' Strike 1912,(Lyrics: James Oppenheim; Music: Martha Coleman or Caroline Kohlsaat) (1910s)--sung by Judy Collins

As we come marching, marching in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: "Bread and roses! Bread and roses!"

As we come marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!

As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for -- but we fight for roses, too!

As we come marching, marching, we bring the greater days.
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler -- ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses! Bread and roses!

Finally, a sad farewell to Odetta, the voice of the usa civil rights movement who passed away on 2 December. See the embedded video in the New York Times article link above. See also Time article. Some songs (many more on Youtube): Midnight Special-Little Light of Mine You Don't Know My Mind

I hope you enjoy some of these songs from my feminist I did going to find links to these songs, lyrics, and performers...namaste.....

Day 7.5 kbw goes for HIV test

For World Aids Day, I encouraged my students and colleagues at SIUC to go and take a free HIV test c/o the local county health department. Much shifting, hemming and hawing among the undergraduates, and I even offered extra credit for end of term motivation. After lunch, I went for my test, but they had lines and I got a safe sex kit to keep me occupied until I could return.

After office hours and more motivational chats with students, I went for my test, which used an OraSure mouth scraping instead of blood work. This test does not involve blood or needles and is very accurate. My test took place in a private screened area, my long-time friend "Chris" took down my personal information, brief discussion list of any recent-if ever risky behaviors (injectable drugs, sex in exchange for money, drugs, goods, intoxicated sex, and anonymous sex among others), as well as the last time I had unprotected sex.

Then then we opened the test kit...which consisted of a blue plastic scraper with a coated white end for the mouth and a tube for the collected skin cells.

I scraped on the inside of both cheeks and gums and then kept the white end in my mouth for four or so minutes while Chris gave me counseling on what I and family might do if I had a positive result, how I would react (first thought "damn" ) and then seek medical treatment, and that I would have access to local health department facilities around the USA. If negative, I learned what I could do in the future to protect myself and partners, including condoms, dams, and non-microwaveable plastic wrap.

I took the scraper out of my mouth and put it into a small white tube containing preservative, reattached the lid and handed it over to Chris ( no photos of this process). My tube has only an identification number and I am to go and get my results on 10 December with my number and in a private session with a nurse. The entire session took around 25 minutes with some discussion of how to use my Blackberry camera.

I got another safe sex kit....for educational purposes, of course....

one small packet holds eight condoms, two lube packets, instructions, local card for information

So there-- stop worrying and take advantage of the free and anonymous HIV testing, which is also held on alternative 1st and 3rd Thursdays , 2-6pm at Newman Center and 2nd and 4th Thursdays at Longbranch Coffee House from 2-6pm in Carbondale, IL

I did it...and I encourage others to be brave and check on their status as well...instead of the head in the sand approach that I heard from some of my students today. I will report on my results next week.

Balinese cat Madhu inspects contents of the safe sex kit

Meanwhile, I am locating some music for my next post...for Day 8....and will include some Ms. Aretha Franklin, among others.....

P.S. I got my "negative" HIV status results on 10 December and based on my counseling I can keep my status that way, too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Day 7: World Aids Day-Mob Against Stigma

On Day 7, the TBBT women have some wonderful actions for mass emails sent out about HIV-AIDS.

Take Back The Tech! Take part in a text mob against HIV/AIDS related stigma!

  • At 12.00 noon, wherever you are, send a message to 10 people about HIV/AIDS.
  • You can use twitter, SMS, email, IRC channel, forums, blog comment, call in to a radio programme or any communication channels you have access to.
  • We've come up with a few messages to help you get started:
  • Marriage does not mean automatic consent to sex. Stop HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec - (pass this on)
  • No condom no sex. It's about respect, not about shame. Stop HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec - (pass this on)
  • Poverty + violence spreads HIV/AIDS. End women's discrimination. Stop HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec - (pass this on)
  • Get tested. Get treatment. Get control. Stop HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec - (pass this on)
  • Ignorance + fear = stigma. Get facts. Stop HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec - (pass this on)
  • Publicise this call on your blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, myspace, instant messenger status etc, and grow this text mob.

Organise with your friends, networks and community. Spread the word & amplify the buzz.

This is a really simple action, and yet really powerful if lots of people take part in it. So join the text mob & take action on World AIDS Day!


Last night and earlier today, I posted info about Take Back the Tech on several blogs, linked up some friends on Facebook, and then I sent the following message to my students and friends at SIUC (and omitted the testing info for others outside the area):

Poverty + violence spreads HIV/AIDS. End women's discrimination. Stop
HIV/AIDS! 1 Dec – (pass this on)

Then I continued:

Free HIV/AIDS testing dec 1-3 testing SIUC student center...

The Jackson County Health Department will provide free and anonymous HIV testing in Student Center Ballroom B each day, Dec. 1-3, from 1 to 5 p.m. Those tested can get their results in the Mackinaw and Iroquois Rooms at the Student Center from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. daily Dec. 9-10. Anyone can participate in the free testing, but at-risk individuals are particularly encouraged to do so.

take care and be safe & tested,

On 2 December, I will go and get tested...and encourage my students and near and dear ones to do likewise.

If you still need more to read on World Aids Day and Violence Against Women, check out Juliana Rincón Parra's excellent post and videos on eliminating violence against women and her AIDS awareness videos and blogsite in general. David Sasaki updates us on his latest adventures in South Africa and his visits with some Rising Voices bloggers living with AIDS and their activism.

Enough for one day (including some snow-borof) ...and I still have to prepare a final exam among other things....

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 6: How do you keep a social movement alive?

On day 6, I'm going off-the-game script because I found an inspiring video, "how do you keep a social movement alive: why we can't wait " on this website: Document the Violence, which has organized many campaigns in usa and elsewhere to encourage women of color and their allies wear red in april and october to protest violence against women. Most recently, they sponsored the "Be bold, be red goes viral loco visual campaign" . This website includes many resources, including the free downloadable "Rape Documentary Study Guide. and essays, photos, links, and other visuals.

Maybe next year, the Take Back The Tech and 16 Days campaigns can also go glocal and wearing-going viral loco visual red.....

and good luck to all the gaming women geeks.....and programmers....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Day 5: Offline activism | Uncensor your phonebooth-tags-website

On Day 5, we are supposed to take back the content of our sites and links through assorted snippets, business cards in phone boooths (the latter rarely exist any more...more like phone shops where you can pay to make a mobile call--and cyber cafes that are unsecure for women).

I've done another tag cloud from a post last December on International Day Against Violence Against Sex workers this post has had many readers, mostly due to the tag words and less so on the content and message of violence against sex workers. I've had similar results when I mentioned sex workers' struggles post Sidr cyclone and the failure of relief agencies to give supplies, protection, and relief.

So I am reasserting my own tags, especially those that attract the attention of men looking for certain girls and maybe even a few ISP links and computer users from Qatar and Saudia Arabia (most common) who are searching for such girls!

For an excellent blog, articles, and analyses on such issues including sex workers' own voices and phone booths(!), see Laura Agustín's Border Thinking on Migration and Trafficking: Culture, Economy and Sex

Here's the link/picture of a London phone booth that she mentions in her comment below.

Also Regina Lynn describes how the Desiree Alliance and SWOP (regional sex worker outreach projects) in USA have used Twitter, Tumbler iphones, and Google docs to create media blitzes. The Alliance and projects have their own blogs, for example, Bound, Not Gagged. These have evolved around episodes involving sex workers such as Ashley Alexandra Dupré and Elliot Spitzer in New York and get sex workers' voices-perspectives into mainstream media, while fending off reporters' questions on how to find an escort service among other things.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 4: Cloud up violence | The power of words

In Day 4, explore the power of words and cloud tags...and here's one for pagol nari blog done with a different tag cloud tool...ironically many of these words-tags attract male readers around the world who are looking for "girls, mobile numbers, sex, hotels" etc in Bangladesh (that's another post!).

also be sure to check out the ongoing posts on, or individual blogs such as Ahona's and her graphics!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 3: Connect and Help and maybe Twitter?

On Day 3, we are encouraged to explore and empower our selves with some new mobile technology such as SMS to report abuse, actions, and seek help-information. Maybe it's my over-connected self and thumbs tired from texting that have resisted Twittering. My Blackberry and tiny keyboard seem connected to instant messages (Google Talk) among other distractions-instrusions of email, on-line news, and uploading my cat photos to Flickr or Facebook.

Or my nearly 40 years of organizing via telephone and in person (landline, letters, magazines, demonstrations, in person conversations) make me a bit leery-weary of the hi-tech and Facebook approaches to organizing. Users can "join" a cause, sign digital petitions, or cut/paste their email messages to politicians-corporations without taking concrete actions or making changes in safety, security or advancing their causes' goals-agendas. At the same time, I have seen the power of Youtube videos in Rahela's case (previous post) or in the recent USA presidental election of Barack Obama!

Or maybe the two Thanksgiving dinners that I attended to today have temporarily dulled my technological appreciation!

Computer technology has led to websites for help and connection around VAW. Toll-free hotlines have given women new forms of communication about VAW as well as reaching out for help and reporting on their lives and experiences. Recycled cell phones have given new and safer voices to women to make calls to police and shelters that cannot be tracked by their abusers who may have ripped out their landlines.

Friends and family separated by distance can also send emails and instant messages via the computer for support. Although many VAW shelters have to stress guidelines for safe computer use for women to protect the privacy of their passwords, email, and communication from jealous partners and abusers.

Nonetheless in many countries, access to the new mobile and computer technologies still depend on access to electricity and funds to power their computers, recharge their phones, as well as reliable and cheap internet and connectivity...still in short supply in many countries. Loadshedding means that your computer and internet won't work and/or your mobile providers' circuits are disrupted. Finally, some men have used these technologies to harass and stalk women.

Now we have Twitter among other things.....Some women and activists have also adopted "Twitter" a way of sending short 140 character messages to near and dear ones as well as friends and those who care to know about our activities, thoughts, and even music. People can sign up to follow our "tweets", which can also be posted on social networking sites, such as Facebook.

On Day 3, the Take Back the Tech women have given a very informative and creative overview of the ways we can use Twitter and SMS to communicate about VAW, actions, and events. From their feeds, today I have also learned about the ongoing use of such technologies by the AZUR Development group in the Congo, their activities on HIV-AIDs, use of SMS messages and radio: I'm also proud that they are also part of the Rising Voices blogging grants!

At the same time, I hope that we can creatively embrace these technologies without losing some our interconnections built on social interactions, communities, and networks. We have many possibilities for remaining connected. For example, through his Facebook tweets, I can follow the music and adventures of my digital friend, Rising Voices coordinator, and global traveler, David Sasaki. who just landed in South Africa on a We Blog the World Junket but with no announced sessions-visits to groups dealing with VAW or such issues in South Africa. (Please see David's later post on failure to address these and AIDS issues on the junket). Earlier this fall, David worked with a group of South African women elders to set up their own blogs. Finally, through Rising Voices grant at Nari Jibon, I've digitally connected with many bloggers and even met some in person!

During my writing of this blogpost, David just made a digital introduction of Azur participant with Nari Jibon bloggers and myself!

From his recent travels to new technology conferences, David considered the possibilities, usefulness, and challenges of such communications, SMS, especially in his thoughtful Mobile Active 08L 6.5 Billion Text Messages Don't Make World Peace. He questions the usefulness of text messaging for peace-political issues and generating action-change. We tend to devalue such communications, "the more we correspond, the less we value correspondence". He also reminds us that a crucial mineral--Coltan--for cellphones &computers is being mined and fought over in the violent chaos of the Congo. Other writers, activists, and documentary filmmakers have reminded us that beyond displacing women and their families, government and rebel soldiers have raped and abused many women and their children and/or spread HIV-AIDS and STDs.

Unfortunately some of these connections-interests also can keep us in our own circles-interests and networks of international tours, websites, and blogs that ignore programs and campaigns such as Take Back the Tech, Nov 25 as International Day Against Violence Against Women, or even the 16 Days Campaign (which have appeared in only one blog post in Global Voices, the larger umbrella of Rising Voices) . For an update, please see Juliana Rincón Parra's excellent post and videos on eliminating violence against women and her video blogsite, which provide other forms of communication beyond Twitter. . Some of us are too busy (and/or distracted) to keep track of news-info-events on our own communities and countries much less all the possibilities on the Internet. Or other events intervene such as media attention to the three days of violence in Mumbai & needless deaths of many or the global economic crisis, which will send even more women, children and their families into precarious situations.

Hence I encourage every one to access, read, and learn from the Take Back the Tech feeds of SMSs from around the world, use your mobile technology to connect and make a difference, continue to speak up and educate people in your various circles of family, friends, blogs, classes, and media on these issues, donate and/or volunteer to local shelters, and last but not least go to the UNIFEM campaign for signatures: --who knows the petitions just might work! [unfortunately they stopped taking signatures on 25 november!] the site collected over 500,000 signatures from around the world...

Finally, I will sign up for Twitter in the morning and as soon as I recover from my Thanksgiving and observe "Buy Nothing Day" on the day after Thanksgiving....but I am only blogging about this....well maybe I posted something on facebook...and I still don't have my Twitter account.....

P.S. I just learned about some conceptually interesting uses of Twitter, Tumblr, iPhones by sex worker networks in USA.
Regina Lynn describes how the Desiree Alliance and SWOP (regional sex worker outreach projects) in USA have used Twitter, Tumbler iphones, and Google docs to create media blitzes. The Alliance and projects have their own blogs, for example, Bound, Not Gagged. You can learn more about 17 December Day Against Violence against Sex Workers , related resources and National and Regional events on the Bound, Not Gagged and the Chicago SWOP blogs--more details on Chicago in this SWOP blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 2: in memory of Rahela-- Change what is heard, and learned

On Day 2, a hat tip to the Nari Jibon bloggers! You can read four excellent posts from Day 1 and the next generation of Bangladeshi shakti nari bloggers starting with computer teacher Taslima's post (also cross posted in Techna Tara) and three students' posts: Zannat, Tondra, and Nipa.

Today I want to give some links on Rahela--tortured, brave garment worker who died a month later from her injuries-assault in late summer 2004, but not before she named her abusers and spoke up from her gurney. Yet, Bangladeshi legal authorities did not pursue her case, allowed one main suspect to disappear into India, and "lost" evidence. Yet last fall 2007, Bangladeshi bloggers posted on her case, got another hearing in January 2008, and through demonstrations and continued coverage in newspapers (Bangla and English--New Age, Independent among others), got the authorities to pursue her case and get it rapid trial status...where it seems to be languishing in the run-up to the 28 December election (also delayed for two years).

You can read more in my friend Nadine Murshid's summary article on Rahela article in Samar May 2008 and view assorted video clips from Channel i on Rahela speaking and later Bangladesh activism:

original Youtube and see Rahela speaking from her hospital gurney:

March 2008 Updates

31st March report with Manobbondhon 2 in Srimangal/Sylhet

update in Bangla blog somewherein

Aparna Ray gives September 2008 update in Global Voices, Bangla Blogs are Keeping Rahela Alive (in English and multiple languages) [maf korben Aparna for missing this].

and join-see also Justice for Rahela cause-page in Facebook.

Hopefully 2008 will end with justice for Rahela or in 2009!

along with all the other garment worker Rahelas in the world, in Ciudad Juarez, Honduras, EPZs, among others...who are keeping their economies afloat while being disrespected, eve-teased, assaulted, raped, murdered and/or disappeared on their way to and from their factory work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Day 1: 2008 International Day Against Violence Against Women

Another year has gone by (among the many that we have been organizing against VAW) and it's Day 1 of 16 Days against Violence Against Women. I'm joining the campaign by the most excellent Take Back the Tech TBTT women and allies with their actions around the world. Please visit their multilingual website for daily actions, news and links to other actions, and resources starting with Day 1.

To begin, make sure that you have signed the UNIFEM petition "SAY NO to violence against women" to send 1 million signatures to Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. This UNIFEM site also contains valuable data and resources on various VAW issues.

Tell your friends, family, classes, or workplace about this campaign....I signed up in spring 2008 (along with spring, summer, and fall semester classes) and I'm shocked that they still did not have one million signatures last month.

If you have a web-blogpage or social networking site...grab a widget for this petition effort and also share this info with your friends.

Please commit to local and blogging action about VAW for these 16 reaching out to friends and family members, supporting local activists & shelters as well as linking to other blogsites, for example, that seeks to educate about and provide resources against VAW for people of South Asian origin in USA and their allies.

I will be blogging daily on these issues, as well as on issues on VAW in Bangladesh, which STILL does not have a specific law against domestic violence and still no justice for Rahela--garment worker tortured-murdered in fall 2004 (even though her case has been moved to a speedy trial status) and as discussed in my previous post(s) in fall 2007.

You will also be able to read more on young Bangladeshi women bloggers' thoughts and graphics on VAW on and some of their individual blogs listed on the Nari Jibon blog sidebar.

Pore kotha bolbo...(talk with you later).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Nari Jibon : a place for your Jakat or donation

Nari Jibon is an appropriate place for your Jakat or any other contribution/donation

By Golam Rabbany Sujan (Sujan's Chinta) crossposted in Bangladesh from Our View

There are many organizations that are committed to develop women or vulnerable women in the world. Some of these organizations provide money to women in the hopes of making them self-reliant. These organizations also report that those women are running business or being self reliant using their money. But we can see that often, their money is used by their husband or other male persons. But Nari Jibon does not give them current money. Nari Jibon gives skill training and makes them able to be self reliant or sometimes helps them for being self reliant. As an example Nari Jibon provides tailoring skills including business knowledge. Nari Jibon provides cloth and students make most of the items during class and internship. Students also visit some tailoring business centers. Then sometimes Nari Jibon provides some money for sewing machine and some business set up cost. Nari Jibon authority also follows up on their progress. Similarly, the other section provides computer knowledge. Students in this section will also learn how to write a standard cover letter and resume, as well as create a portfolio. She will use cyber café for practicing and visiting various web pages and blogs from where she will increase her computer and English knowledge. Every student will open an e-mail account and also students will write blogs. By the reading and writing blogs, students can increase their knowledge and skill more in English and computer programs. Thus students become fit for job.

About Nari Jibon Nari Jibon is a non-profit charitable service organization. It is working in South-Dhaka, Bangladesh since 2005. Nari Jibon provides services and support to the women students and workers of low and mid-level families. Nari Jibon provides basic educational and technical skills for employment, income-generation, empower and business development. Nari Jibon provides Bangla primary education to the illiterate women, tailoring cutting and sewing master course, English-1 and English-2 (spoken) and computers (MS Office Programs, graphics and webpage design, photography, and hardware trouble shooting and program maintenance).

Nari Jibon computer lab

Nari Jibon cyber café

David Sasaki, Director of Rising Voice teaching students about blogging

Nari Jibon English class

English volunteer teachers (Stella and Lee Goldman) are taking English-2 (Spoken English)

Difference of Nari Jibon skill training programs

1. Nari Jibon is safe place for the women

2. Nari Jibon takes only nominal registration fee for all the courses.

3. Computer students have to have English knowledge or have to learn English at Nari Jibon as it is most essential for related job.

4. Students must use Nari Jibon’s cyber café to have more practice, visiting more web sites, reading and writing blogs and learning other online activities.

5. Nari Jibon motivates students to read and write posts for blogs as it improves students’ knowledge in English and computer. If students want to continue blogging they can open individual blog sites.

6. Often students are trained by some foreigner experts besides Nari Jibon internal expert instructors.

7. All the students will write their own portfolios by themselves.

8. Scholarship students will communicate with individual donors writing thank you letters and monthly progress reports.

Why you should donate for women only.

After being married women are excluded from their parents’ wealth. If any woman becomes a widow at her young age, she is bereft from her husband’s wealth. There are many divorced women who are neglected by her parents’ family. Some male persons take more wives and so that those women are neglected by these husbands. We can see some husbands leaving their wives and hiding them. Some husbands demand dowry after marriage and torture their wives. Some husbands try to pressure their wives into the informal sector. Some low and mid-level families are not interested in spending money for their female members/daughters. And there are fewer job opportunities for the women in our country. So women need more skill training/ education scope to protect themselves and compete against male students as we know that sons get more scope for education than the daughters.So Nari Jibon can be your appropriate place for donation or Jakat. If you donate to Nari Jibon, you will be informed how your donation is spent. As an example if you donate above $10 dollars, you will get thank you letter, picture of students and progress report and successful history.

How and how much money you donate-

You can donate students’ registration course fees, Microsoft Office Program- $17 including 4 cyber passes, Graphics and Web design course $24 including 6 cyber pass cards, photography course $13, Bangla course fee-$1.50, tailoring, cutting and sewing Master Course fee-$5. (These amounts cover only the admission fees that we charge. It costs us much more to actually provide the services, so any extra amount that you can give is much appreciated.)You can provide some money as conveyance with registration fee or you can donate a sewing machine to a poor or vulnerable woman. Nari Jibon has a special scholarship program named LPC (work-study-women) program. Some women need to earn money to survive and they also need to learn skill to change their career or profession. As an example one housemaid or sex worker or poor (dropped out) student who is strong determined to change her profession but she needs to earn money to survive. If she gets LPC scholarship, she will be free to learn skills. She will learn skills and she will also take practical work experience at office. Thus LPC students will make her more fit for jobs and she will also communicate with the employers during course duration. LPC students get $ 50 dollars per month so totally she will get (50 X 4 = $200) Or you can also donate some money to continue Nari Jibon activities such as you can donate a computer or UPS (uninterrupted power supply) or one month electricity bill or rent.
Unrestricted-open ended donations of any amount also towards general costs also welcomed!
Tax deductible donation- make check out to Give2Asia, donation form (must use credit card via website and/or mail in) form available on links on Bideshi Blue site (right side) or on the link below. For more info on gift list, please visit Nari Jibon USA web site and check the link “possible gift list Nari Jibon” or communicate with Dr. Kathryn B Ward
Donors should also email Dr. Kathy Ward for gift specifics-purchase and also so that we have donor’s contact-email info.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nari Jibon Project and Its Bloggers: What Other Bloggers are Saying

Recently I returned from 45 hot (beshi garum) days in Bangladesh where I visited the Nari Jibon Project, among other activities. Loadshedding continued to take its toil on me, Nari Jibon computers, students as well as garment factories. Nonetheless students have come to their computer and english classes as well as practiced in the women only cyber cafe. During this visit, many students opened their own blogs!

Students in the computer lab.....

During this time, Nari Jibon hosted a visiting lecturer, Kira, who gave a lecture and worked with smaller groups on blogs, photography, photo websites.

In response, many students posted in the Nari Jibon english blog for the first time. Other students have continued to contributed to Nari Jibon bangla blog. Many of the bangla poems have been translated into english and posted in the english blog. Some students opened their own blogs (in English and Bangla) and some staff started blogging again...

some bloggers' photography session with Ms. Kira:
Zannat, Jannat, Afiya, Choti, Kira, Jainub's daughter, Jesmin

new! Ms. Kira's moving reflections on working with the new bloggers-photographers and leaving Nari Jibon and Bangladesh:

For overviews of these blogging activities, check out what she and others have been saying about Nari Jibon and its bloggers. Please follow the links within and read the bloggers' creative activities as they find and develop their own voices and computer-photo skills and continue to post. Your comments (kind, thoughtful, constructive) will provide much needed encouragement. Below, I list some students' and staff members' individual blogs.

new from David Sasaki's visit to Dhaka and Nari Jibon Project:

new !

Some Students’ blog addresses

Afrin's Gallery

Jesmin’s garden

Zannat's world


Bangladeshi Women


Window of Mind,

My Dream,

Choti’s blog

Staff blog addresses:

new ! Kajol's destiny

Bipa’s Prokrito Bangladesh

Sujan’s Chinta,

Creative talk by Nilufa

Kazi’s eye,

Techna Tara:

computer teachers taslima & nilufa watch kira teach about photography

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Tribal Crafts-Bangladesh

Mary Milon Chisim checks me out...

Welcome to Indigenious World of Bangladesh....The Tribal Crafts handicrafts shop

In Dhaka, my favorite place to go and shop is the The Tribal Crafts shop in Banani. At Tribal Crafts you can find many reasonable items made by indigenious and matrilineal Garo, Chakma, Santal, and Munpuri women among others and the proceeds go to directly to the women rather than as overpriced products through NGO middle people. I have bought many of my urnas (shawls), ganna (wraps), wall-hangings, and gifts from this shop. In the brochure below, you can read about many of their products and see some of them in my photos. Please visit this shop! (and Mom please send more $$)...

The shop is located at NEW ADDRESS (just adjacent to Khilket over-bridge):

Shop no.1, Rajuk Trade Centre
Nikunjo- 2, Dhaka-1229.
cel: 01716607144

Monday, June 23, 2008

bloggers meet face to face in Dhaka, Bangladesh!

Shaina, Shawn, Kathy y Kira @ Nari Jibon Project, Dhaka, June 2008

First, Rezwan (Berlin) linked to Shawn (Bangladesh). Kathy (USA-Dhaka) linked to Shawn and gave him some of her expat advise and in turn he gave a video workshop at Nari Jibon. David (todo del mundo y Rising Voices blogging grants) linked Kathy to Kira (Bangladesh, Africa, Venezuela) who gave a blogging workshop at Nari Jibon. Shaina’s dad (Florida-USA) sent Shawn’s link to Shaina (Sociology undergraduate, Florida State USA) who read about Nari Jibon in Shawn’s blog. Shaina sent an email to Kathy about volunteering at Nari Jibon in summer 2008, where she has been teaching English2 since May.

Second, in June 2008, Shaina, Shawn, Kathy, and Kira all sat together at Nari Jibon. Kira gave a Flickr workshop. You can read Shawn's thoughts and Kira's photos and thoughts on our gathering(s). Such are the intersectionalities of blogging and Dhaka.

of jackfruits, mangoes, and load-shedding

Driver Ripon and two ripe jackfruit

Bangladesh—what can I say—jackfruits, mangoes, litchees, and load-shedding. Several times per day, the power goes out at office, guesthouse, and friends’ apartments. Some have generators for fans and lights and some do not. Some computers have big battery backups and some do not. Blogging depends on local electricity as well as the connectivity to the server-provider, which may or may not have power.

These load-shedding levels are the worst that I have seen in my eight years of travel to Bangladesh and fresh mangoes do not ease my discomfort. Load-shedding is relatively new excuse for no work at the office and classes even though Bangladeshis have worked, studied, and lived for many years without electricity, computers, blogging, and such.

Poor people suffer even more during the day and at night. As one guest house staff member said, his choto chele (little baby boy) does not understand load-shedding, heat, and sweating when the baby wakes up in the night.

Load-shedding is an ongoing challenge for bideshis habituated to central air & air conditioning, nearly constant electricity, and a phone number to call when the lights-power go out. Load-shedding is an increasing challenge for some Bangladeshis and students who have tasted-experienced electricity, fans, and even some air conditioning as well as blogging. Meanwhile, their assorted governments have made some corrupted poor choices-investments in power plants-generation and failed to meet growing demands for power as well as provide stable links-submarine cable to the global net.

Below, Nari Jibon students sit and swelter in dark computer lab during 1 hour+ loadshedding....and a virtual tour of our cyber cafe, office, and computer lab during load-shedding....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pohela Baisakh--Bangla New Year

Suvo nabo borsho!

Happy Bangla New Year to Nari Jibon Project and my Bangladeshi-Bengali friends!

14 April 08

Suvo janmodin-happy birthday, Evana Kathryn

Happy birthday-suvo janmodin to my namesake e shakti choto nari, Evana Kathryn, who will be one year old on Sunday. Best wishes for her health and good luck e putuli. She is the daughter of Nari Jibon research director-blogger, Sujan and his wife, Shila, a sociology major and homemaker. I will eat cake in your honor in the USA and more later in Dhaka.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

International Women's Day 2008--Tell Your Stories

Take Back the Tech women have returned for International Women's Day and their great gifs and actions.

They urge all of us to tell our stories about our lives, experiences, and actions about violence against women, and hopefully write our own stories and code!

On this day and other days, I would like to urge you to remember the origins of International Women's Day to honor the women who died in the 1911 Triangle Shirt Waist Fire in New York City. Consider also the women in your everyday lives and their stories of survival, resistance, and perseverance in their homes, schools, work, streets as well as during disasters, wars, garment factory fires (yes they still occur often), internal displacement from ethnic & religious conflicts as well as the good times.

The Take Back The Tech women have developed printable story bands that you can print and write--"let me tell or ask me about my story"

they suggest: Write "Ask me" on the band, and invite people that you meet on International Women's Day to ask about your story. After you have shared your story, give them a band of their own, and ask them to continue telling and listening to stories with other people that they meet. You can also write your story on your band, and send us a picture. We'll put it up on the campaign website to widen the circle.

The Take Back the Tech site also has many useful tools and links for readers with assorted tech talents. Please check out this site!

Other sites and action:

Rising Voices held an International Women's Day Poetry Jam for the Rising Voices Blog Sites. Check out four selected poems from Madagascar, Bangladesh and Colombia as well as photos from Bolivia and Bangladesh.

You can read more poems from Bangladesh on the Nari Jibon blogsite(s).

For more about education and actions on gender abuse and violence against women in the South Asian community, see the Out Against Abuse blogsite.

Go to my earlier post re Southall Black Sisters --an extraordinary shelter-education program in London--and related links to read about their possible closure owing to funding cuts by local council. Please provide support and write a letter of protest.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Native Voices, WDBX, & Citizen's Media Resources

Host of "Native Voices" John Rivera interviews Kathryn Ward about blogging, Rising Voices, and Nari Jibon Project. Sandy Rosencrans photo.

From 2 March 2008, Native Voices radio program on WDBX, Carbondale, IL, USA, here are some of the discussed resources and blogsites (late night posting of a blogging amateur--check back for updates and more links).

Blogs are more simplified versions of websites, where bloggers can post their stories, thoughts, recipes, perspectives, pictures, slideshows, music, and/or videos. They can hyperlink to other blogs, stories and sources so that readers can go to these sources and other blogs. Readers can comment and respond. Many blogging platforms are 'free' such as Blogger (from Google), Word Press, and/or open source and link to photo and video sites (such as Flicker, Photobucket, Youtube, Bliptv, too. Increasingly, many languages are used in blogs. Finally readers can organize their blogs and searches through labels and tags in their own and other blogs.

Readers-bloggers can learn about updates on blogs through RSS feeds (really simple syndication) and subscribing to their favorite blogs, newspapers, and other sources through readers such as Google, Fireburner, My Yahoo, Bloglines, among others. Or they can look at what other blogs their favorite bloggers are reading-linking.

Readers can also bookmark their favorite blog posts through other sites-aggregators (more explanation soon on this) so that their friends and other can see what's being read, popular, etc.

Global Voices from their website: "Global Voices seeks to aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore. We work to develop tools, institutions and relationships that will help all voices, everywhere, to be heard."

Global Voices groups post by geographic regions and topics.

Rising Voices projects blogsite "Rising Voices aims to extend the benefits and reach of citizen media by connecting online media activists around the world and supporting their best ideas." Rising Voices blogsite gives description and reports-posts on the first five small grant blogging projects, resource guides on tools of citizen media, such as an introductory guide to citizens' media (available for download in English, Spanish, and Bangla), and expanding 'the international conversation. A new round of request for grant proposals will appear on the Rising Voices website later this summer.

The five first wave grants included Voces Bolivianas with Spanish. Aymara, and English posts-videos; participants had their own blogs, in particular, Aymara-Spanish blogger, Cristina Quisbert who also blogs at Bolivia Indigena

and Hiperbarrio (Colombia) with Spanish and English posts-videos
Nari Jibon Project blogs(Bangladesh) in English and Bangla
Neighborhood Diaries (Kolkata India), English
TBCS Think Build Change (Sierra Leone), English

Five new blogging groups include projects in Madagascar--environmentalists in English, French, and Malagasy--including their incredible video coverage of a recent hurricane (FOKO), Jamaica (Prison Diaries), Kenya (Repacted) Uruguay ( OLPC one laptop per child) Iran (in progress).


Many other blogs exist on topics of interest to Native Voice listeners. Hopefully, soon Native Voices WDBX host John Rivera will have his own blog!

The Migrant Technology Center in Cobden, IL, just came on-line with their own blog, TechnoCentro. Please check back as they add more on their activities and students' stories and photos.

This is just a small list of blogs....that I often read and use in my classes and for my own education

Native American Netroots a forum for Native American issues
Pretty Bird Woman House a women's shelter-education program at Standing Rock Reservation--this shelter burned down in 2007 and through blog stories/appeals raised $70,000+ to rebuild their shelter. See their story here and at Native American Netroots.
Migra Matters progressive immigration reform
Race Wire the blog of Colorlines magazine
Culturekitchen dissent served fresh daily
New America Media expanding news lens through ethnic media
The Unapologetic Mexican need I say more? incredible graphics-analysis
Citizen Orange prosocial justice-immigration
La Chola brown feminist power
WOC Ph.D most recently has included profiles of powerful women academics-activist of color--Asian, African-American, Native American among others.

Most newspapers have their own check the listings for your favorite newspapers, magazines, etc. as well as most social justice organizations.

Finally you can also access many radio-media sources via the web and streaming content such as WDBX 91.1, streaming url

Or favorite artists' websites/blogs, for example, John Rivera's recent guest, Robert Mirabal, Taos Pueblo or one of John's favorites, Joy Harjo Eagle