Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 16: Human Rights Day

Today has been International Human Rights Day and the last day of Take Back the Tech.

This past week, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton gave an extraordinary address on how gay, lesbian (bisexual, transgender) rights now constituted human rights benchmarks for the United States and its interactions-assessments of other countries.

for video link:

for article-video-link to her speech transcript:

Now if we can continue to make progress on these and other human rights to lives free from violence & war and filled with respect, good water, food, relationships, and peace!

For more ongoing actions and ideas, see

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 3 Be Safe-Secure/Day 4: Ms- Represent and Challenge Stereotypes

Safe Passwords and be Secure

Protect and vary your passwords (and keep track of them!). Also never share your passwords with others out of love or as a sign of trust relationship or manipulation...they can access your accounts and put you and your friends in danger! Ms-Represent and Challenge Stereotypes

Challenge the stereotypes in media and watch a video of a tribal Pakistani womn
from the Sind province....Sakina...who tells her stories...and shows the strength and wisdom of women in all kinds of reflected in the 16 videos for 16 days of activism by MediaVoicePakistan

Saturday, November 26, 2011

State sponsored violence & whose culture?

State sponsored gender violence--often overt & covert--occurs all too often in all of our cultures, especially in response to women's resistance and presence in actions that challenge the state.

Some times women take their actions to their own blogs as in the case of Eypgt's naked blogger, Aliaa Mahdy, who posted her nude photo as protest against the cultural hypocrisy of military, police and/or militia who had forced women activists to remove their headscarves and conducted "hymen" virginity checks.

On 18 Nov 11 Egyptian American journalist noted that

...."others did not receive such attention. Samira Ibrahim, the only one of the women subjected to "virginity tests" who is taking the military to court for sexual assault, has neither a dedicated hashtag nor notoriety. Another woman, Salwa el-Husseini, was the first to reveal what the military did to them, but news reports have said she can't raise a lawsuit because she doesn't have identification papers.

Not only did el-Husseini speak out, she courageously agreed to be filmed at a session of testimonies on military abuses. Again, hardly anyone knows her name, her recorded testimony isn't racking up page views, and she was called a liar and vilified for speaking out. Both women have vehemently maintained they were virgins.

If "good girls" in headscarves who kept their legs together only to be violated by the military speak out and no one listens, what's the message being sent? When the military justified its violations by saying "those girls aren't like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square", what's the message?"

Ironically or in retaliatation for this story?, on this past Wednesday night (23 N0v) Egyptian Central Security Forces arrested journalist Eltahawy on a Cairo street, interrogated and sexually assaulted her resulting in broken left arm/right wrist among other injuries. The military forces have apologized for the CSF's actions although working as journalists remains risky in Egypt and other revolutionary-conflict situations.

See Eltahawy's more recent interview & video with Democracy Now on her experiences, sexual assault on women activists and more. She now has casts on both arms although her voice remains strong. The Women's Media Center describes even more violence against women reporters in Egypt.

Whose culture(s) condone such actions against women who resist, post, and/or report? Those courageous women including journalists who do report through "official" or informal channels often face scorn, retaliation and competing social media site pages. These pages contest their accounts (including their assailants who rationalize their abuse!) even though the women, police, and others have brought cases on their behalf. Or the state fails to follow their own law and prosecute their cases.

Speak up and support these brave women who chose different paths of resisting authority!

some vegan thoughts on food: eating and repurposing

Thanksgiving Day in USA generates much food, recipes, and media on how to prepare, store, and transform leftovers into additional meals especially turkeys and meat-based dishes. As a vegan or plant-based person, I have posted many vegan recipes to friends and on Facebook in not so subtle hints on foods to prepare for gatherings where vegans and vegetarians might be present.

Friends at one gathering got the hints, made vegan dressing and mashed potatoes, among other dishes. I brought this sweet potato dish and a big green salad. My friends served a generous plate of the holiday foods that I mixed with two bowls of salad.

Now I faced a dilemma of what to do with the take home foods from the gathering and especially two issues of my ongoing diet and food waste. I have adopted a vegan diet to deal with blood-sugar and metabolic syndrome issues, which meant more consumption of whole foods and complex carbohydrates. I still ate occasional vegan desserts. Recently I have adjusted my vegan diet to eat more nutrient dense salads, vegetables and fruits, including beans, tofu and fewer starches according the ideas of the Eat to Live system. I have been losing weight and my blood sugar has come down/stabilized except during a recent faculty strike when I made mini-mocha muffins for those on the picket line (quality control...must taste).

Now what to do with the take home foods that mostly resided outside of this nutrient dense system? Blood sugar registered higher than usual this a.m. and I felt rather sluggish after dinner. Today, I worked in getting my gardens ready for winter and did some yoga. Tonight, I put some of the sweet potatoes in a pot of chili with beans-greens. I perused my slow-cooker cookbooks for other ideas for how to handle my leftovers from the gathering. Mix with leafy green and other veggies? Make a nutrient-intense shepherd's pie? Or combine sweet potatoes and dressing with vegan sausage? Share the leftovers with hungry graduate students?

According to the Nourishing the Planet, food waste in production (40%) and consumption (30%) hinder efforts to curb food inequities and hunger around the world! Think Progress's "10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays" has some valuable ideas on reducing waste in cooking, planning, storing, composting, and even recovering-recycling foods-gifts. Some salient tips especially for leftovers: first, plan to cook-consume less and self-serve on smaller plates. I am looking for recipes that incorporate/save my leftovers with my diet. Second, I can share my bounty with others on this occasion as well as when I make a big pot of soup-slow cooker. Third, compost! I can easily compost all my vegan gleanings/scraps and foods and the resulting compost nourishes my raised beds-gardens. Ideally, I can plan ahead for buying, cooking, and consuming. For those of us who buy shares in C.S.A.s (consumer supported agriculture) and/or have gardens, we often have more veggies than we can use. These can be preserved/shared/donated to local shelters, food pantries, and friends-graduate students. I've even shared some veggies with my classes.

Alas we may have overly ambitious plans for produce bought in local farmers' market and some of the same hints apply. Today is the last day for the local Carbondale IL Farmers' Market (until 1 April) and I need to stock up on assorted squashes and sweet potatoes for winter dishes. I have bought a winter share in Hollow Pumpkin CSA and can place online orders for greens and other winter veggies from Green Ridge farm. Hence, the ongoing cycle of buying, using, re-purposing, and composting continues, while we peruse the seed catalogues and plan for the spring gardening in the Cobden Community Garden and another share from Clear Creek CSA....

Friday, November 25, 2011

25 Nov International Day Against Violence Against Women

Once again, 16 days against violence against women by Take Back the Tech, and please undertake one action per day to fight violence against women, children, and men.

This program starts on 25 Nov, which is the international day against violence against women, marked by many events and processions, even in Rangpur, Bangladesh. Unfortunately, this day receives little attention in the usa owing to the sad timing of post Thanksgiving shopping day;. However, many of us refused to buy into the consumer hype and observed "Buy Nothing Day" or "Boycotting Black Friday (sic)".

For a roundup of usa and international events, see this Ms. blog post and the Take Back the Tech site or #TakeBackTheTech, which is mapping events and actions. Many of us have taught, posted and protested against the ongoing violence against women in military, revolutionary, and resistance scenarios such as Arab Spring, USA military in Iraq & Afghanistan, reiterating that gender matters every day and especially on these sixteen days of action.

In my blog posts over time, I have noted the absence of any laws against domestic violence in Bangladesh. Some of us thought this had changed at the end of last year. The Bangladesh government finally framed " The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2010", which became law 30 Dec 10. Yet nearly one year later, the government has yet to generate the rules for enforcement and no woman can file a case for domestic violence! Meanwhile, women continue to be abused, injured, and murdered by their family members and near & dear ones among others. Hence, the ongoing need for effective laws and enforcement in Bangladesh as well as change in minds, cultures, and behaviors on these issues in all countries-settings.

As Day 2 argues, "Violence is not our culture! Change it!" identify spaces such as Facebook pages, news media, or other social media that promote violence against women and protest! Or identify progressive spaces and practices!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day: 8 Seek Our Solutions/Make Our Own Headlines

Today focuses on acts of empowerment & solutions by and for women and generating our own media. This can occur through social media, twitter (I'm still not tweeting), blogs, zines, and other retro formats such as newspapers.

From TTBT:

"Search for creative, innovative, groundbreaking initiatives taking place near you, and let the world know. Share it as a tweet to @takebackthetech and let's create our own Twitter paper on Take it offline and share it with the editors from your local newspaper."

See today's activities for a creative media list to get stories and messages across to our groups as well as larger groups, such as:

1) search local, national, and global media on issues important to you, solutions, and then share via tweet #takebackthetech

2) write politicians and newsmedia again and again. use the monthly reminder service given in the actions for this day

3) make your own headlines on these issues and solutions through tweets or a tweet newspaper aggregator as discussed in the actions

My own suggestion....share this TBTT day-link (and others) with all the media people that you have friended on facebook and other networks. This can bring local, national, and international attention to causes, issues, and solutions.

My recent favorite headline comes c/o The Daily Star in Bangladesh, 30 Nov 2010.

Youth held for nuisance on Facebook

A young engineer was arrested yesterday for harassing a female university student on the social networking site Facebook.

Arrested Aleem Uddin, 28, an assistant engineer of Western Marine Shipyard in Chittagong, hails from Noakhali.

Police said Aleem had opened a fake account of the victim, whom he termed his former girlfriend, on the networking site two months back.

He started posting indecent pictures and abusive words using the profile.

Getting verbal complaints from the victim a few days back, Kotwali police started tracing the fake account and other accounts of Aleem and his friends on the Facebook. The crime busters found the allegations to be true.

On receiving a written complaint from the victim on Sunday, a team from Kotwali Police Station raided Lalkhan Bazar crossing in the port city and arrested Aleem yesterday around 1:00am.

The girl, a Chittagong University student, filed a case with Kotwali Police Station accusing Aleem under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act and ICT Act yesterday morning...

go to original article to read more

Well done for the Chittagong female student who filed the complaint and for the arrest by the police. I hope that justice will be served in this case and that the Daily Star will follow up on what happens with this case....a failing of Bangladeshi and other media that only report sensational news with little or no coverage over time.

We need more attention to such solutions for mis-use of social media such as harassment, stalking, posting false info-photos as well as courageous people who stand up against such behaviors and bullying.

Day 7: World Aids Day--

Today, I have reposted my Mr. Bunny picture and post from 1 Dec 2007. The clever (chalak) Mr. Bunny starred in a safe sex poster that I made for sex workers and others when no human male person would hold a condom. For the bangla translation and story about safe sex in Bangladesh, read the post! I'm sure that Mr. Bunny has continued his dushto ways with his abba Mr. Ripon.

And as I tell my students, "no glove, no love"!