Tag Archive for writers resist

OTHER

by Drue BeDo

Hunkering, the inward coil wraps self into self. Ribs hug soul. Notice how, even as the air grows thin, concentrated breathing becomes the language of hope. We’ve been here so many times before. Snakes draw in before they strike. It’s how precision is crafted. Something sharp forms from such compression, yields the gift of alchemy so strong and focused that sidewalks tremble, each weed pushing slow and steady upward. We will defy the force of gravity. And there is such gravity! Our bones are shouting. So listen up: We are the earthquake. We are the tsunami. We are the natural disaster. Call us Hurricane Other. Track the magnitude of our genderfull, agefull, racefull oscillations on the richter scale of seismic transformation. Change is what’s coiling, what’s roiling, what’s calling. Fire and flood; we are the apocalypse. We are hauling our fifty-pound mattresses across unsafe campuses, incinerating the secret sanctified rulebooks of certain tenured professors, politicians, perpetrators whose lip service to social justice in the hallowed halls of white washed wishes and overpriced academe have now pawed one too many pussy. We are toppling the gargoyles, smashing them open in the commons of commonplace. We are airing the deadly laundry. We are standing in the streets, taking up space, exposing the playbooks. We are not singing and placing hands over pounding hearts, we are coiling (not recoiling!) on one knee, finding new notes, creating new scales, hear the hum of a revolution. Listen up pervasive persistent patriarchy! Feel the muscles attached to our thrumming bones; deep in our marrows new oxygen pulses. With air comes intensity. Feel the heat! Pogge, Cosby, Turner, Tag, Freeman, Simpson, Stockley, Pistorius, Wilson, Brantley, Ogawa, Taylor, Souza, Carruth, Danton. We are pushing, pulsing, pushing, pulsing. Pleading is no longer in our lexicon. Listen up! Our bones have grown weary of alleged, pending, questionable, unresolved, vague, purported, unproven, unsubstantiated. We are pushing. Sidewalks crack in every direction, miles and miles and miles. We are Other, Mother, Monster, Moving, Rising, Coiling, Roiling. We are Hill, King, Sanders, Ono, Sulkowicz, Lopez Aguilar, Carson, Kaepernick Union, Davis, Joyner, Graham, Smith, Oliver, Grandin, Hurston, Warren, Angelou, Levy, Tempest…. Yes, feel the tempest!

Other, Mother, Monster, Moving, Rising, Coiling, Roiling.

 

Author’s Bio:  Drue BeDo wields a small but powerful fist of words. Trained as an actor at Columbia University, she is first and foremost a playwright — published with Playscripts.com. In 2003, her adaptation of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was performed all over the globe as part of a theatrical act of dissent against, then, President GW Bush’s decision to bomb Iraq. BeDo is currently working on a memoir, and privately coaching writers how to enliven their readings of prose and poetry.

 

 

Resisting in Spain

by Karuna Tzadi Arnold

Helena and Karuna age eleven, played soccer with the boys in their school. But the boys would not let other girls play, as they did not think they were good enough.

The girls complained to their teacher Esther and she decided to have a debate in class.

“Today we are going to discuss the way the fields are divided as the girls do not feel it is fair. The boys have four different ones and the girls have none. What does everyone think?

“The girls don’t know how to play boy games, so why should they have access to the fields?” Miguel said.

“If you’d let the girls play, they would learn,” Helena said.

“It’s always been this way; the girls play other games,” Santi said.

“Maybe it worked for other girls, but we want to play soccer, volleyball and basketball,” Estela said.

“We are the boys and we decide. In my house, the man decides,” Juan said.

“Well, there is no man in my house and my mother decides, so your logic does not apply to me,” Karuna said.

“We live in Spain, and that’s the way it is,” Antonio said.

All the girls voted in favor, so the teacher made a schedule to divide the fields.

On the first day, the girls played soccer the boys began interfering in their game. Making fun of them, kicking the ball and laughing. Helena and Karuna got into a rage and started grabbing boys by their t-shirts and throwing them off the field. Helena was the tallest and strongest in their class even amongst the boys, but they were surprised by Karuna’s strength as she was skinny looking, but due to all the bike riding, climbing trees and fighting with her brother Arcadio, she was stronger than she looked. Their friends Guillermina, Carmen, Estela, Carol, Veronica, Lali, Noelia and Ava started to throw the boys off as well. They got into pulling hair and scratching faces and finally a teacher came to send them all off to the head mistress’s office.

Maria, the headmistress, sat quietly with her short hair and asked the children to explain what had happened. They explained about the debate and what had been decided. She finally looked at the boys and said, “It only seems fair that the girls get to play in all the fields as well. Let’s try it for a month and as long as they are using the fields we will keep to the schedule.  Ok?”

“Okay” they all said. Maria was stern, but fair and everyone respected her.

From that day on the girls played in one of the fields every day and the boys respected the schedule. One day Melchior, Karuna’s brother who later became a professional soccer player, suggested they do an official match with two girl teams. With him as referee, they all met one morning on a Saturday in San Vicente and the first girls’ soccer match in the North of the Island was played in the year of 1986. They later played one more in San Jose in the South of the Island, as there were two girls teams there.

That winter Nick Arnold, Karuna’s grandfather sent her a poem about how brave and how fair she had been. It surprised her, as she had not thought it was such a big deal, she was just reacting to a situation that she thought was unfair, but through his eyes she saw her own brilliance.

Twenty years later Karuna walked down to the school in San Juan and saw the girls playing soccer. She asked them if they had always played and they said yes, they had begun playing in kindergarten. They now had teams and played against other teams. Tears came to her eyes, as she acknowledged how much had changed, not only in soccer, but in all areas of women’s life.

Spain continues to be a very sexist country, but there is more equality than ever before. The small efforts we make in our daily life towards fairness, can help the following generations. We may feel our power is small compared to others, but when we find allies, we can resist and change anything.

Author’s Bio:  

Karuna Tzadi Arnold began writing in Ibiza, Spain, when she was nine years old. Since then she has written in many different countries and currently lives in a small village in Extremadura, Spain, with her husband Lorenzo and their twin 3 year old boys, Miles and Rio. She enjoys her morning walks in nature and inventing stories for her children.

She looks forward to her boys beginning school in September, so she can have more time for her different writing projects; a couple children’s books, a blog and working on an historical novel  “Rosannah”, which takes place in the 1770’s in Pennsylvania and in Wales. She also enjoys writing in Spanish and has spent this year entering writing competitions in Spain and South America. In January two of her short stories “Otra Etapa” and “Blind George,” were published on an online journal www.escritores-en-red.es

 

When a Word Goes to War

by Jean Waight

Remember the so-called War on Christmas—just another snit by Fox News, right?

In the wake of last year’s presidential election results, we—secular and religious progressives, liberals, centrists, and presumably, a good many conservatives—have looked far and wide, and at ourselves, to explain the election. But I think we would do well to take a closer look at this old skirmish, and consider how a word can be used to steer debate and also have non-rational effects—in a long game. The so-called War on Christmas was not a controversy so much as a step in a call to arms, and it looks to me like the rest of us unwittingly aided their cause.

How? We took the bait. We took up what we thought was the issue—religious freedom—thinking we could argue it civilly. Our mistake. It was not really about whether it was better to use the greeting “Happy Holidays” rather than reflexively saying “Merry Christmas,” which actually was, as an issue, pretty easy to resolve. Our other mistake was thinking: This, Too, Shall Pass. But this was not an isolated squabble. And it only seemed to pass.

Strategic use of the word “war”

If the stated issue wasn’t the real issue, and we made a mistake discussing it, (or ignoring it) then what else could we have done?

Our big mistake was in accepting Neo-conservative terms for the discussion—accepting that this disagreement could properly be called WAR. You don’t remember accepting those terms? Me neither. But by not calling a halt to the discussion until we could clear up this meta issue, we gave them the win in that skirmish, with lasting damage.

I checked definitions. After finding in my old 1941 Webster’s a heavy emphasis on massive armed conflicts, I turned to my newer dictionary, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate, tenth edition, 1993. Almost sixty years later, usage has relaxed a bit.

1.  a. A state of usually open and declared armed hostile conflict between states or nations

b. A period of such armed conflict

2. a. A state of hostility, conflict, or antagonism

b. A struggle or competition between opposing forces or for a particular end (such as a class war or war against disease.)

Although the dictionaries allow the use of the word “war” for major struggles that are below the level of armed conflict between nations, the use of the word in a simple debate or disagreement is definitely pushing the envelope. What else does it do besides push boundaries on meaning? Unacknowledged are the word’s unspoken connotations and its conjuring of awful history. In wars between nations, what comes with the territory? Jettisoned quickly are truth, ethics, honesty, fair dealings, even listening. Emotions rise to a pitch. Horror, cruelty, and an all-in mentality result. Is that basket of sadness what we want brought to a mere disagreement?

The Neocon long game

The strategy and fruits of the Neocons’ long game are clear now. First, they accused the left of waging war. Not of insensitivity or other wrong, but war. In this age of trash talk and hyperbole, we rolled our eyes and let it pass. Now look what that did for the Neocons. With our acceptance of this hyperbole, they could avoid any clear light shining on that deeply anti-democratic piece of fire-bombing. “Anti-democratic” because it paints simple disagreement as the mark of a war enemy.

To use such a loaded word in political discourse, without objection from us, allowed the war idea with all its emotions to seep into the minds of the ever-hardening supporters of the Neocons, who could conclude that they were the innocent victims of almost deadly hostility. Thereafter, the Neocons didn’t need to continue to use the word “war.” They could instead go on to dog-whistle politics on issue after issue.

Of course there was always more to this strategy than choice of a word. Anger had already been stoked and steered in other ways. But now they had a growing army and it was underground. Carefully insulated from any voices but their own. Brilliant, I have to admit. In the worst way.

My gratitude to Marian Exall for her insightful comments on an earlier draft.

Author Bio:   Jean Waight is a Bellingham memoir and essay writer. Her work has appeared in the Red Wheelbarrow Writers anthology “Memory into Memoir,” in Cirque: A Literary Journal for the North Pacific Rim, and in Whatcom Watch. She blogs on GreenTeaSympathy.blogspot.com.

Nevertheless, She Persisted

by Sara Stamey

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” Mitch McConnell said after invoking an obscure, antiquated rule to silence Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor.

“Bullshit!” I responded when I heard what he’d done. I was angry, and taking it personally. Then I asked myself why, and realized that it WAS personal—to all women and girls. This is what I grew up hearing:

“Be nice, be ladylike. Don’t talk back.”

“You’re being impudent.”

If I spoke up against unfairness, I was punished, and I learned to silence myself, like so many women around the world. It was a long road for me before I realized that the persistence of the old “power-over” models, perpetuated by patriarchy (our dysfunctional U.S. Congress, anyone?), depends on silencing powerful and thus threatening-to-the-old-order women. Why has my right-wing father hated and excoriated Hillary Clinton since her First Lady days?

My Resistance to tyrannical authority began with the stories and novels I write, in which plucky women freely speak their minds despite the dangers of doing so. In my early science fiction novel Wild Card Run, a young woman escapes her abusive stepfather and repressive homeworld in which women are required to stay in the home and denied the freedoms given to men. She lands on an anything-goes asteroid called Casino, only to discover that even there her outspokenness may result in punishment with the “Steps of Healing,” which would erase her memories and rebellious personality. She would literally be silenced.

I considered the novel allegorical, not literal, in regard to women’s rights. During my youth, the feminist movement had made great strides in gaining rights for women, and I had worked among men in industry. Of course, I had to go through hazing and working harder than the men to “earn” my right to be accepted on the work crews, but I prided myself on being tough and able to take it.

Then I moved to fairly remote Southern Chile, where my former husband and I had bought land to start a farm. I was startled to realize that in this rural area, women stayed in the home while men had the freedom to go out partying and do what they wished. I was never addressed by my name, but was merely “la senora,” an attachment of my husband. A Chilean woman needed her husband’s permission to open a bank account or do many of the things I had taken for granted in the States.

We started building a house, hiring local workers to help with various tasks. When my husband fell ill with a lingering malady, I had to take up the reins to finish the house, and I discovered that the workmen would not take instructions from me, a mere woman. I had to get my husband out of bed and prop him up in the doorway, where he could repeat my instructions. When the house was finished, we planned a traditional “roof raising” celebration with the local families and issued invitations. Only the men attended, as the women were not allowed to come.

In Santiago and other South American cities, where the culture is more progressive, women engage in business and enjoy much more freedom, though still limited by restrictive laws. Even they must watch their step in the more “traditional” communities, as a Chilean friend told me. She and her husband had a summer cottage near our land, and she reported that when she had asserted her authority to instruct a male worker on their boat, he had deliberately tried to injure her with a dangerous “accident.”

In my travels around the world, I have seen that the ancient angers and fears of women still prevail in many cultures, where horrors such as stoning and mutilation persist. But I had thought we were moving past those in the U.S., especially during the Obama administration, with its embracing of women, minorities, all genders and lifestyles. The harsh reality of the oppressive new administration has been a slap in the face to so many of us, including the strong women in Congress.

When I learned of the silencing of Elizabeth Warren—temporary, thanks to her power and persistence—I realized that Resistance must move beyond storytelling, as vital as it is to our culture and community soul. I am making the effort to speak out personally and confront the outmoded, oppressive social model that the current regime is seeking to reinstate. I’m arming myself with facts to counter people who spout “alternative facts” that support the new tyranny in our country. I hope I will have the courage to take physical action if necessary to hold the line and protect our civil rights.

I recommend a short, pithy book, On Tyranny, by Dr. Timothy Snyder, Professor of History at Yale University. An expert on the Holocaust and recent European history, Snyder lays out clear parallels between the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Putin, and others, and the tactics of so-called president as orchestrated by neo-Nazi advisor Steve Bannon. Snyder suggests ways to recognize and oppose efforts to erode our rights, especially vital to women and minorities.

So I join the groundswell and raise my voice against the many forms of tyranny, overt and insidious: “Resist!”

Author’s Bio: 

Award-winning novelist Sara Stamey’s journeys include treasure hunting and teaching scuba in the Caribbean, backpacking worldwide, operating a nuclear reactor, and owning a farm in Southern Chile. She taught creative writing at Western Washington University and shares her creekside land with wild creatures and her cats, dog, and paleontologist husband Thor Hansen.

Sara’s science fiction novels with Berkley/Ace received praise from Publishers Weekly and made the Locus Best New Novelists list. Her Caribbean psychic suspense novel ISLANDS—“A stomping, vivid ride” (Statesman Review)—won the Chanticleer Paranormal Suspense Award and Hollywood Book Festival Genre Award. Her near-future Greek islands thriller THE ARIADNE CONNECTION won the Cygnus Award for speculative fiction. “A rocket-paced thrill ride that delivers complex, engaging characters in a laser-sharp plot.”   (Chanticleer Reviews) www.sarastamey.com

Sara’s story “Reset” is included in the multi-genre collection Nevertheless, She Persisted, to be released August 8 by Book View Café publishing.

Here is the Amazon pre-order link for Nevertheless She Persisted

Sara’s Amazon author page  

RESIST, PERSIST, EXIST

by Matt Thuney

We human beings are a cooperative species by nature. We have to be in order to survive. We come together for protection. We come together for growth. We come together to make our lives better. If we don’t come together, we fall apart. When human beings fall apart, civilization fails.

There is a myth that has gained increasing popularity here in America: it’s the myth of the “rugged individualist.” According to this myth, rugged individualists built this country. Lone entrepreneurs moved it forward. Only strong, independent leaders can keep us on the path to…to what? Going it alone as a nation? Ignoring or subduing the rest of the world?

It’s all a lie. “Rugged individualists” did not build this country; refugees and dreamers did that. They did it together, by working together to build towns, villages, cities, states, and finally an entire nation created from a vast patchwork quilt of heritages, beliefs, and visions for the future.

Yes, individuals can imagine and create amazing things. But it takes more than a single person to translate those amazing things into reality. And imaginative individuals do not arise mysteriously out of the ether and develop their capabilities single-handedly. They come from families, grow up in neighborhoods, learn from those around them. Whether they battle their environment or are nourished by it, they are the product of human interaction. And these individuals always receive help somewhere along the way. A piece of advice, a life lesson, someone’s garage to work in. There is no such thing as a self-made man. Man, woman, or child, we are all in this together. Together we achieve; apart we abate.

But it’s a jungle out there, right? An every-man-for-himself, dog-eat-dog world?

Another lie. Exactly how long do you think a rugged individualist would survive alone in the jungle? What kind of life would that be? No man, woman, or child can stand alone for long. And what do you get with a dog-eat-dog world? A bunch of half-eaten dogs. Animals run in packs for a reason. Humans do, too. For one thing, it makes life easier. For another, if you have a big enough pack working together toward a common goal, you can make life better, both for you and your pups.

Individuality is indeed one of the great beauties of being human. Here in America, we especially prize it, and rightly so. By celebrating individuality, we celebrate diversity; and diversity is the key to our survival. Monocultures don’t tend to last long. Being so uniform, they lack adaptability and do not hold up well against changes and challenges. When it comes to survival, conformity is not a good thing.

That is the conundrum our nation has always faced: Celebrating the individual while working together. That’s what truly makes America great: Our ability to hold that paradox in our hearts and minds and to move forward toward a better tomorrow for ourselves and our children and all the generations to come.

But there are boogeymen out there! People who don’t look like me, people who don’t think like me, people who want to control me…The Government!

A big lie, and one that now threatens to tear our country apart. Oh yes, Americans are most definitely diverse in appearance and thought. That is our strength. That is what propels us forward and brings out our unique creativity as a culture. And The Government? We are The Government! It’s not some monolithic, menacing monster that’s out to get us. We elect our representatives. If they fail to do their job, that’s our responsibility.

Responsibility. There’s a word that’s lost its way. Yes, we the people are the government. We can provide for the common good if we truly want it. If our elected representatives are acting irresponsibly, then that’s on us. We can change that. We can make it so that governmental officials respond to our wants and needs, not those of their wealthy donors. Right now, it sure seems like many of our representatives are bought and paid for by individuals who want only what’s best for them. We can change that, too. The Government is not the boogeyman. We, through inattention and falling for those lies, have become our own monsters.

We must resist the lies that lead us to believe we can only trust ourselves, that our self-interests are paramount, that we know what’s best and the rest of the community be damned. Paradoxically, this often-heard complaint is the most self-destructive command in the English language: “Just leave me alone.” You are not alone. You may try to be a “loner,” but you are never alone. Alone is a place where souls go to die.

Resist the lie that someone’s out to get us. Let’s not blame our neighbors, the terrorists, the government. Fear is the enemy. Division is the enemy. Exclusion is the enemy.

We came from all over the world (yes, even the “indigenous” peoples), willingly or not, to create this nation together and to live our diverse lives in harmony and with dignity and imagination.

We must not let this dream that is America die.

Resist the lies. Persist in the truth. Exist together.

Author’s bio: 

For the past 30 years Matthew has been scribbling humor and human-interest pieces and crafting political blogs for consumption in the Pacific Northwest.
Matthew has always been a student and seeker. Early on, it looked as though his path would lead to the Episcopal ministry. Luckily for the Episcopal Church, that path turned into a 40-year detour.

But everything started falling into place when Matthew and his wife moved to the hinterlands of northwest Washington. Lo and behold, he rediscovered his journalistic muse, reporting on his bumbling attempts to adapt to country living; He rediscovered his radio voice when a small band of crazed volunteers fired up a community radio station; and he rediscovered his spiritual roots as new friends and neighbors approached Matthew to give eulogies and even preside over the marriages of loved ones.
Who’da thunk it?

Certainly not his long-suffering spouse Donna, who thankfully remains at his side. Nor their puzzled families, who long ago gave up trying to figure Matthew out. Nor their two-and-a-half cats, who are always giving him quizzical looks.

 

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