Do you know children in Palestine fly kites to prove that they are still free?
Can you imagine how that string must feel between their fingers
as they kneel in the cinders of our missile heads
I wonder what the dead in warsaw would say about the taxes we pay without thought
of funding another holocaust.
The bough is breaking.
The cradle is falling.
Right now a six-year old girl is crutched in a ditch in Lebanon
wishing on falling bombs.
Right now our government is recording the test scores of black and Latino 4th graders
to see how many prison beds will be needed in the year 2015.
Right now there’s a man on the street outside that door
with outstretched hands full of heart beats no one can hear.
He has cheeks like torn sheet music,
Every tear a broken crescendo falling on deaf ears.
At his side there’s a girl with eyes like an anthem
that no one stands up for.
Doctor, our insanity is not that we see people who aren’t there.
It’s that we ignore the ones who are.
Till we find ourselves scarred and ashamed
walking into emergency rooms at two a.m.
flooded with a pain we cannot name or explain
because we are bleeding from the outside in.
Skin is not impervious.
Cultures built on greed and war do not pick and choose who they kill.
We all fill the graves.
“Every morning I sit at the kitchen table over a tall glass of water swallowing pills. (So my hands won’t shake.) (So my heart won’t race.) (So my face won’t thaw.) (So my blood won’t mold.) (So the voices won’t scream.) (So I don’t reach for knives.) (So I keep out of the oven.) (So I eat every morsel.) (So the wine goes bitter.) (So I remember the laundry.) (So I remember to call.) (So I remember the name of each pill.) (So I remember the name of each sickness.) (So I keep my hands inside my hands.) (So the city won’t rattle.) (So I don’t weep on the bus.) (So I don’t wander the guardrail.) (So the flashbacks go quiet.) (So the insomnia sleeps.) (So I don’t jump at car horns.) (So I don’t jump at cat-calls.) (So I don’t jump a bridge.) (So I don’t twitch.) (So I don’t riot.) (So I don’t slit a strange man’s throat.)”—Jeanann Verlee, Good Girl.
we say it every year — we say why on earth do we celebrate our mothers once a year when we can honor them daily? but we don’t honor mothers daily. we continue to live in a world that guarantees the subjugation, exploitation, and desecration of the mother. we continue to live in a world which bites…
“Not everyone is okay with living like an open wound. But the thing about open wounds is that, well, you aren’t ignoring it. You’re healing; the fresh air can get to it. It’s honest. You aren’t hiding who you are. You aren’t rotting. People can give you advice on how to heal without scarring badly. But on the other hand there are some people who’ll feel uncomfortable around you. Some will even point and laugh. But we all have wounds.”—Warsan Shire
“I will forget you and if that doesn’t sound romantic, it’s because it isn’t. It’s a simple inevitability, a truth colder than the last night we spent together. Remember that night? When I woke up in the morning and felt nothing familiar, that’s when I knew it was over for good. At least, that’s what I think happened. I fill in the blanks sometimes because I’ve already begun to forget.
I remember the color of your hair, but not the color of your laugh. I remember your name, that one’s easy; I don’t remember how your parents say it in their native tongue (I forgot that one the second you told me). I remember that you exist, that we spent some of our time together for what now feels like a blip, a sneeze, a little nothing. But I forget everything else, like what brought us together and what drove us apart. And mostly everything that happened in between that.
I forget what it’s like to kiss you and what it’s like to want to. I forget what it feels like to hold your hand, if we ever even held hands, it feels like we didn’t. I forget what it’s like to trust you, to believe in you, to need you. I forget what it’s like to think that I’d never forget any of it. For a long time, I thought I never would. You and I both know you left ghosts behind, but they seem to have found someone new to haunt. Maybe it’s you.
The inside jokes have already dissolved into unordered words with no punchline. The gifts have been reduced to objects whose saving grace is their monetary value, no meaning and all function. There are photographs, somewhere, but I’m not the person posed in them anymore and whoever that is sitting next to me, all dressed up in your costume and wearing your mask, well, that’s not you either. But what do I know about who you are? I forget that part, if I ever knew it to begin with.
I won’t forget you the way I won’t forget the Blizzard of ’96 or the pain of getting a wisdom tooth removed. Like something that happened to me once and then unhappened to me and then didn’t matter anymore.
But I will forget you where it counts, like in the eyes and in the mornings and in the moments that felt and looked and tasted a lot like love. I will forget you in those places because I already have.”—Stephanie Georgopulos
The worst of all possible things that could happen would be to lose that language [that black people love so much]. There are certain things I cannot say without recourse to my language. It’s terrible to think that a child with five different present tenses comes to school to be faced with those books that are less than his own language. And then to be told things about his language, which is him, that are sometimes permanently damaging… This is a really cruel fallout of racism. I know the Standard English. I want to use it to help restore the other language, the lingua franca.
1. He ø runnin. Standard American English (SAE )= He is running.
2. He be runnin. SAE = He is usually running or He will/would be running.
3. He be steady runnin. SAE = He is usually running in an intensive, sustained manner, or He will/would be running in an intensive, sustained manner.
4. He(’s) been/bin runnin. SAE He has been running–at some earlier point, but probably not now.
Other examples: I been knowing her. SAE = I have known her.
About eleven o’clock he been eating. SAE = … he was eating.
5. He BEEN/BIN runnin’. SAE = He has been running for a long time, and still is.
-This is a use of the African American English (AAE) stressed been/remote BIN.
“…Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”—Chinua Achebe, great Nigerian author and often considered the father of modern African lit, who just passed away. Rest in Peace. (source)
“Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water.
And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes you cannot even breathe deeply, and the night sky is no home,
and you have cried yourself to sleep enough times that you are down to your last two percent, but
nothing is infinite,
not even loss.
You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day
you are going to find yourself again.”—Finn Butler
“The unfounded fear that young children will somehow become “impure” if they learn about a dirty subject like sex is deeply rooted in American culture. Our society assumes that human sexuality is dark, dangerous, and shameful — something we need to protect teens from, rather than teach them about. Teens consistently learn that it’s not okay to talk about sex because it’s supposed to be totally off-limits to them, constrained to the bounds of a traditional marriage. But this attitude has led to disastrous consequences: damaging women and LGBT Americans’ sense of sexual self-worth, fueling the STD epidemic, and creating a moral environment where rape culture has flourished.”—“Kindergartners Shouldn’t Be Taught Sex Ed” — And Other Myths Endangering America’s Youth
“Students who considered themselves socialists were not so much interested in the poor as they were desirous of leading the poor, of being their guides and saviors. It was just this paternalism toward the poor that the vision of solidarity I had learned in religious settings was meant to challenge. From a spiritual perspective, the poor were there to guide and lead the rest of us by example if not by outright action and testimony. As a student I read Marx, Gramsci, and a host of other male thinkers on the subject of class. These works provided theoretical paradigms but rarely offered tools for confronting the complexity of class in daily life. […] [W]hen I told friends and colleagues that I was resigning from my academic job to focus on writing, I was warned that I was making a dangerous mistake, that I could not possibly live on an income that was between twenty and thirty thousand dollars a year. When I pointed to the reality that families of four and more live on such an income, the response would be “that’s different”; the difference being, of course, one of class. The poor are expected to live with less and are socialized to accept less (badly made clothing, products, food, etc.), whereas the well-off are socialized to believe it is both a right and a necessity for us to have more, to have exactly what we want when we want it.”— bell hooks, where we stand: Class Matters
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And along the way, lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, during his Reddit AMA (March 01, 2012)
“why do you live in your body like you will be given another? as if it were temporary. you starve it, you let anyone touch it, you berate it. tell it that should be completely different. you tug at your soft flesh, wish it thinner, wish it gone. you fall in love with those who praise the way it sighs under their hands, but who praises the way it holds up your weight, even when you are falling apart?”—warsan shire (via warsanshire)
“Kimani Gray shot 17 times in the street. His family lost another son one year ago. Where was the help for them then? We see so many nationwide calls for counseling in white communities after violent tragedy. In New York we have communities dealing with this daily. Do you think Kimani would have been shot 17 times if he was white? Can you imagine a white 16 year old being shot 17 times. The police emptying more bullets than years alive into a boy on the street yelling he does not want to die? What is the police commissioner’s response to a councilman standing up for Kimani Gray and East Flatbush? Kelley told him if he did not like it, he should move to a white neighborhood.”—
And now the police have barred press from covering the candlelight vigil in East Flatbush, arrested at least three people and will probably get violent then claim this peaceful gathering was a riot. So done with the NYPD. How many children have to die before we start holding someone fucking accountable?
“You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.”—
- Junot Diaz (via Tatiana Richards)
oh my goodness this is beautifully relevant. humongously sad and inspiring at the same time, too
Recently released movie Zero Dark Thirty has sparked speculation and criticism amongst many circles for its particular portrayal of the use of torture (in the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden). The movie shows a captive, “Ammar,” being physically, psychologically, sexually, religiously, and culturally humiliated and tortured, specifically being struck, yelled at, deprived of sleep, food, water, and light, put in stress positions for long periods of time, placed in confined spaces, waterboarded, exposed to music torture for long periods of time, forced to be naked (in front of a female), and put on a dog leash and “walked.”
The character of “Ammar” in Zero Dark Thirty seems to be based mainly on Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani (pictured below), a (at the time of his capture) 23 year old Saudi man accused of being the 20th 9/11 hijacker.
Al-Qahtani underwent a gruesome, 49-day procedure approved by the US Government of physical, psychological, sexual, cultural, and religious torture and humiliation at the hands of the US Military and the CIA in an attempt to “make him talk.”
For 20 hours per day for 49 consecutive days, al-Qahtani was repeatedly physically assaulted, sexually molested by a female, strip searched for “control purposes” (as opposed to security purposes), denied the right to use the toilet and hence urinated and defecated on himself, strapped to a hard metal chair which caused him pain and discomfort, forcibly given an enema, forced to wear female lingerie, forced to be nude, forced to dance with his male interrogator, deprived of sleep, food, and water, exposed to bright lights for months on end, tortured with loud music for long periods of time, exposed to extreme temperatures to the point that he became hypothermic, forcibly straddled and felt up by a female interrogator, forced to watch as an interrogator squatted over a Qur’aan (as if he was defecating on it), woken up by screaming and barking of dogs and other loud noises, punished for falling asleep by having cold water poured over his head, prevented from praying, forced to eat during Ramadhaan, forced to listen to interrogators call his mother and sisters “whores” and threaten his family members, forced to pick up trash with his hands cuffed while being called a pig, repeatedly told that no one cares for him and that the rats in the island are more cared for than he is, placed in tight restraints for long periods of time, deceived into thinking that he is being held in another country, forcibly given IVs, yelled at, chained in stress positions for hours on end, hooded for hours on end, taken to a shrine to Bin Laden and told that Bin Laden was his god and he could only pray to him, forced to look at pornographic content, made to watch puppet shows of himself having sex with men, called a homosexual repeatedly, verbally abused and taunted, put on a dog collar and “taught lessons such as stay, come, and bark to elevate his social status up to that of a dog,”(p. 47), had his beard and hair forcibly shaved, had his phobia (dogs) used against him to induce stress in him, and was threatened with further torture.
Some of these techniques were also used against detainees in Abu Ghraib (relatively less graphic photos shown below):
Additionally, al-Qahtani was held in isolation for six months.
When al-Qahtani would break down into sobs of pain, anguish, despair, and/or sheer frustration, pleading his interrogators to stop torturing him, his interrogators would yell at him “to prevent him from crying in order to prevent him having an emotional release”(p. 68). On the 15th day of the 49-day long ordeal, the combined effects of isolation, sleep deprivation, music torture, extreme cold, sensory deprivation, stress positions, sexual assault and various other torture and humiliation methods proved to take their toll on al-Qahtani’s body and mind as his heart rate slowed down to 35 bpm, almost causing him brain damage. The decision was then made to rush him to the hospital in an ambulance to be revived, yet his interrogators continued to interrogate the almost unconscious detainee in the ambulance on the trip to the hospital. Throughout the ordeal, he was repeatedly driven to the brink of death and/or mental exhaustion but was always revived to bear more. The stress positions he was put in for hours on end, such as standing or being short shackled to the floor, caused him blood circulation problems and his limbs to swell. Additionally, al-Qahtani would break down and sob loudly and uncontrollably immediately after being sexually molested (on an almost daily basis), upon which his interrogators would taunt him and ask him what his mother would think of him if she could see him now (getting sexually molested). He became so mentally exhausted throughout the ordeal that he believed himself to be possessed. By the end of the ordeal, al-Qahtani’s weight had fallen from 160 pounds (72 kgs) to 100 pounds (45 kgs).
Several FBI agents who observed al-Qahtani’s treatment filed complaints that CIA and military interrogators were exposing a detainee (later identified as Mohammed al-Qahtani) in Guantanamo Bay to “abusive and illegal behaviour”. Released in an FBI memo, the complaints of the agents included, “… Detainee chained hand and foot in a foetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water… urinated and defecated on himself… had been left there for 18 hours or more,” “… The air conditioning had been turned down so far… that the barefooted detainee was shaking with the cold,” “… the A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out through the night.”
Al-Qahtani has retracted all of the statements he made under torture, claiming that the intense torture he underwent made him lie. His lawyer Gitanjali S. Gutierrez stated that “al-Qahtani today appears to be a broken man, fearful and at times disoriented — someone who has painfully described how he could not endure the months of isolation, torture and abuse, during which he was nearly killed, before making false statements to please his interrogators.” Scott Horton explains this in Taxi To The Dark Side: “Someone who is tortured will tell his interrogator what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear” in order to make them stop the torture.
The convening legal authority of the Guantanamo military commissions, Susan J. Crawford, decided to dismiss all charges against al-Qahtani after reviewing his interrogation log and concluding that he had indeed been tortured. Al Qahtani’s defence team as well as several Pentagon officials and military interrogators believe that the torture he underwent at the hands of the United States prevents “him from ever being put on trial” and prosecuted.
The movie propagates the necessity of torture and is bound to influence its viewers to adopt this view. Emily Bazelon’s article concerning the movie seems to confirm this, as she claims,
“At the end of the interrogation scenes, I felt shaken but not morally repulsed, because the movie had successfully led me to adopt, if only temporarily, [the CIA agent]’s point of view: This treatment is a legitimate way of securing information vital to US interests.”
This type of portrayal in movies and shows has built “a constituency for torture” which allows the US Government to constantly and repeatedly “get away with the way it twists laws, and treaties (concerning torture) and doesn’t spark popular outrage,” as explained by Professor Alfred McCoy in Taxi To The Dark Side.
The problem with Zero Dark Thirty is hence not with portraying the torture of detainees, as to do otherwise would be to sugarcoat and downplay the use of torture by the United States, but with glorifying torture and propagating it as a necessity (for the security of the United States).
Mohammed al-Qahtani is currently being held in Guantanamo Bay with no official charges pressed against him for an 11th year of detainment (without charge).
yeah my mom just came home and said she saw this and i gave her a blank stare I know it’s not a documentary and it’s about killing Osama, I knew something disgusting was going to come out of it.
I’m absolutely sick to my stomach right now.
Please read the whole post. Disgusting. Fuck Hollywood. Fuck the CIA and fuck the U.S government.