Wednesday, April 28, 2010

UC San Diego : President Says NO to Divestment

Utsav Gupta gets it. I hope our ASUC does the right thing tonight, as well.

UC San Diego, LA JOLLA, CA 92093-0077

It is not often that a student association has an opportunity to consider legislation and take a stand on issues of national and international import. As an Association, we have passed resolutions to promote what we believe and hope will make a better world. We have taken stances against sweat shop labor, unfair trade practices, and violations of civil rights. We aspire not only to be students in support of the progress of our own nation, but to also be global citizens who answer the call for aid. It is a basic civic duty awarded to us as a representative government, and one that is codified in our Constitution.

However, these past few days, I have watched as our campus climate has gotten worse. I have witnessed the creation of two competing groups and camps around a singular contentious issue: the consideration of a resolution at our ASUCSD Council meeting today. In many ways, I am watching history repeat itself.

Last year, when a resolution was proposed concerning the conflict in Gaza, two student groups came to several ASUCSD Council meetings, passionately defending and advocating for their world point-of-view their perspective on an issue that even our best international leaders have yet to successfully resolve.

Some of these students believed they were compelled to come to this meeting to defend a country they hold dear. Others came to the meeting advocating for peace and human rights, hoping to lead the Association towards what they argued was progress. What is tragic is that both groups were correct, incorrect, misinformed, and made some good and bad points. The issue was a complicated one, something that the ASUCSD Council was obviously ill-equipped to solve.

Now that a year has passed, we are still ill-equipped to resolve this issue. Consideration of this resolution today will only prove again for us one thing: that it is divisive. It is dividing our students, pitting groups against each other who are fighting to be represented by their student association. They should not have
to fight for the voice of our Association. We could not call any resolution approved through this process representative of the students at our university. And thus, I do not believe our student association can or should take a stance on this resolution.

I am not here to choose or argue sides. For me, the most important consideration is the welfare of the student body at the University. Passage of this legislation will create a divide that violates the goals and purposes of our Association. To this end, I will be voting against the passage of this resolution. I urge my colleagues to do the same.

I am truly proud to be a part of the extraordinary institution that is UC San Diego. The University has given us these words to live by: Local Impact, National Influence, and Global Reach. Issues such as these prove that, as a student body, we are strong and passionate. Despite what happens in our Council tonight, remember that, together, we are Tritons, and that we will continue to make an impact wherever we go.

Sincerely yours,

President, Associated Students
University of California, San Diego

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I feel the earth move under my feet, I feel the sky come tumbling down

Recently, an Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi blamed the spate of earthquakes on women's scandalous behavior.

Now women are being urged to put that theory to the test by donning low cut tops and short shorts on Monday April 26 to see if they can spark a tremor.

The campaign to trigger a 'Boobquake' was begun by American student Jennifer McCreight who has so far got 40,000 people to sign up to the idea on a special Facebook page (where another 150,000 have been invited) and has attracted a large following on Twitter.

She decided to take action after reading Sedighi's comments last Friday, when he told a prayer meeting: "Many women who do not dress modestly... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which (consequently) increases earthquakes."

He went on to ask. "What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble? There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes."

McCreight, who is an atheist, responded with a call to arms announcing that she would be wearing the "most cleavage-showing shirt I own" on Monday. "I encourage other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural power of their breasts," she said. "Or short shorts, if that's your preferred form of immodesty.

"With the power of our scandalous bodies combined, we should surely produce an earthquake," she said. "If not, I'm sure Sedighi can come up with a rational explanation for why the ground didn't rumble. And if we really get through to him, maybe it'll be one involving plate tectonics."

The 22-year-old science student at Purdue University in Indiana said that on Monday, after changing out of her immodest clothes, she would look at the earth's seismic activity and compare it to the norm. "If an earthquake reduces only my bedroom to rubble, I'd also take that as sufficient evidence for God's wrath. I'm not too worried," she said.

McCreight said that there was a serious reason for her attempts to trigger a tremor. She explained: "I think people were fed up with ridiculous anti-science and anti-women claims like the one made by Sedighi, and sometimes light-hearted mockery is the best solution."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Irshad Manji "Do homosexual Muslims deserve happiness?"

Irshad Manji continues to amaze and inspire me.

“Do homosexual Muslims deserve happiness?”
That question comes from a Muslim teenager in Norway. Here’s the entire, abrupt, email:

Salaam, Irshad Manji

But I have to say that there is something bothering my mind and soul. Do homosexual Muslims deserve happiness? From a teenage Muslim in Norway.

To be candid, I didn’t know how to answer — not because I don’t believe gays and lesbians deserve to be happy, but because the question itself opens up so many possible responses.

Do I offer my interpretation of what the Qur’an says (or suggests) about homosexuality?

Do I talk about democratizing the spirit of ijtihad, Islam’s tradition of independent thinking, so that any of us with wrenching questions feel the permission to seek responses through our own consciences?

Do I reconcile Islam and human rights, faith and free will, duty towards others and fulfillment of self?

Do I analyze “happiness”?

Do I ignore the question altogether, given my tight book-writing deadlines and a slew of other commitments? But if I ignore the question, am I intensifying the isolation that a potentially queer Muslim teenager may be feeling right now? How does exacerbating someone’s pain serve my integrity as a person of deep faith in God?

As if on cue, landing in my inbox this week was an email that answers the question more convincingly than I could have. It comes from a religious Muslim who’s also a lesbian. Despite her broken English, you’ll grasp the wholeness — the integrity — in which she now exults:

I always denied that I am gay. It is sinful. How can a religious girl like me being a lesbian? I knew which is Haram [forbidden] in Islam and which is not…

Every time, I pray to Allah. I asked Him, why He give me this test? This is too much for me. Allah gave me everything I wished. I am a bright girl. But why Allah tests me with the very sinful thing in Islam, being a lesbian?…

I met one girl and we both loved each other so much. She is my true love and my soul mate. She is the ONE for me. We lived together for many years and we kept it as a secret. No one knew, as both of us are lady-like and wear scarf.

Last year, we broke up and I was totally a mess. I lost my feet. I nearly insane because I just can’t live without her. But, she already made her decision, even though I beg her, she stick with her decision. I lost so much weight. For months I was in pain.

Until one day I asked for a help from one of my friends. They brought me to see a counselor. There are a few questions from the counselor that really, really woke me up. She asked me, Why am I afraid to accept that I am a lesbian, and I answered, Because this is one of the biggest sin in Islam, I don’t want to dishonor my family, and Allah will also send me to hell.

The counselor asked me the second question, How I measure my goodness, and I said, by serve and praise Allah.

And the last question she asked me, Even you know you are gay, did you still pray and feel the connection to Allah when you pray, and I said YES, I still feel it.

So, she said, Allah still love you and you are one of His creation, being a lesbian is not your choice, you just got it from HIM. So accept who you are and keep serving Allah.

The next day, I performed my morning prayer and I just can felt that Allah is closer to me than before. I just like a new born baby, and by accepting that I am a lesbian, has changed my personality and life for 180 degree. I am totally a brand new person.

For all of my life, I am questioning Allah why I love and like women more than men, and now I found the answer… Allah is not cruel to human. He LOVE us. Only Man discriminate people like us.

There is no word to describe my feeling of happiness.

Happiness: It appears that the Almighty believes she deserves it. And if she deserves it, why not the Muslim teenager in Norway, too?

In their new book, Made for Goodness, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and his daughter, Rev. Mpho Tutu, tell us that “God’s call to be perfect is not just a command — it is an invitation.” An invitation, that is, “to something life-giving, something joy-creating.” Far from being flawlessness, “Godly perfection is wholeness.”

In short, to be one with yourself is to be one with God. May The One go with you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

At the Roxie Theatre: Here is the execrable Kate Raphael about to unhinge her jaw and eat a Zionist.
I particularly liked these two posters that SF Voice for Israel displayed at their counter-protest to QUIT at the Roxie Theatre. I love satire. Yes, lesbians who prefer Hamas to Israel are like turkeys for Thanksgiving. There was even a dyke from Iran who was with QUIT to protest the excellent treatment of LGBT people in Israel. Why isn't she still in Iran? Oh yes, there are no gay people in Iran!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Won't QUIT, quit? Please?

Ok, Ok, I'll do it. I'll write about QUIT. This is difficult for me, since I know many of the people involved through solidarity work, but I'l try not to judge.
San Francisco's QUIT (Queers UnderminingISraeli Terror) is the perfect example of an organization that plays a zero-sum game with respects to the Israel/palestinian conflict.

Israel is the best place in the Middle East for gays. There. I've said it. Unless you are in a fundementalist religious community, living life openly gay is not a problem. Same sex marriages from elsewhere are recognized, we can adopt children, serve in the miliatry. Its not so bad.

Queer Life in Israel

Queer Life in Iran

Its really not so bad, especially when you consider the neighborhood.

But for QUIT, rather than embracing the fact that Israel gets this right, not perfect, but certainly moving in the right direction, attacks everything Israel.
There is a LGBT cultural Festival this month in San Francisco, "Out in Israel" Films, classes, cooking, art. Its a nice mix. Yet QUIT insists on protesting it.

QUIT! Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorismpresents
Queer Eye for the Palestinian Village
outside the opening night of the Out In Israel LGBT Cultural Festival
Thursday, April 8
6:15 p.m., Roxie Theater
16th between Valencia and Guerrero, San

All queers wanted! Let's bring our creativity and spirit to say No Queerwashing of War Crimes!
It's not about being Out in Israel, it's about getting our community and our money Out of Israel!

Sorry, QUIT, it is about being "Out in Israel". Its not about your need to protest anything that doesn't fit your pre-conceived notions of "political correctness". Why can't you accept that its not about winning or losing? Why can't you accept the notion that like all countries, Israel has good and bad qualities? Embrace the good. Reject the bad. Work towards change. Your defacto rejection of everything Israeli paints you into a corner with extremist groups. Its not where I want to be. And if you thought about it for more than 10 minutes, I'd guess its not where you want to be, either.