#endSH

 

 

Today, June 20th, marks a day of blogging and tweeting against sexual harassment. Follow #endSH on Twitter to see more pieces (Arabic and English) against sexual harassment. Here are some relevant Canonball pieces that I have taken part in.

I wish we could #EndSH so I could end the violent fantasies I envision against all the gropers, leerers, catcallers & harassers of the world -@lissiejaquette

To all those men- young, old, religious, secular, rich, poor- who think that your words convey flattery, that your actions are excused, I dedicate the following.

When you say, “Hello, Beautiful,” I think about taking my half-empty can of Coke and dumping it on your head.

When you hiss at me, I think about shooting at you with a squirt-gun full of bleach and ruining your brand new shirt. I think about “accidentally” getting bleach in your eye.

When you say, “Suck my dick,” [or, more accurately, “Sick my duck.”] I think about having my taller friend hold you down while I cut your face.

When you grab my ass, I think about grabbing your hand and breaking your index finger. I think about smashing a glass bottle over your head.

When you rub your crotch, I think about jamming my blunt keys into your junk. I think about throat-punching you, and I think about taking off my shoe and breaking your nose with it.

I think about watching you get hit by a car. I think about pulling the hair out of your head and making your scalp bleed. I think about breaking your knees with a large stick. I think about buying a gun in Ataba and aiming it at your left temple. I think about poking out your eyes with a rusty spoon. I think about castrating you.

I never thought I’d think about taking a human life, much less as a fucked-up coping mechanism. I never thought I’d literally hate men, that I’d resent my own brothers, my own father, my best friends. But, here we are.

You, on the other hand, have gotten your kicks from humiliating a woman who you don’t know. I will continue to carry my burden of rage. Congratulations. You’re the man now, dawg.

(Image by Ayman Farag; Cross-posted to my Tumblr)

SPACE

I’ve been thinking a lot about space, spatial formations, the social constructions therein, etc. lately, thanks to William Walters, Deleuze & Guattari, and Certain Friends’ theses. This isn’t anything new or extraordinary, but the #March26 event yesterday and taking of Trafalgar Square, as well as my accompanying intifada envy, have given me pause to consider how space gives greater ease to revolts in certain settings (specifically capital city space, and public squares within this). I think one disadvantage to a country-wide uprising in the United States is the decentralized element, meaning that we’re going to have to pull 49 more Wisconsins to get anywhere near what these other uprisings are accomplishing. Or not accomplishing, as the case may be. Seeing firsthand how deep-seated State Security runs in Egypt has really diminished my confidence in Achieving Change.

MP3: Pulp – Common People (inspired by this)

BLOGROLL

I have to update my blogroll. Do you want to be on my blogroll? Tell me.

Even if you don’t, I might add you anyway, and your good reputation will forever be soiled by my terrible one.

😉

DO CATS SMILE? ANNIE REBEKAH GARDNER INVESTIGATES

I would dump the husb who left my babe out alone. Just sayin’.

 

Persians are very serious.

 

Bob. BOB! Prove it, Bob. Say it.

 

😦

God, I cannot BELIEVE the idiots they allow on messageboards these days. YES DUMMY YOU CAN TELL. DOYOYOYOYOY. Yes, Vik Rubenfeld, you can tell. You can.

 

Thanks for sparing us the details, Will.

 

Mister_c, I concur!! And I forgive your terrible grammar.

IT’S JUST A LITTLE BLOOD

It appears as though some Massachusetts liberals (or faux-berals, as I like to say. Or neo-liberals, even!) have gotten their panties in a bunch over some things that my congressman Mike Capuano said. Let’s review, shall we?

Mike, potential future challenger to centerfold Senator Scott Brown, was at a union rally in solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin with a few other congresspersons when he made the following statement:

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary.”

Cue the we’re-scared-of-violence backlash.

I honestly believe that Congressman Capuano was not advocating a bloody, violent takeover of the state, and was instead engaging in some Real Talk, which is the fact that facilitating social change is a chaotic, messy process (you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, the revolution isn’t a dinner party, insert other aphorisms here, etc.). I think this is a real problem amongst progressive communities (not just in Massachusetts, though lord knows it rings true, but throughout the US), this presumptuous notion that social change can be a la-di-da process. It can’t be. It doesn’t matter how peaceful your tactics are. The state will use brute force (even in a democratic state!).

Stop being so scared of blood, guys.

P.S. I think it goes without saying that if discourses like this continue, it might get bloody whether we like it or not, the tragic events involving Representative Giffords being proof positive of that.

SOME THOUGHTS RE: HUMANS & VIOLENCE & UPRISING

This is a really graphic video, but I’m posting it because I think there’s a kind of discourse emerging about violence and the way we consume it. Obviously I won’t use this venue go into great detail about violence and Hollywood and what-have-you, but I think that the way we distinguish Hollywood violence with real-life violence is notable, and wasn’t something I thought about actively until the video of Neda from Tehran’s 2009 protests surfaced. It is, in essence, a snuff film (which they all are, I guess). Following, there have been moments since- Khaled Said’s murder, for one, photos of children in hospitals in Bahrain, things that I’m reluctant to surf the net for because of their disturbing content- that ask for a consideration of violence and what it actually means in a popular uprising, in toppling a dictator.

And while this isn’t addressed outright in these graphic firsthand accounts, I think that the discourses of martyrdom that have become so prevalent in the past month or so are really under-addressed when it comes to How Revolution Works. I think, given a predilection for Islamophobia these days, the West (I don’t like that term but I will use it, anyway) tiptoes around this idea of martyrdom because of its (misguided) associations of martyrdom with fundamentalism (and I heard we are a Christian Nation, Deist forefathers be damned and, consarnit, we all know the Only Martyrs Ever were Christian ones! Soooooooooo.), but I think it’s a concept that’s really important in grasping Revolution and How It Happens. While I personally did not lose anyone during the uprising, the mass funerals and wall of martyrs in Tahrir, as well as virtual memorials, i.e. this, come up constantly as actual, human examples of what dictatorship (and U.S complicity. Don’t forget that!) hath wrought, and why it can’t sustain itself.

I am going to write more about this after I finish reading this.

EGYPT’S INTIFADA: A LEXICON

Now that my eyeballs have all but dried up and fallen out as a result of staring at TV and computer screens for approximately 20 hours a day, in the vein of Sarthanapalos’ excellent piece, A Guide: How Not To Say Stupid Stuff About Egypt, I’d like to provide a handy companion to the language and discourses surrounding the uprising. Not afraid to be servicey!

REVOLUTION & UPRISING

Calling this a revolution is all well-meaning and good, but I need to emphasize that this will not be a revolution unless radical change is implemented, and facts on the ground suggest that the Mubarak security apparatus is allergic to radical change for the time being. The United States’ commitment to “stability” and “orderly transition” further establishes that a likelihood of radical change is small, at this point. (Have I mentioned how much I hate my administration right now? Radical change in Egypt, and radical change everywhere.)

“PROTESTERS CLASH” & “PEACEFUL PROTESTERS”

I’m aware that the horrific events that occurred yesterday (and that are still occurring, as I write this) have largely been broadcast as clashes, but it seems a little bit (a lot bit!) unseemly to conflate peaceful (peaceful. Do you know what that means? PEACEFUL. Rinse. Repeat.) demonstrators’ attempts at self-defense (never forget that these thugs are out for blood. Seven died in Cairo alone in the past 24 hours) with “clashes”. If someone was coming at you with tear gas, on a camel brandishing a sword, or with chains, or  knives, perhaps you would pick up a rock too?

TURMOIL & CHAOS

Al Jazeera English, lord love ’em, has finally ceased its headlines of “turmoil” and “chaos.” Again, make no mistake: Even in the absence of police on the streets, Cairo did not see anything resembling chaos or turmoil until their return. Neighborhoods self-organized and localized defense teams against thug looters. Communities cooperated and fed each other, sheltered each other. It was not chaotic until Wednesday 2nd February, when paid thugs went out in full force.

PRO-MUBARAK PROTESTERS & THUGS

All of the “pro-government counter-protesters” detained and handled by anti-government demonstrators yesterday held state security ID’s. These are men who have been paid by the government to enact the government’s wishes to silence the opposition. Calling them protesters illegitimates the word itself. These were orchestrated demonstrations not-so-coincidentally timed with the return of the Internet to divide opposition movements. Unfortunately, it might be working.

Do your best to not let this 82-year-old curmudgeon and his goons win. Do what you can to hold the regime accountable, do what you can to hold the international community accountable.

TOOLED LEATHER: SO HOT RIGHT NOW

Now you know! I say this because I recently purchased such a purse in Tunis (maybe I’ll post pictures, someday!) and I think we all know how well-dressed I am.

Also I am only posting this because it’s the Biannual Annie Questions Her Life Trajectory Week. In layman’s terms, that would be finals season, folks.

“SETTLEMENT” REACHED

AUC Students will know this already, but yesterday students received an email from the provost, subject line: “Resolution of the labor issues”. Text is as follows:

To the AUC community:

I am delighted to confirm what is obvious to anyone who has been on the New Cairo campus today, that the university has reached a settlement with our housekeeping staff.  Representatives of the administration, the Syndicate, the affected workers, faculty and students met last night and, after nearly seven hours of negotiation, reached a compromise on all of the outstanding issues.

We know that the events of the past few days were very difficult for our staff, as well as those who advocated so admirably on their behalf, and we appreciate the spirit of commitment and collegiality that was maintained throughout the process of negotiation.

As we move forward, we will be developing mechanisms to ensure that this spirit is not lost and that we continue to consult as widely as possible as we review staff and management salaries, working conditions, and indeed, the many other issues of that concern members of the AUC community.

In the meantime, let me simply say that I am proud to be associated with an institution that exhibits the forbearance, inventiveness, and dedication which have characterized AUC over the last few days.

Thank you,

Lisa Anderson

Here’s the problem, though. It’s not resolved, as confirmed by another email widely forwarded amongst faculty:

Dear Colleagues,

As you all know, AUC “housekeeping” workers started a job-action on Wednesday 28 October demanding better pay and work-conditions. AUC community,  especially students, have shown impressive solidarity and support of the workers’ action and their demands.  More than 3000 members of AUC community signed a petition supporting the demands in less than 48 hours.  AUC workers and students have also shown extra-ordinary commitment towards their university, trying to limit media involvement and scandalization, refraining from personal attacks on individual members of the administration, and standing firmly against any attempts of littering or vandalism.  Despite the fact that many of the workers received direct threats and bribes from their supervisors -to go back to work- the workers held their position until the scheduled meeting with administration on Sunday 31 October.

AUC administration came to the table with a refusal of ALL five demands!

They continued to adhere to their original plan of reviewing salaries in March 2011, with no commitment to a minimum wage. They refused to provide a meal compensation IN ADDITION to the minimum wage and considered a 200 EGP -to be paid starting November 2010- as BOTH a salary increase and a meal compensation!!  They refused to make Saturday an official holiday -as with other members of the staff- or to even provide an over-time pay for working that day.  They refused to commit to an annual 10% increase.  And finally they refused to be held responsible for workers Social Security insurance during their years of service at AUC -when they were COMPASS hires.

Moreover, AUC administration came to the table with a firm position on ending the strike and clarifying that their will be clear repercussions for workers if they don’t. After 6 hours of negotiations, the workers finally managed to convince the administration to give them ONE Saturday off per month, a commitment to announce the expected salary increase in February (with no commitment to a minimum wage).

Those workers are going back to working under conditions more fitting with corvee labor than waged employment.  In brief, they have to be ON the buses heading to work 6:30 A.M. and leave campus 4:00 P.M. six days a week  Their contracts are 6 months to one-year maximum, with different clauses giving AUC administration the right to dismiss them at any moment, not renew their contracts with no justification, and to change regulations without consulting with them  There are no clear mechanisms to protect the workers from abuses by their supervisors, which prevail (especially towards female workers) and no recourse for harm or abuse of power.

The current work-conditions breaches principles pertaining to workers’ rights and the very essence of what AUC preaches and strives to represent.  In how it responded to the workers demands, AUC administration went against the basic principles of social-responsibility and providing a fair, respectable, equitable work environment.

At this point, we owe it to ourselves as responsible citizens, educators, and above all an integral part of AUC-community to send a clear message to the administration that this is UNACCEPTABLE.  We call on all faculty members, and AUC community at large to show their support for workers demands, and to send a clear pedagogical message to students to be responsible citizens.  We call on you to meet under the Administration Building on Wednesday, 3 November at 1:00 for a one-hour stand demanding the administration to listen to AUC community and change the current conditions of workers.

This is a turning-point for the AUC to be the place we can be proud of.  The workers’ action have given us the chance to come together as one community supporting equity, justice, and fairness, and faculty members should be at the lead.

Please circulate this to ALL Faculty members you can access.
Rabab El-Mahdi, Political Science Department
Hani Al-Sayed, Law Department

There you have it. I mean, there’s nothing shocking about the fact that the regime- ahem, administration- tabled all the demands. Rabab El-Mahdi and Hani Al-Sayed have been incredibly proactive faculty members and I think it would be great to follow suit. Attend the meeting on November 3rd if you can.

AUC WORKERS’ STRIKE

This seems as good a venue as any to post the email that the AUC Community just received regarding the custodial worker’s strike at present. I just want to remind AUC students, faculty, and any journos that tomorrow (Monday) there will be a campus-wide strike by both faculty and students.

To the AUC community:

Over the past several months, the university has been reviewing and assessing our management and staff salaries to ensure equity among the staff and alignment with the market.  As a part of this process, Compass workers were offered the opportunity to become full-time AUC employees.  This move was designed to ensure that all employees would share the same benefits and privileges.

In addition to addressing the issue of Compass workers, the university will be adjusting salaries for all management and staff to assure that they are competitive and there is equity within the system.  Due to the financial implications of these changes, this is an ongoing process and the university is making the changes in stages.  The first adjustment was made in September, a second adjustment is scheduled for March, and there is also one scheduled for September 2011.

In moving Compass workers to full time employment, which took place in September, the university assured them that – if they chose to move to AUC – their salaries would not be negatively impacted by this move. Unfortunately, due to a clerical error, the cost of optional benefits was deducted from their paychecks, which reduced their pay significantly.  The university apologized for this error and moved quickly to make the necessary correction.

The effected employees were justifiably upset with the error and walked off their jobs in protest last Wednesday.  They were subsequently joined by other support staff who were not negatively impacted by this change.  Since last Wednesday, the university has continued talks with the elected representatives of AUC staff to address the dispute.  Those talks continue today.

Because most of these staff are members of the housekeeping unit, the regular cleaning of the university has not taken place.  I ask for all of your patience as we work to resolve this issue.  I remind you that deliberate acts of littering or, worse, vandalism are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

Also, keep in mind that AUC operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week and many of our staff work regular hours during nights and weekends.  We are encouraging everyone to be respectful of the university property and to continue to maintain business as usual.  We expect everyone to be present for their job as required; anyone who does not come to work risks losing their job.

AUC will continue to address salary inequities systematically and will be as generous as possible, given our financial constraints.  We value our staff, as we do our students, faculty, and administrators, and we want AUC to be an institution with which they, like the rest of us, are proud to be associated.  In the meantime, we encourage all involved to return to work as we continue to discuss these issues with the affected staff and their elected representatives.

Thank you,

Lisa Anderson

 

“clerical errors”? “financial constraints”? My ass. I yearn for the day that AUC exercises actual discretion with its spending, because my tuition sure as hell doesn’t seem to be going to any workers.

Related:

Tabula Gaza’s Letter to President Arnold on the AUC Workers’ Strike

Sign the Petition: AUC Community for AUC Workers’ Demands

#AUCWorkers on Twitter