Beyond Leave and Remain…..

Disappointing to see the level of debate in Brexit reduced to one of Leave (racist old fogies) and Remain (pro-immigration, love and peace). Some sanity in the cacaphony of ‘rule and divide’ mainstream narratives.

John Pilger on why the British said No to Europe

The most effective propagandists of the “European ideal” have not been the far right, but an insufferably patrician class for whom metropolitan London is the United Kingdom. Its leading members see themselves as liberal, enlightened, cultivated tribunes of the 21st century zeitgeist, even “cool”.

What they really are is a bourgeoisie with insatiable consumerist tastes and ancient instincts of their own superiority. In their house paper, the Guardian, they have gloated, day after day, at those who would even consider the EU profoundly undemocratic, a source of social injustice and a virulent extremism known as “neoliberalism”.

The aim of this extremism is to install a permanent, capitalist theocracy that ensures a two-thirds society, with the majority divided and indebted, managed by a corporate class, and a permanent working poor.John Pilger on why the British said No to Europe:

Ron Paul on  The People Will Not Suffer From Brexit, Only the Global Banking Elite Will

On Friday, the people of Great Britain made their voice heard. They no longer want to be a part of the European Union and for good reason. For decades they have sat back and watched the global elite enrich themselves through special trade agreements ostensibly designed to bolster the economy, but in reality grant special treatment to those close to the top.

Julian Assange on Brexit:


Zizek on Culture, Migrants and the Left

“Cultural struggles should not simply be: ‘I have my culture, you have yours, and we should understand each other.’ There are horrors at the heart of every culture. Like Walter Benjamin said: ‘There is no document of civilisation which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.’ The problem is how to confront the very core of how we feel, how we desire. Our own cultural fundamentalists claim that culture is an authentic experience at the innermost core of our being. Such a claim is false. Fake it, pretend it, overcome it, but I don’t think that this appeal to some inner core (even if it is of our own culture) has any value. It certainly doesn’t have any emancipatory value. Our innermost attitudes are something we learn, but they can also be changed. We must never forget that.” Slavoj Zizek

The Opposite of Rape Culture is Nurturance Culture

Dating Tips for the Feminist Man

The opposite of masculine rape culture is masculine nurturance culture: men* increasing their capacity to nurture, and becoming whole.

The Ghomeshi trial is back in the news, and it brings violent sexual assault back into people’s minds and daily conversations. Of course violence is wrong, even when the court system for handling it is a disaster. That part seems evident. Triggering, but evident.

But there is a bigger picture here. I am struggling to see the full shape emerging in the pencil rubbing, when only parts are visible at a time.

A meme going around says ‘Rape is about violence, not sex. If someone were to hit you with a spade, you wouldn’t call it gardening.’ And this is true. But it is just the surface of the truth. The depths say something more, something about violence.

Violence is nurturance turned backwards.

These things are connected, they must be connected. Violence and nurturance are two sides of the same coin. I…

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Selective Outrage: The Silence and Denial about Islamic Homophobia

Fifty people were gunned down in a mass terrorist shooting in Orlando; USA. They were deliberately targeted by Muslim man, Omar Mateen, 29, because they were gay. Outrage and shock followed the shooting which has been described as one of the worst mass shootings in US history. I will leave the issue of the gun ownership laws in the USA to one side, which are definitely a big part of the problem.

However, since the news broke I have noticed yet again those on the Regressive Left, Muslims and Religious Right, stating that ‘we should not ‘exploit’ the crime and talk about Islamic homophobia. As Hassan Raza put it:

If one thing that stays consistent every time there is a terrorist attack somewhere in the Western world where Muslims turn out to be the perpetrators is the response of majority of Muslims around the globe. Be it Paris, Brussels or the recent tragedy that hit Florida today, one of the responses that we often get to see is “Terrorism has no religion.” I personally believe nothing could be farther from truth. In my opinion, Terrorism definitely has a religion, whether it is the religion of Babbar Khalsa, Bajrang Dal, the Lord’s Resistance Army or the ISIS. As long as you’re carrying out attacks on innocent civilians in the name of your religion or after getting motivated by your religious sacred text, your terrorism, and extremism has a religion.

And yet homophobia and hatred is still being openly preached in US mosques. The Husseini Islamic Center in Florida, USA, invited Sheikh Farrokh Sekaleshfar to speak at their Mosque. Dr. Sekaleshfar says the killing of homosexuals is the compassionate thing to do. In a 2013 speech Sheikh Sekaleshfar said this regarding gays:

Death is the sentence. We know there’s nothing to be embarrassed about this, death is the sentence…We have to have that compassion for people, with homosexuals, it’s the same, out of compassion, let’s get rid of them now.”

When Sheikh Sekaleshfar calls for the death of all homosexuals based on the tenets of Islam it cannot be ignored, he is an expert on Shariah Islamiyya or Islamic Law.

A recent survey of British (yes British) Muslims found that 50% (way more than the national average) thought that homosexuality should be illegal. Sadly, this does not surprise me at all as that has been my own personal experience when talking to ‘ordinary’ Muslims.

I taught English to a group of Algerian Muslim men  a couple of months ago. Without any provocation from my side, they asked me what I thought about gay people. I had been warned by my boss (eager not to lose paying students) not to be pro-gay or say anything that might offend them (what like expressing views of a decent, tolerant human being?). He told me that a male teacher had said something to the class that showed he supported LGBT rights. They were deeply offended and told my boss they didn’t want him to teach them.So I turned the question on the men and asked them what they thought. They all stated without hesitation that it was wrong and forbidden by the Koran. I am sure many Catholics and members of other major religions would say the same thing too.

These were not extremists or radicals, they were educated, middle-class Muslim men. I am sure this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let´s face it, patriarchal religion was, and is, like a cancer on this planet. It oppresses women, children and men. We cannot let multi-cultural tolerance become tolerance of the totally unacceptable (and yes that includes women wearing hijab).


Can you imagine a white man gunning down fifty plus black people and people saying ‘don’t mention the fact that he’s white because that’s exploitative and we need to let people grieve’? No. In fact, whenever a white guy guns down people in the USA it is immediately made into an issue of race. So why are people saying that when a Muslim man guns down gay people? That is the problem with Regressive Left PC advocates (and I consider myself to be a socialist-anarchist). It’s imbalanced and selective in its outrage. It also gives people the impression (in its misplaced need not to offend Muslims or people of colour) that religious homophobia and intolerance by Muslims should not be openly discussed. As Dave Rubin eloquently put it in Orlando Terror Attack is a Wake Up Call to Gays, Women, and You:

Imagine if there was a political party that believed in forcing women to dress head to toe, endorsed throwing gays off roofs, and killing apostates who left the party. Every sane person, both left and right in America, would be rightfully against this backwards ideology. Yet for some reason, as a religion, this set of ideas gets a pass. And not only does it get a pass, it gets handled with kid gloves, tacitly endorsed or intentionally obfuscated by Western intellectuals. Of course, irony being what it is, Radical Islam will come for these apologists right after they’re done with the gays, the women, and the other assorted infidels.

Some people were also angry at the hypocrisy of the sudden outpouring and grief for the LGBT community while the daily crimes against LGBT people in Muslim-majority countries (sanctioned by the state and police) go ignored and unreported. Habiba Effat had this to say about hypocrisy on this issue from the Egyptian State Department:


Where the fuck are your “heartfelt” fucking “condolences” for the thousands of LGBTQ Egyptians who are arbitrarily arrested and forcibly disappeared and subject to the most inhumane forms of torture and killed in cold blood in your police stations and prisons, whose stories will never be heard and whose causes cannot even be publicly advocated for because both state and society viciously sanction brutality against anything remotely queer in the name of traditions and morality and religion? Do you experience the same kind of “grief” for every gay or trans Egyptian whose life you have ruined and whose family you have torn apart? Are you “united” with the many more who cannot dare express themselves freely in this country for fear of never seeing the light of day again? Fuck you, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you fucking joke of a diplomatic institution, and fuck you especially, Ahmed Abu Zeid, you hypocritical fucking cunt.

So if as many try to claim, those who hate and murder gay people are not real practitioners of Islam, how come the 10 countries that have the death penalty for gay people are ALL Muslim majority countries? Did all those people in those countries get Islam wrong then?

And also what about British, gay Muslim,  Sohail Ahmed, who spoke to the BBC about why he considered terrorism as a direct result of his religious upbringing and beliefs who states: “I actually became more radical because I was gay……It`s like you really start believing you`re evil.””

With the EU recently deciding to ban ‘hate speech’ on social media and German comedian, Jan Böhmermann, being prosecuted in a German court for ‘insulting’ the Turkish President, the importance of preserving liberal, secular values on gender equality and LGBT rights together with freedom of expression has never been more acute.

As Aayan Hirsan Ali said on Twitter in response to the cowardly murders:

No doctrine is more violent to the gay community than Islamic doctrine. It is time to take on Muslim homophobia.



Poem for the Day: Go

Stunning poem by Kathleen Ossip.  It could have been titled `’The Nature of Mind’/Tathagatagharba:
It is a cube, it is red, it is mountainous,
it is a bird of fire, it is the bones of the pelvis, it is a walnut,
it is treasured. It is yellow Saturn wobbling in its orbit.
It is danger, squawking.
It is the desire to sit down with strangers in cafes
and then it is the strangers in cafés,
it is the man with the black T-shirt
labeled UNARMED CIVILIAN and it is the blind man with him
and his painful trembling.
Always it is oxygen and more oxygen. It is the fight in you
and the fight in you dying. It is the need for water
and the water that falls from the sky.
It is desperate for a theory and it is the acts you call evil
when you know there is no evil only desperation.
It is that bravery, that arrogance, that blindness.
It is the pink morning and your smile in the pink morning.
It is a phantom and the thin neck of a tree it
is a little project called loving the world.
It is howling in the dirt it is an extravaganza.
It’s the abandoned sports bra, in the dirt beside howling you.
It’s the windchimes in the thin-necked tree and
it is tonguetied. It is asleep.
It is waking up now. It is a small cat on the bed.
It is the threads of a leaf and it is the Three Graces:
Splendor, Mirth and Good Cheer.
It is their heartfelt advice:
You can’t let it hurt you.
You must let it hurt you.
It is a careless error and the hotel pool blue with chemistry.
It’s a kiss of course it is a kiss.
It’s an old strange book newly acquired
but not yet catalogued, it is crazy.
It is you, crazy with honesty and crazy with ambition.
It’s the sun that stuns over and over again.
It’s your tablet, which is every tablet everywhere.
It’s an explosion it is every explosion everywhere.
It is pavement, mineral and hot and wet with droplets.
It’s the stars that pitch white needles into the pond.
It is provable, it is a lotion, it is a lie.
It is a baby because everyone is a baby.
It talks to you, always to you, it moves
swiftly, it is stuck, it moves swiftly, it is stuck, it moves
swiftly. It’s the impenetrable truth, now clear as ice.
It is serious, it is irreversible, it is going, going.
It is flying now laughing strong enough to know anything.

Age Discrimination and Gerontocracy in Tibetan Exile Politics?

Ageism is a form of discrimination toward an individual or group based on their age. The term often refers to the treatment of older people but is occasionally used to define prejudice against young people as well.

With the re-election of a Prime Minister, Lobsang Sangay, whose policy is that Tibet remains part of China, the public appointment and subsequent speedy withdrawal (in the space of two days) of the sole female member of the Tibetan Exile Government Cabinet, Dhardon Sharling, has led to more incredulity by members of the exile community and their friends and supporters.

The Tibetan Charter states that a member of the Tibetan exile Cabinet cannot be younger than 35 years old. Sharling is apparently 3 months short of 35 years old and so the Tibetan PM withdrew her nomination after a row broke out about her appointment.

According to a report in Phayul, the Tibetan Prime Minister, Lobsang Sangay stated that Sharling:

… told me that she was born in 1981 which if taken only on the basis of the year of birth amounts to 35 years of age. Of course, under the circumstances, she had not noticed that she was ineligible by a few months. Hence I apologize to the house and declare that it was not an attempt to deceive anyone.

Tibetans reacted strongly to the decision on social media. Some cited it as incompetence and dubious motives of the Tibetan Prime Minister and his advisors. Others called for the minimum age requirement to be changed. One Tibetan, Wangchuk Tsering, stated on Facebook that:

This is the height of irresponsibility by our elected Sikyong & Chithues as well as the Chief Election Commissioner. How could such an important matter go un-noticed by all of them? Disgraceful!

Many people associate ageism with elderly people but it also often effects younger people as well.  There are several forms of ageism, including adultism, gerontocracy and jeunism. Adultism is a favoring of adults over children and teenagers. Gerontocracy is a form of government wherein the leaders are all significantly older than the average adult population. Jeunism is the favoring of younger people and youthful beauty over older people. Women in particular are often subject to all three, a no-win situation.

Ironically, for Tibetans in particular, such a form of leadership is common in communist states in which the length of one’s service to the party is held to be the main qualification for leadership. In the time of the Eight Immortals of Communist Party of China, it was quipped, “the 80-year-olds are calling meetings of 70-year-olds to decide which 60-year-olds should retire”. For instance, Party leader Mao Zedong was 82 when he died, while Deng Xiaoping retained a powerful influence until he was nearly 90.

A new definition of ageism was introduced by Iversen, Larsen, & Solem in 2009:

Ageism is defined as negative or positive stereotypes, prejudice and/or discrimination against (or to the advantage of) elderly people on the basis of their chronological age or on the basis of a perception of them as being ‘old’ or ‘elderly’. Ageism can be implicit or explicit and can be expressed on a micro-, meso- or macro-level (Iversen, Larsen & Solem, 2009).

As Hung Vo, UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, North America Representative, points out in Youthists and Age Discrimination:

Age discrimination is something that is prevalent in many countries. This is evidenced in the United States: The average senator and congressman are the ages of 60 and 55, respectively. While age does not reflect competency, there is a disservice done when there is such a disconnection between the policymakers and the youth. Although those under 18 may not be able to vote or sometimes may not have the intellectual ability equivalent to an adult, it does not mean that we do not have a right to have our voices heard…….

In countries of extreme poverty, age discrimination can manifest itself as cruelty. Violence is an expression of power, and since children do not have power, they are often left vulnerable to abuse. The devaluing of youth contributes to problems such as human trafficking, abuse and the existence of sweatshops. The core of this problem can be extrapolated as society viewing young people as being of inferior intellect, and as a result, they are left doing physical work. When children are discounted, they do not express themselves when they are hurt or abused because they do not see adults as friends or confidants, only as a threatening authority figure. The deconstructing of age stereotypes and the fostering of mutual understanding is another step for all young people to have the opportunity to pursue the happiness they so rightly deserve.

The new Tibetan Cabinet has an average age of 55, with three members of the six being above 60. However, according to data the Tibetan population is overwhelmingly young:

 In fact, 35.27% of them are under 19 years old while 54.69% are under 29 years old! The 2010 world population has a similar breakdown – 35.33% and 52.06% for ages 19 & under and age 29 & under respectively. However, when we look at the population of China alone (Tibetan population included), only 24.10% are age 19 & under while 41.24% are age 29 & under! These differences mean that for both these age groups (19 & under and 29 & under) in China – the population of Tibetans is greater by ~46% and ~33% respectively.

Researcher James Connell whose PhD is on subjectification, historical trauma and marginal youth agency in the Tibetan exile community said:

I suppose in many ways the withdrawal doesn’t surprise me and reflects what I have generally found -despite the mostly tremendous care for the ‘seeds of the future’- that intergenerational inequalities in exile (particularly in terms of political participation) are hampered by patrifilial norms that have been institutionalised and very much internalised. Even quite politically aware youth are constrained by a profound respect for elders which is, of course, tightly bound to the political cause -making ‘standing’ or ‘speaking’ up not only socially taboo, but also quite painful for fear of betraying the elder generation or HHDL. It’s disappointing because not only is Sharling the youngest, but she’s also a woman -and both groups desperately need better representation in exile. I hope -as I guess you do- that this will prompt closer attention to the general exclusion of young voices and an effort to institute change.

Sharling is only 3 months short of the arbitrary age restriction. Considering that the election rules were quickly changed by the Tibetan Election Commission to ensure that Independence candidate Lukar Jam was removed from the final round of voting, it is  disappointing that the Tibetan Prime Minister caved into pressure to abide by these rules on this occasion.

If Sharling is old enough to be elected she is old enough to be chosen by the elected Prime Minister for a Cabinet role. To deny that is both undemocratic and ageist.