This is the morning after of the world’s largest election of ineligible voters – those disenfranchised within the US, and those disenfranchised as the impotent, unable-to-vote ‘rest of the world’ impacted by the good, the bad, and the oh-so-f***ing-ugly of US politics. And it’s a morning in which – strangely, weirdly – I’ve moved from surreal despair to fierce fierce determination.
We did some simple things this morning. We went for a walk around the Bay and listened to the ocean remind us that it has been here before and will be here after. We spontaneously executed a drive-by-hugs programme, visiting friends in the neighbourhood who needed the comfort we did. And we decided to host solidarity potlucks that will help remind us that the true spirit of organising starts with love and friendship and the openness to have difficult conversations (aided now by legalised recreational marijuana). Let us know, Bay Area folks, if you want to participate in any of the above…
And in doing all these things, I’ve come home to the realisation that now, more than ever, we need to know each other as deeply as possible, in the fullness of all our complex identities and backgrounds and experiences. The world cannot afford these horrible, awful, echo chambers in which stereotypes and caricatures are built and fuelled for hatred and division. I honour all my social justice warrior friends, who do this every day and will, today, too. And, Siko Bouterse and my Whose Knowledge? compañera/os, we have work to do. and energy to us all.
Dear Goddess of Horror, how do we wake up from this nightmare? May we propitiate you with the archived entrails of Nate Silver’s pre-election projections?
In confusion, Cassandra.
#Remember. What it took to #getoutthevote for _everyone.
When and Where I Enter: a difficult but needed reminder that Susan B. Anthony did not believe in the black vote. And from black suffragist Anna Julia Cooper,
The white woman could at least plead for her own emancipation; the black woman, doubly enslaved, could but suffer and struggle and be silent.
And from the article, the African-American Suffragists History Forgot, a prescient quote from Frances Ellen Watkins Harper,
I do not think the mere extension of the ballot a panacea for all the ills of our national life. What we need today is not simply more voters, but better voters.
In my last non-citizen attempt to #getoutthevote, some headlines of fascism and dictatorship from other parts of the world. In my birth ‘democracy’ India, a progressive national TV channel is banned for a day, a professor fighting for indigenous rights is arrested falsely, and an entire people are being systematically blinded by the state in Kashmir. Oh, and in the Philippines, Marcos the dictator is being given a ‘hero’s’ burial. Irony has died so many deaths these past few years. Vote to bring satire and irony back to life (in feminist, non racist ways)!
Auf wiedersehen, Berlin. Danke once more for the cobbled journeys into memory and memorial, location and dislocation. 900 years and daily reinvention, rainy afternoons and crisp sunsets.
We set up a Wikimedia user group! This means we join a set of formal and informal organisations within the broader Wikimedia movement, who are thematically or geographically focused around free knowledge.
We wrote a pretty fun grant report (oxymoronish, hmm?) in which we reported back on what we did. As I wrote in it: “I had many fascinating conversations about Whose Knowledge? and Wikimedia at the AWID Forum. But one of my most delightful (and delighted) stories is of supporting Lebanese activist Nadine Moawad, to learn how to create a well-sourced and written Wikipedia article. We uploaded a stub on Isatou Touray, and then spoke of her first foray into Wikipedia editing in 2010, with a stub on a Lebanese women’s rights advocate. Nadine had felt upset with the way a patroller had treated her then, and thought her article had been deleted. We went looking for it. Not only does the article continue to exist – Laure Moghaizel – but it has since been improved by over 10 other editors, and translated into both Arabic and French. By the time we finished our Wikipedia editing session, Nadine was planning an editathon in Beirut!”
…and here’s the op-ed we wrote for GenderIT.org on our mapping.
This is the form of Wikipedia editing I hate the most, updating an entry to reflect the passing of an inspiring human being. Agniva Lahiri, rest in power, and in amusement at the foibles and ironies of this world. Was it only a month ago that I reached out and you told me about setting up the first Asian transgender home in Kolkata? I hope we can make it happen in your memory.
I’ll miss the adda and the shared cackling at different points in time in our connecting stories. I’m heartsick, once again, at the struggles my trans friends have to go through to be seen and to be, fully. I’m so sorry your body gave out on you, but your spirit will not. Aamra bhulbo na.
“Martha: Truth or illusion, George; you don’t know the difference.
George: No, but we must carry on as though we did.
‘Plays are acts of protest meant to change people.’ Rest in power, Edward Albee, knowing your dark humour and incisiveness changed many of us.