This is genocide

Saturday, 9 September 2017 02:09 am
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So I’ve been following the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, in desultory fashion, for a couple of years. The UN’s said they’re “the most persecuted minority” in the world, and that’s before the current disaster. They’re denied citizenship in Myanmar, even when born there, so they’re stateless, which renders them unable to leave (no passports) or access basic government services including education and healthcare.

And the situation has devolved horribly.

On the 25th of August, Rohingya militants attacked security services, and are still fighting the army. The army has unleashed a horrifying wave of violence in response - it’s unambiguously ethnic cleansing, and has four of the five identifying signs of genocide. The Myanmar army is trying to wipe out the Rohingyas entirely.

They’re burning villages. They’re shooting fleeing civilians en masse and drowning children. The government is refusing to let aid workers through with medicine, food, and water. There have been convulsions of violence before, particularly last year and in 2012, described by the UN as “crimes against humanity”; there was gang rape and torture, murder and disappearances. This is worse.

I know there’s Brexit and Irma and Harvey and the possibility of nuclear war, but we can’t let a million people get swept under the rug. They’re fleeing for their lives into Bangladesh, but the border is technically closed and border guards have refused hundreds of people trying to get out. Bangladesh has called for an end to the violence but it’s not enough. Thousands of people are now trapped in the mountains, their homes burnt behind them, the borders closed to them, the government refusing to let aid workers in and security forces closing in.

I wrote to my MP yesterday asking her to do something about this. The text is under a cut below - it’s not in any way good, really, but it is text you can use. Amnesty International has an article about the situation, with a a petition to sign, and a link to the Twitter of the Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar’s army, and a suggested Tweet. We’ve got to show we care, and that we’re paying attention. Otherwise the Myanmar government will have no incentive to stop this.

short email I wrote to my representative )
lokifan: Text "London", sepia Big Ben & stamps (London)
This latest attack has hit closer to home than any attack before. I have students at Finsbury Park mosque; I have a student living on Seven Sisters Road; it’s two tube stops from me. There were friends-of-friends on Facebook whose mums go to that mosque and hadn’t heard from them yet; an old National Union of Students LGBTQ acquaintance goes there. Today has not been my best day ever. And given that both ISIS-inspired dickheads and Islamophobic terrorists seem to love attacking during Ramadan I am worrying a bit about Eid.

I keep thinking about the imam there, Mohammed Mahmoud. He’s just thirty years old, and he heard the crash and ran out. By then a group of men had the suspect pinned down, and they were beating him - incredibly scary, but understandable, given they’d just seen him mow people down. (And specifically mow down people who had circled round an elderly man having a medical emergency, wanting to help. I don’t understand.) And the imam yelled at them - don’t hurt him, just wait for the police. Then he and a group of others stayed there, protecting this person they’d just seen gleefully murder people they knew, for what must have been an endless eight minutes until the police arrived.

A few hours earlier I’d been watching Cursed Child again with two good friends.

HARRY: She’s a murderer, and we’re not.

HERMIONE: We have to be better than them.

RON: It’s really annoying but it’s what we learnt.

Love From England

Friday, 20 January 2017 06:53 pm
lokifan: Hero shot of Suki from AtLA smiling (Suki: hero)
My heart has been hurting all day. Tomorrow is the London Women’s March, in solidarity with my American sisters (and everyone else). In the meantime here’s a sonnet for America, from England. Or possibly for all my American siblings in the struggle from me.

Love From England )

Roz Kaveney, poet & author & activist, wrote a sequence called The Poet To Her Young Comrades a few years ago. I was rereading them today (here's the original post) and beg her indulgence in reposting this angry one, because I think you might find it helpful too.

The Poet To Her Young Comrades 3 )
lokifan: Superhero!Mai - running, speed lines behind her (Mai: superhero)
I’m still crushed. Heartbroken and furious and frightened. And it’s not only about having Trump as the US President. Clinton deserves to be the American president. She’s flawed, of course - as we all are, and certainly every president has been. I have plenty of friends who consider those flaws a bigger problem than I do and I truly do understand those concerns; particularly for the more doveish I see why you wished she weren’t the nominee, although I think the idea that Sanders (or Johnson or Stein, holy fuck) would be a better president in actual reality where compromise is necessary to be fairly ludicrous. Still it doesn't make me like anyone less. But I am crushed that she won't be president. She’s fiercely intelligent, works so hard, had so many great and detailed plans of how to improve people’s lives. She’s the reason American trans people can change their gender on their passports, did you know that? She and her team never publicised it at the time - or even in the campaign afaik - because of concerns about backlash.

And it’s not just that. Hillary Clinton, genius workaholic and half of a power couple to lead a superpower, with all the money and support and every newspaper endorsement, the most qualified candidate the US has ever had, running against the least. And it still wasn’t enough. She even got more votes! By a hair, and yet… never to be a President Rodham. I am so sad.

The first woman to be US president, the most powerful person in the world - is she even born yet? Am I going to be middle-aged before that happens? Am I going to be retired?

(That’s if I can retire. The US sneezes and Europe catches a cold; between Brexit and Trump’s mad protectionism I am truly afraid of the economic changes to come.)

You voted for a fascist? Are you that fucking scared of powerful women?

I mean. Wow there’s still a bunch more to talk about on that front. (I had the most depressing first date ever on Wednesday, which was drinks with a black guy from Oklahoma. I mean the date itself was pretty fun, but wow.) But I just had to have a sad about Clinton losing (as opposed to Trump winning). I was planning the post in the back of my mind. Various celebratory gifs; Buffy smiling at the end of Chosen; and a title. The second President Clinton (President Rodham if you’re nasty.)

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Sunday, 28 August 2016 03:21 pm
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Guys it’s been a week and I think it’s going to stick. Horrifyingly.

Of course there’ll always be AUs. And on an intellectual level I think changing mediums and introducing a bunch more creative voices means that the play can’t be part of the text of the novels, so it’s not really ‘canon’ in that sense - but it does FEEL like part of the whole to me. I just…

I can’t ship Harry/Draco in a CC-compliant world.

I’m thrilled with their characterisation and evolving relationship in the play but )
lokifan: Katara glaring through drops of water - master waterbender (Katara: master)
MP Jo Cox, who campaigned tirelessly for refugees and against modern slavery, was murdered today by a man shouting “Britain First!”

I’m just in shock.

The guy stabbed her outside her constituency surgery. For those who don’t know what that means - she was a Member of Parliament, one of our elected representatives from the higher House, and she was doing one of the regular sessions MPs have where members of their constituency can meet them and ask for help.

a sad, shameful day for the UK )

Hate crime

Monday, 13 June 2016 02:25 am
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I’ve been rather disconnected this weekend -- working, and the beach, and trying to sort my sleep schedule - so I just heard about the Orlando shooting.

And after the initial wave of horror and sadness, came telling myself: well, we have gun control where I live. (And then remembering a friend’s story about guys with weapons waiting in the car park outside a gay club and the patrons sneaking out the back. This was in 2010.) Well, this is part of the anti-LGBTQ backlash happening in the States. We’re not having that here.

Which is just a horrible way to be thinking; it’s small-minded and selfish, or it feels that way, even though I’m not sure I’d think that about other people. But that’s why hate crimes are a particular threat against the social order, of course. It’s not solely a horrific act of violence against dozens of innocent people, not just a crime against everyone who loved them; it’s also a warning to queer people everywhere. Remember to feel vulnerable and know that people hate you.
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So the letter read by the survivor of the Stanford assault case is all over my various social media feeds. Which it deserves to be; it’s important. (Although man, I cried when reading it and wince every time I see a link now; I hope the various survivors I know are tougher than me.) It sparked a couple of thoughts.

Because I’ve seen quite a few people talking about how he should be locked up forever. This reminded me of a realisation I had the last time I was talking about a shockingly lenient sentence given to a convicted rapist and athlete )

GNU Terry Pratchett

Friday, 13 March 2015 10:53 am
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A couple of links:

The End
For Terry Pratchett
What can the harvest hope for, if not for the care of the Reaper Man?

My internet didn't work for like fourteen hours yesterday, and then I went to bed. So when I woke up a little bit ago, I immediately went to catch up on shiz and saw “with the loss of Sir Terry” and said out loud, “oh no.”

I keep reading little tributes to him and having to stop for a twenty-second cry.

Or remembering books of his I've loved and having to have a thirty-second cry.

Or thinking about how, the British SFF con scene being what it is, Pterry and I have – had – mutual friends and how devastated they must be. That is the bit that's reminded me of the physical pain in the chest that comes with grief. To quote [ profile] januarium, I know “so many people who were good friends with him, and people who were good friends with his work.”

God. I don't usually get upset, not really, over the death of public figures – not that it's wrong or silly to be, I suppose I just don't usually feel a personal connection. The only one I can remember before this was Diana Wynne Jones. But with authors it's different, at least for me. You read so much of their voice and their philosophy, and in Pterry's case (and Diana Wynne Jones') their generous response to people and life, and. Possibly this is a weird comparison because this was someone I did know and love very personally, but – I remember in the minutes after my uncle died, his brother said, “the world seems somehow smaller.” And the world seems smaller again today.

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lokifan: Rainbow flag, moving text with "No day but today" verse from Rent (Rent: rainbow flag)
Here is the other post I mentioned. Apologies, it's not the most cogently written thing you'll ever see.

So the college had four teachers when I started, one of whom had started the week before me. She was charismatic and beautiful to an extent I found intimidating (not something that generally happens to me) so I was kind of relieved when she quit after two weeks to move to the south of France with her boyfriend.

A was hired to replace her. I instantly felt far more sympatico with her. She's a nice middle-class girl from the Home Counties who went to a Catholic girl's school and likes poetry and Victorian novels, and therefore has a potted biography that reads like a combination of mine and several of my closest friends'. I think A pretty much felt the same way about me, plus we really got on. That sense of a similar worldview based on similar experiences became sort of ironic just before Easter, when it came out that she's an evangelical Christian.

Came Out being an ironic phrase )

Gif meme again

Tuesday, 29 January 2013 05:38 pm
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I am tired and not very happy today; the vicar at the church I went to as a kid threw himself in front of a train. He was defrocked a few years ago for having an affair, and... yeah. Even worse, I don't know the status of his relationship with the woman in question - but the guy she left to be with this man? Killed himself too.

And I hope you'll understand I'm not being flip when I say can we play the gif game? Give me a pairing, a character, anything really - I have a great one for "mansplaining" - and I will give you my reaction in one gif.

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Last night, I found out that my favourite author of all time, Diana Wynne Jones, died late on Friday.

I wanted to write her a fan letter, saying how much I loved her books and how comforting they were at uni and now it’s too late.

This makes me very sad. Particularly since, you know, shallow but... she stopped writing for years, and started again a few years ago, and it still felt like a miracle seeing a new book by her. Earwig and the Witch comes out in June; after that, no more.

This is insufferably long, but I really don't care. This is... she was seventy-six and she lived a good life by all accounts, but this is still my creative role-model and the creator of so many things I've loved. This is where I truly understand crying over Kurt Cobain.

Diana Wynne Jones’ novels - and short stories - are absolutely wonderful. There is a distinct voice, in terms of both prose and moral outlook, in every one; every character is vibrant, real, their dialogue perfectly suited to them; there is fun and flavour and interest, and on occasion those stories are absolutely devastating. The scene in The Lives of Christopher Chant where Tacroy confesses upsets me every time I read it. She used archetypes, and subverted them; what shows even more talent is when she didn’t subvert the archetypes and still made you care for the individual characters.

Teach me to hear mermaids singing, or to keep off envy’s stinging )

Rest in peace, Diana Wynne Jones. I look forward to your very last book.
lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Spike: tired)
Still ill... and all this sleeping has screwed with my schedule, which is why I’m posting now! Violet’s ill too, she might have given her girlfriend glandular fever, and Miss Godfrey’s got an old-man cough going on. EVERYONE IS ILL. And the campus medical centre has a horrible receptionist – she’s one of those people I could deal with easily on a normal day, only because walking to campus had made me wanna die I was all *wibble*. Plus she snarled about how I needed the BCG (the TB vaccination) even though I have natural immunity. I was tested! My body said DEATH TO YOU, VIRUS! without me ever getting the injection! I don’t want the horrible pain-y injection, it’s totally unnecessary because I was obviously exposed to the disease in Ghana!

I did, after all, go to the hospital twice in the three weeks I spent in Ghana. Because my father has many wonderful qualities but he is also a fool who let his ten-year-old daughter have lobster curry when she wanted to try it, despite being in a land-locked African country.

So! Today is National Coming Out Day. Happy NCOD, everyone! It’s a lifelong process but a good one.

So... this is a bit weird, but something my uni’s Pride is doing is putting up people’s coming out stories around campus: We're looking for anonymous stories about your coming out, a single incident or an arcing plot. However short you'd like, but not longer than about 200 words, please. You don't have to just give us happy or funny stories, either. We'd much rather everyone be able to tell their true story than feel like their coming out isn't funny enough for public consumption.

We don’t have as many as we’d like, and the idea isn’t to have student ones specifically... so would any of you care to email/comment/pm me with your story? Obviously your confidentiality will be entirely respected – no names, no sources, no nothing. But I know I have a lot of queer people on my flist, who probably have interesting stories to share. And I would love you forever!

I’d actually like to hear your coming out story even if you don’t want it to be shared – which is more than fine. Just because I’m curious – who did you tell, how did it go, what did you come out as?

Personally? I told my best friend I was bisexual first. She responded positively at the time but got freaked out over months, and the revelation was a big part of why our friendship ended. It was like breaking up. She’s got a girlfriend now.

I have to take some pills, attempt sleep, and hope I don’t drool in my seminar tomorrow. See you soon, lovelies.

Cheese and Whine

Tuesday, 21 April 2009 11:15 pm
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I’ve resisted posting about this, partly because my internet access has been extremely sporadic (I went home for two weeks for Easter) and partly because I knew it would be a post of full... well, cheese and whine. You see, I have writer’s block. )I thought I should say hello.

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Being ill at really inappropriate times. And sleeping a lot, when you're used to being able to stay up late with very little in the way of ill effects.


Er... I should say something else so this isn't just the Grumpy Ill Post that I'll cringe at in a few days. Have a limerick.

There was a woman, name of Narcissa,
Her husband did love to kiss 'er,
The Aurors didn't aim to please,
So she kicked 'em between the knees,
They cried, and all the hexes missed 'er!

...I'm tired.

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Oh no.

Thursday, 6 November 2008 07:11 pm
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I just got an email telling me that California voted yes on Prop 8.

Well. I'm going out to a gay bar tonight, as it happens. Tonight may involve a lot of drinking for all involved.

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lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
Bad news and good news, today.

Bad news: my iPod got stolen. This really upset me, but I got over it within hours: I have no talent for unhappiness. I can replace it for £50 via insurance. Of course, I also had plenty of reason to be happy...

Good news: my friend just gave me The Game by Diana Wynne Jones! She is my favourite author, and it's a new book by her. I am unbelievably happy about this; my darling friend, who is the Boy Next Door, seemed rather surprised when I leapt on him, gave him a hug and a kiss. But it's so good. She didn't publish for over ten years, after proligacy in the 70s and 80s; I still get this disbelieving thrill when I hear there's a new one.

Even better, it says at the back we're getting a sequel to Howl's Moving Castle!

And there's a book fair at college! I shall overspend horribly tomorrow, I can feel it.

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lokifan: black Converse against a black background (Default)
I am more-or-less back online, in the sense that I'm using Middle Sister's computer and she is very tolerant. Oh, interwebs, did you miss me? You make everything OK. Even the fact that I have been struck down by a nasty cold. This cold is particularly nasty because I thought 'it's not that bad' and wrote 1000 words of [personal profile] enchanted_jae's przzie, before I read it back and realised it was gibberish. Dispiriting.

But everything is all right again, because Wendy Cope is going to be speaking at Warwick University soon. She is a great poet. A little while after that, Helen Dunmore. I've got to figure out a way to be there for at least one of them. Two hours in a car is as nothing to me.

I have been fighting not to unleash a shower of quotes - damn, one got past me! - from Wendy Cope in this post. Now I feel this is pointless. So I sign off saying thank you, slash and funny flist, for entertaining me while I feel unwell. Visiting relatives tomorrow I shall spend a blissful evening, lost/ in carnal thoughts of you.

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