All entries by this author

On les emmerde

Nov 17th, 2015 4:58 pm | By

Charlie Hebdo has the most perfect cover this week.

Ils ont les armes.

On les emmerde, on a le champagne!

They have the guns.

Fuck them, we have the champagne!

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The Mubarak in the bedroom

Nov 17th, 2015 1:58 pm | By

An interview with Mona Eltahawy when she was in Bombay for a literary festival (at which she was on a panel with Germaine Greer).

In Why Do They Hate Us?, you wrote about Arab feminists like Salwa el-Husseini and Manal al-Sharif. Since you’d worked with Reuters and covered the Arab Spring, do you think the media ignores women undertaking their own revolutions?
Yes, there’s a tendency to focus only on political revolution. Reports from Egypt are all about the military and the Muslim Brotherhood. They barely look at social and sexual revolutions. But such revolutions are necessary for change. The media must start covering these too and stop the obsession with just political upheavals.

Well you know how … Read the rest

Now it’s Mona Eltahawy’s turn

Nov 17th, 2015 12:33 pm | By

Update: The SOAS SU Twitter account says it’s not true, and they’ll investigate tomorrow to find out where the story came from.

SOAS Students’ Union ‏@soassu 40 minutes ago
There was no vote to no-platform @monaeltahawy, we are not sure where this story came from.

Ophelia Benson ‏@OpheliaBenson 23 minutes ago
@soassu @monaeltahawy Nor a vote that she not be allowed to give a talk, but a panel instead?

SOAS Students’ Union ‏@soassu 18 minutes ago
@OpheliaBenson @monaeltahawy no, no vote.

Will investigate further tomorrow where this story came from to see what has happened.

So, good.

Original post:

In the You have got to be kidding department –

Mona Eltahawy tweets that the SOAS Student Union has

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Rock on

Nov 17th, 2015 11:33 am | By

The BBC alerted me to the music photographer Emmanuel Wino who took snaps at the Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan before the massacre started.

Mr Wino says that before the attack, the theatre was full of smiles that should not be forgotten.

As a result, he decided to share pictures of the Eagles of Death Metal on his Facebook page.

Wino was among seven or eight photographers taking pictures of the concert.

He was in the bar next to an emergency exit when the shooting started, so he got out safely without even seeing the killers. At first he wanted to forget the whole thing, but then he changed his mind.

“I wanted to remember the

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Guest post: The word “female” cannot be permitted any such polysemy

Nov 17th, 2015 10:16 am | By

Originally a comment by SA Wells on Changing the subject again.

It’s taken me some time to decode that too, but I think I get it. The claim is that any recognition that genitals are relevant to gender is bad and wrong; because in order for the claim that “trans women are women full stop” to be true, all women would have to be women for the same reason, viz. an internal sense of gender identification. This of course flies in the face of the observable reality, which is that almost all women (or men) or regarded as women (or men) because they were born with female (or male) bodies and were told that that makes them girls/women (or … Read the rest

Changing the subject again

Nov 16th, 2015 5:29 pm | By

Amy Poehler has a thing I didn’t know about, called Smart Girls. As part of that, she has this highly appealing video in which two women – who say they are each other’s fiancées – explain about female bodies, starting with menstruation. I wish I could be besties with both of them. Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, they’re called.

Good, right? Great idea?

Most commenters on the Facebook post about it think so, but there’s an exception.

Hey Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. I think you are doing a great job empowering cisgender girls–but that’s about where it stops. All kids with vaginas, breasts, or any of the parts that you refer to as “the female bod,” deserve to

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Happier news

Nov 16th, 2015 11:33 am | By

George Ongere has a guest post at CFI about Ron Lindsay’s visit to CFI-Kenya. (I was looking forward to seeing George Ongere at the CFI conference last June, but he couldn’t get a visa. Many disappointed people there.)

On November 10 and 11, 2015, CFI President and CEO Ron Lindsay visited CFI–Kenya. Ron’s visit during this time was very important because he was coming to officially launch the Humanist Orphans Center, which is a project of CFI–Kenya, located in the rural of Kisumu County. While launching the center, Ron stressed the importance of education to the growing generation and explained the commitment of the Center for Inquiry to supporting vulnerable children living in disadvantaged areas to make them realize their

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La Belle Equipe et Sushi Maki

Nov 16th, 2015 10:25 am | By

Kate Benyon-Tinker again:

A sea of flowers & candles outside La Belle Equipe & Sushi Maki. Sign reads “United & Strong”. #ParisAttacks

 … Read the rest

Paris is about life

Nov 16th, 2015 10:20 am | By

Via Kate Benyon-Tinker, Senior World Affairs Producer for BBC News, on Twitter:

Tributes outside Le Carillon & Le Petit Cambodge. The message on the ballon: “For you, we will live”. #ParisAttacks

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Each one a person

Nov 15th, 2015 5:50 pm | By

The names of some of the people killed in Paris are being shared on social media, the BBC reports.

  • Djamila Houd, 41, originally from Dreux, west of Paris – “All the mothers of families share Djamila’s mother’s pain,” the local newspaper said (in French)
  • Thomas Ayad, 34, from Amiens – he worked for Mercury Records, a division of Universal Music France, and was at the Bataclan with two colleagues. The amateur hockey club he played for said on its Facebook page it would hold a minute’s silence for him on Sunday.

Perhaps from Algerian backgrounds, perhaps Muslims themselves, eating in those haram restaurants or listening to that haram music.

  • Universal Music France president Pascal Negre named the other two
Read the rest

They are sold in exchange for a bottle of Pepsi

Nov 15th, 2015 3:56 pm | By

The Peshmerga took Sinjar back from IS on Friday, but the Sinjar that remains is shattered.

In Sinjar, Islamic State focused more on destruction than governance. In the aftermath of the Sinjar offensive, fresh Islamic State atrocities are coming to light. An officer of the Kurdish regional government forces known as Peshmerga confirmed that a mass grave with tens of bodies was found Saturday near the city, filled mostly with old women and some old men.

Just like the Nazis. The “selection” at Auschwitz and elsewhere was the same way: select out the people who can be fucked or worked or both; kill the old and the very young.

Meanwhile, more than a thousand Yazidi women have been kidnapped,

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After liberation

Nov 15th, 2015 3:18 pm | By

Via Maryam:

Maryam Namazie ‏@MaryamNamazie 24 hours ago
After liberation, a female peshmarga destroys ISIS signboard ordering women to cover themselves with a niqab.

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Guest post: They can kill; we can live

Nov 15th, 2015 12:56 pm | By

Originally a comment by AJ Milne on In an area specially set aside for wheelchair users.

Disgusting, sure. Maybe the apex of it, in all of this, and that, that’s saying something. But then, if you’re already standing there, with a rifle, shooting into a crowd of unarmed, terrified, screaming people, who can only run away and are as likely to hurt each other in their panic as escape, I don’t imagine it’s much more of a leap to shoot at someone who can’t even run.

And I feel a little sick even having had to imagine that. This is no exaggeration.

I guess you have to think about the dehumanization that has preceded this. Read that rhetoric … Read the rest

Paris Daily Photo

Nov 15th, 2015 12:25 pm | By

Le Bataclan is a gorgeous building.

Eric TeninRead the rest

Nous aimons la musique, l’ivresse, la joie

Nov 15th, 2015 11:35 am | By

The cartoonist Joann Sfar explained Paris in a series on Instagram. (I saw it, appropriately, via Salman Rushdie.)


A photo posted by Joann Sfar (@joannsfar) on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:09pm PST

Paris est notre capitale. Nous aimons la musique, l’ivresse, la joie.


A photo posted by Joann Sfar (@joannsfar) on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:10pm PST

Depuis des siècles, des amoureux de la mort ont tenté de nous faire perdre le goût de vivre.

And one in English:


A photo posted by Joann Sfar (@joannsfar) on Nov 13, 2015 at 5:15pm PST

Friends from the whole world, thank you for #prayforParis, but we don’t need more religion! Our faith goes to music! kisses! life! champagne

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Mancunians gather

Nov 15th, 2015 10:37 am | By

Right now in Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. (I’ve been there. The window of my hotel room looked out on Piccadilly Gardens, and the Pennines beyond.)

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Guest post: Blaming the generations of women who fought before them

Nov 15th, 2015 9:58 am | By

Originally a comment by tiggerthewing on The limits of internal self-perception as the sole arbiter of truth.

I agree that the the Baby Boomers as a demographic is a pretty useless classification – especially if they extend the label up to 1964.

I was born in 1957 – late enough that I never had to risk polio (the vaccine was already available) but early enough that I had to suffer most other so-called ‘childhood diseases’. Late enough that I was vaccinated against tuberculosis; and with a father young enough that his life was saved by antibiotics when he caught TB in his teens; but old enough that his mother died of TB a couple of years earlier. Early enough that … Read the rest

In an area specially set aside for wheelchair users

Nov 14th, 2015 4:33 pm | By

Here’s a disgusting new detail, from the Telegraph:

The Foriegn Office has confirmed that a British man was among those who died in the attack on the Bataclan venue.

Nick Alexander, 36, from London, was killed at the venue. He was shot in front of Helen Wilson, an American expat who herself was wounded in both legs.

In a statement his family said he was “everyone’s best friend” and died “doing the job he loved”.

“It is with huge sorrow that we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night,” the statement said.

“Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle, he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny and fiercely

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Fix yourself

Nov 14th, 2015 3:40 pm | By

The BBC did a feature on people in Iran pushed into being transgender as an acceptable alternative to being not straight.

Growing up in Iran, Donya kept her hair shaved or short, and wore caps instead of headscarves. She went to a doctor for help to stop her period.

“I was so young and I didn’t really understand myself,” she says. “I thought if I could stop getting my periods, I would be more masculine.”

If police officers asked for her ID and noticed she was a girl, she says, they would reproach her: “Why are you like this? Go and change your gender.”

So she did.

For seven years Donya had hormone treatment. Her voice became deeper, and she

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France and those who follow her voice must know

Nov 14th, 2015 2:10 pm | By

Jon Henley at the Guardian reports from Paris:

François Molins told a news conference on Saturday that at least 129 people were killed and 352 more injured – including 90 critically – in the attacks on Friday night on the Stade de France, a city-centre concert hall and a series of packed cafes and bars.

Molins said three French nationals had been arrested in Belgium, where they all lived, in connection with the attacks, France’s deadliest since the second world war and the worst witnessed in Europe since the 2004 Madrid railway bombings.

Isis said it had dispatched eight jihadis – leaving open the possibility that one may still be on the run – wearing suicide bomb

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