“The Arab uprisings may have been sparked by an Arab man — Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in desperation — but they will be finished by Arab women.
Amina Filali — the 16-year-old Moroccan girl who drank poison after she was forced to marry, and beaten by, her rapist — is our Bouazizi. Salwa el-Husseini, the first Egyptian woman to speak out against the “virginity tests”; Samira Ibrahim, the first one to sue; and Rasha Abdel Rahman, who testified alongside her — they are our Bouazizis. We must not wait for them to die to become so. Manal al-Sharif, who spent nine days in jail for breaking her country’s ban on women driving, is Saudi Arabia’s Bouazizi. She is a one-woman revolutionary force who pushes against an ocean of misogyny.”
There’s something really sad about the “We are the 53%” Tumblr. I appreciate and understand the lives the people have led - hardworking people trying to make their way - but what is sad is that so much of it is so very similar to what the “We are the 99%” people are saying - it’s just the last line that is different. And what is that?
Because we are still in the throes of the manipulation and division that has been destroying the United States ever since George W. Bush. We cannot, cannot, cannot, turn this into a left-versus-right issue, or a Democrat-versus-Republican issue. This is for all Americans. It’s not even about rich-versus-poor, or rich-versus-working class - plenty of rich people support fair taxation, a la Warren Buffet. The people on the 53% blog talk about busting their back, working multiple jobs, not having healthcare - but why should anyone have to scramble so much to simply live in America? It is government corruption and corporate greed that is responsible for the less-than-optimal lives so many Americans lead. Why can’t we have decent wages, more jobs, and universal health care, so people don’t have to bust their backs to survive?
And yet somehow many Americans have been convinced to turn away from their own best interests, inadvertently supporting the status quo of the wealthy and powerful who seek to keep us down.
Do not be “grateful” to the 1%. That is akin to slaves being grateful to their owners. They do not care about you. You are just a number to them, a number that produces far more for them than they will ever give you, than you will ever be able to earn or achieve. They will always have the power - unless we do something about it.
We don’t need handouts, or freebies. We need basic decency - where Americans don’t have to worry about going into debt to take care of their health or families, or to get an education. Where every American contributes their fair share to the country. That is the only way we will survive as a nation. We cannot give into fear-mongering, lies, manipulation, and artificial divisions between Americans that divide and conquer us, while the 1% takes our money, our jobs, our homes, our lives.
United we stand. Divided we fall. Do you want to stand, or fall?
Postscript: goliathonline’s comment about the division starting earlier than Bush is totally accurate. I already see a lot of similarities between the “sides” of the Occupy Wall Street protests versus the “53%” or Tea Party or whoever conservatives are aligning themselves with now…and the sides of the Vietnam-era protests. Conservatives saying “I use deoderant, I have no tattoos, I go to church”, still painting the people who are challenging the status quo as, well, dirty hippies - not bothering to understand the issues involved. I guess my point about Bush was just that it was during his administration that we saw the rise of Fox News, the whole “red state vs. blue state” thing, and the terrifying rise of the religious Right - probably some of the most dangerous divisions created between Americans since the Civil War.
- Amiri Baraka, interview in Sampsonia Way, Sept. 2011.
have decided the tumblr will be my notebook for kerouac class. and if that is too much technology for monsieur burke he will just have to deal with it. slash i’m gonna print it out anyway so whatevs…
oh, beatnik school. i kind of love that i go to pretty much the only certifiable beatnik school in the country or world even. in terms of lineages, mentalities, vices, breakthroughs…and the flaws we just have to contend with and examine, and hope we do better with ourselves - next time.
if jazz was a rupture in the idea most people had of “music”, then beat writing was a rupture in conventional literary styles of storytelling. what a huge cultural shift in consciousness for one time period. must it be all or nothing, though? can you have a musical revolution without a literary revolution - and a political revolution?
but we’re too cynical now. our parents had nothing to really be cynical about. they grew up in some weird repressed but prosperous era, then everyone revolted against everything and everything changed. is anything really different now that’s preventing us? maybe, maybe not. the beats were certainly living in conditions different from today. i wonder what they would think.
what would kerouac have thought of all these wars? i know he got all conservative and crazy at the end of his life but that’s just because he didn’t really get hippies and feminism. which is okay.
reading his journals really does make me miss massachusetts in a weird way that i’m pretty sure only kerouac can make me feel - i mean, on the road makes me nostalgic for places i’ve never been and probably will never see. but the fact that we’re from a couple towns apart just lends a different kind of resonance to what he’s writing. the kerouac biography even mentioned my town on the first page! i love it.
i also like reading the journals to see his mood swings, how some days he’s super optimistic and working hard and other days he’s like “fuck this i hate life but i’m gonna write 10,000 words anyway” and then gets drunk and talks to people and hits on chicks and then starts writing again. and then gets restless and wants to go somewhere but then stays. all these cycles. i think his whole life was cycles like that. but whose isn’t, really?
[also he did live eventually. moved the cycles somewhere else.] THIS WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO SAY THIS AT ALL. oh MAN totally wrong typing fail writing brain fail right there.
—> what it was supposed to say was “although, he did leave eventually. moved the cycles somewhere else.”
hahaha. anyway, i think kerouac suffered from being completely unable to express emotions to people in a normal way sometimes. because i really don’t think he was inherently a douchebag, although some actions would say otherwise - like not acknowledging his own daughter for 9 years. that was a pretty shitty move on his part. but i think ultimately he just got too freaked out about how to deal with people, and himself. add being famous & alcoholic to that and shit doesn’t go so well.
meanwhile his mother took care of him from the day he was conceived til the day he died.
jack kerouac: the original buster bluth??
[End of Part 1]