Sunday, March 17, 2019

Islamic Hospitality: Family

On a street in Covent Garden my heart overflows with love and I stop and tell Ozy and Ely that I feel like they are my sisters. They hug me in the middle of the wintery rush hour and tell me in chorus that I am their sister.

They then look me straight in the eye and remind me that this is a serious moment, becoming part of a Persian family. At that moment I could not think of any other way of entering the future. The side-splitting and brain-melting delight of my sisters and their family and friends hold my life up in ways that shape much of my chosen family.

Hamida and I spoke about the importance of politics, faith and life all over the UWA campus over a cool decade, and I will be forever grateful for the invitation to a weekday Ramadan dinner that meant this extraordinary woman became a friend.

My head overflows with love when I see Hamida, because each time she stops to speak to me, she changes the course of my life for the better. So much of my intellectual life is stronger and better for her insight and generosity, for the changes in our own lives that we witnessed in each other.

While I was learning to be an artist activist, Marziya always had time to guide me and keep me on the path towards the intersections I needed to witness to be better. I learnt from her actions, her words, her networks, and I was safer in spaces because of her. When she takes the time to know what I have done with her wisdom, I am lost for words.

Rafeif and her trust and friendship is impossible to pin down. We live in so many different worlds together and apart, just hoping that words and intentions can get us through what needs to be done to make things better. And no matter what I could do, did do, I could not move the needle closer to safety for her, for all that it was one of the actual aims of my life.

These treasured humans, much missed when we are in different cities, beloved when on the phone or in front of me, subtle teachers in the art of knowing with empathy and intelligence, spend every day in a world that grows ever more dangerous because my peers and I cannot yet influence it enough to change that horrific trajectory.

It is an artificial trajectory, an ahistorical trajectory, manufactured by the internal fears of a few, absorbed by the many, illogical and infuriating. And always it is entirely overshadowed by the mighty hospitality and love that has been shown me by my chosen family from the great culture that keeps the light of thought and knowledge alive for me and everyone.

Today I want to thank every beloved human I know who learnt their grace and love from Islamic culture. I want to thank you for being a home for my historic heart, for being a fountain of intellectual growth, for helping me pinpoint my future plans. I am not the woman I am without your labour and love.


In 2014 I attended an exhibition in the Louvre called Medieval Morocco: An Empire from Africa to Spain. It was exquisite.

I was in Paris after a full two weeks in the great churches of York and Edinburgh (and Scotland from top to bottom) so I was a full bottle on the Celtic religious imagery, patterns and traditions stonemasons added to the invading Christian iconography of the churches they built.

I was not allowed to take photos in the Louvre exhibition, so I was diligently sketching shapes and designs from Moroccan mosques, when my eyes caught the most un-Islamic pattern I had ever seen in an exhibition of Islamic art!

In the middle of the geometry and calligraphy of Islam was the delicately rounded shapes and small flowers of northern Celtic worship, and I can assure you I had a full-body reaction to that pattern!

I felt a shiver run up and down my body, I quickly assessed every triangle in my eye line to confirm their lines and relationships, and then back to the clearly Celtic pattern in front of me. I sketched the carving, and then I just stared at it, mentally leaping back to sacked churches along Hadrian's Wall for reference.

Ever the storyteller, I was delighted with the historical possibilities presented to me - was it a stonemason from al-Andalus who had been to the cold isle to the north to learn new angles? Was it a Caledonian stonemason who had decided the mist was no longer their destiny, revelling in clear skies?


It’s almost as if the world was full of cultures moving around in a glory of humans and thoughts, and had been forever …
Idiotic Didactics

The international trafficking in goods and ideas, which inspired cross-cultural art in the Age of Spices, transcended the differing ideologies of Islam and Christianity. The emphasis of Islamic aesthetics on floral and geometric motifs profoundly influenced global art forms, while Muslim artists readily adopted elements of foreign styles for local audiences.

Islam and Christendom both co-opted images of each other to support domestic narratives of cultural identity in miniature painting and engravings.
The Tampa: Defining the threat of the other

As a ‘multicultural’ country, Australia has a population of the peoples of the world, but is governed by an identifiably Christian, Capitalist, Anglo-Saxon power class. So while we should be a country that can claim fellowship with the world as we contain many representatives of that world, we instead are very clearly ruled by the ‘truths’ of our governing class.

In reading the letters to the editor I was able to identify certain prevalent themes that ran through the arguments on all sides. These themes can be directly linked to metaphors and narratives from within Australian society and especially from the governing class.

For ease of reference I will list the main themes so that I can refer to them later in the essay. The themes are ‘charity at home’, ‘White Australia Policy’, ‘invasion by others’, ‘do-gooders’, ‘legal solution’, ‘return to sender’, ‘independent nation’ and ‘political stunt’.

For this essay I have deliberated on how I am to refer to the people who seek to cross Australian borders, including of course those 450 people on the Tampa. I am what the writers in letters to the editor might call a ‘do-gooder’ and so I regard these people as refugees and asylum seekers and not as illegal immigrants with all the connotations of that label. And so I will refers to these people, genuine or not, as refugees.
The Importance of Being Earnest

At one stage during the afternoon, Adeeba was standing with Ely and Ozy and I, and she asked Ely if she was Muslim. Ely replied that she was, and when Adeeba looked at me, I asked her what I was. 'You are Christian because you are white' she replied, qualifying it a little by saying 'I have only met a few Christians with black skin.' And then Adeeba said something that made me sad. She told me that her father's car window had been smashed by white boys, but that her Dad was not hurt. And then she told me that 'a group of white boys had poked at Dad with a stick, but at least it was not a knife or he would be dead.'
Baby Steps
"If none of us ever read a book that was 'dangerous,' nor had a friend who was 'different,' or never joined an organization that advocated 'change,' we would all be just the kind of people Joe McCarthy wants."
Edward R Murrow
These words are from a patriotic American to a country in the grip of a reaction to terror across the water. I would like to think that we can apply them to the global village of today, opened up by travel, communication and the media – we know that McCarthyism was a madness, we know that Hansonism was damaging, we know that Race Riots are shameful, we know that wiping out a continent of indigenous culture is genocide. These acts are a result of the ignorance of life in someone else’s shoes, a result of remaining safe in the confines of your own ideological comfort zone, of fearing to look over the wall between us and them and acknowledging that they have a right to their opinion and beliefs. I am not advocating the madness of total inclusivity that makes everyone special, which Dash in ‘The Incredibles’ points out, makes nobody special. I would like to think that just as they have a right to their opinions, so do we.

We have an obligation, in this world of fluid media and easier travel and communication, to seek out the thoughts and ideas of the other, so we can hold our beliefs in true honesty. Continually seeking the opposition’s arguments, trying them against our own, and make the best decision we can on the validity of them prevents ideological stagnation and keeps your mind on the future. Just one ‘dangerous’ book, just one ‘different’ friend, just one idea for ‘change’ a year and you will be able to look people in the eye and state your beliefs knowing you do so in wisdom and not ignorance.
Bear with a Head Cold: Reprise

Where are the borders of rationality and emotion? Let's see; ruefully admitting 'we was wrong, evil, weak, racist and intolerant', check for emotion; all Muslims are the same, check for irrationality.

Where are the borders of rationality and emotion? Let's see; no Europeans are stupid, ignorant, religious extremists, intolerant, criminal and poor, with no family pride, the Muslims brought that into our great country, check for irrationality; all Muslims are to blame for terrorists that share their religious beliefs, check for irrationality; Europeans are being punished for the Holocaust; check for emotion.

Where are the borders of rationality and emotion? I don't know, right in front of us every day as people in every strata of life try to assert themselves with violence instead of reason perhaps.

Perhaps in the words pasted together by somebody who is using the argument that ALL of Europe was stupid, ignorant, religiously fanatic, intolerant, criminal and dismissive of familial safety to argue that ALL of Islam is likewise, coated in the inarguable emotion of the Holocaust to make it slide down a treat.

Bear with a Head Cold

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Just a reminder that I wrote my History Thesis on Science Fiction and Fantasy, so I am a bit of a fan of the genre ...

Your fantasy novel name is your name, but with the letters in alphabetical order.
Hi, I’m Aeln.

2018 Edition

As the column broke out of the forest cover, they found the ranks of the cavalry under General Aceilr Adeeeilmn waiting patiently on the plain.
Ace rested her hands on her pommel and smiled down at the Captain, 'what fun we're going to have today, now you've finally arrived.'

#Aadm Kkooosstuu sends his highest honours to General Ace.
Claire: General Ace thanks the pre-eminent Aadm of the Kkooosstuu for both the honours from the groves and that crate of particularly lethal warrior bees, used to great effect in the last campaign.
#Aadm Kkooosstuu: Our bees are always at your service, General.
Claire: You are a scholar and a gentleman.

Claire: Achilno was the most famous bard in all the land, and she only ever had to use one name.

#Eefijnnr Eippr sat under the tree beside their cottage, utterly hidden from the world and unseen by men. They knew the battle would come. The battle over how to pronounce Eef's full name without losing any teeth.
Claire: When the leashed tongues of those who sought knowledge were finally loosened enough, there was the Time of Great Spitting, where supplicants would face each other, in waterproof vestments, and call out the name of the most Eefijnnr Eippr until utterly soaked. The holder of knowledge was never summoned, but they did delight in all that moisture unleashed in their name ...
#Eefijnnr Eippr: Only the bravest among them would attempt to pronounce the middle name. Not for fear of extreme dehydration, but rather because they knew that any person who could wrap their tongue around all three names certainly disappear sometime after midnight. Many would never return. All would be heard calling, "Eeehrst," over the wind for weeks to come.

#Amy just sat and sulked.
Claire: 'isn't she just gorgeous?' murmured the crowd, as Amy's litter was carried through the throngs around the palace, 'hair as black as the cavern depths, red lips like the blood of your enemies spilling over the waterfall. And that name. So exotic. What do you think it means?' In the years after Amy married the Princess, almost a thousand babies born in the kingdom were given her name in adoration.

#Finn Hmpruy
Claire: Finn + Hmpruy were just minding their own business in the bar, nursing the first beers of the night, when they caught sight of the WANTED poster. The photo was so bad that there was no immediate danger, but goddamnit, the local authorities had finally spelt their names correctly. It looked like these beers were going to be the last ones for tonight, time to get outta here.

#Aaehm Nostt
Claire: General Ace was just sorting out a victualling dispute when a presence over her shoulder was felt; her spymaster had slipped back into camp. She glanced at Aaehm as she made her decision, and he nodded slightly, in his only method of communication. That nod spoke a thousand words and was the genesis of the name he was known by, Nostt.
#Aaehm Nostt: Thoughtfully Aaehm raised his eyes to the sky. After some time his eyes, emboldened and quivering, fell towards earth and met those of General Aceilr. Nostt nodded.

#Aeffir Aiilms 😂😂
Look, we saw it here first, the hero of your first fantasy novel …
*cough* Aeffir Aiilms, the pride of Wakanda, and their most widely travelled ambassador. Aeffir was known for her playful stories over the treaty table that started out as relationship building exercise and always ended up with a very elegant threat that always got the result she and her nation wanted.

#Adinor Agry
Claire: Adnior the Agry is the name of that terrifying zombie that Cersei Lannister has turned The Mountain into.

#Aacijnt fiiillnop
Claire: Aacijnt Fiiillnop was one of the most successful teachers in the whole region, and her name became synonymous with excellence in the vocal arts. It was said that you achieved mastery of her methods when you could articulate each individual 'i' in Fiiillnop without running out of breath. Truly, only the adepts were that good.

Claire: That is really beautiful
The pilgrims entered the oasis as the sun rose, bathing all the buildings in a lemon-yellow glow. The House of Aaimryz glowed at the centre of this remote temple complex; the beautiful bright mosaics and gold painted porticos of the cult centre of the God of Delight were designed to shimmer in the crisp morning air, and impart joy to and induce reverence in the weary supplicant, newly arrived after ten days of travel from the coast.

#Aev Diortu, sounds like a Star Wars name to me lol
Claire: Yup. You belong in another universe!

#Aaacdnrss Elorsw is on the case. Known to her friends as Acss, she pays her respects to Ace.
Claire: Ace and Acss were inseparable both in the training yard at the Academy for War, and when carousing in the libraries and laboratories of the Universities next door. A well-rounded experience of what life can offer is essential in the leaders of tomorrow ...

#Aaddenz Abdnru-Ajnnsso pulled her burnoose tighter around her as she stared up at the Milky Way at the clear desert night.
Claire: It's been a long time since Aceilr and Aaddenz were sitting together with travel rations in hand at the edge of a continent, but hopefully it will happen again soon. Also, many happy returns on your wedding, lovely friend, I hope all is tea, chocolate and hugs for you both
#Aaddenz Abdnru-Ajnnsso: It has been! If you ever find your way to Santa Cruz, (maybe on your book tour?!) I do have a guest room as well as plenty of tea and chocolate to share! Thank you! Sending many good thoughts your way!

#Aekt 😊
How you going Claire? It's been so long since Ive spoken to you xx
Claire: Aekt was the fiercest house mother at the Academy of War, and the years Ace attended there was a phrase you chanted under your breath as you snuck back into the dorms after curfew:
"Check yourself before you Aekt yourself"
But it didn't matter, you were ALWAYS Aekt'd. She never slept ...

#Aceijss Deeknny, little sister of Ace ..!
Claire: Right after you graduated from the Academy of War (or University if you were going into the Administration) there was a year that each graduate spent in the forests or desert as rangers or guides across various regions of their country. While partners deep in the clearings of the western forests keeping dancing circles clear of debris and the sounds of the forest swirling, Aceij and Aceil kept their names and schedules as aligned as they could so they could be effective and open to listening.
#Aceijss Deeknny Sista Rangers in the forest, educating on esx abeilnort, perhaps

#"Alpu" is not really a goer Clever Niece 😁
Claire: Look, we all know Alpu is Ace's trusty comedy sidekick, who gets her and the calvary into some sticky situations - no lives are lost though. Eventually, it is discovered that Alpu has a very powerful family 'back home', and when that penultimate sticky situation arrives, so does Alpu's family to save the day (and ensure the cliffhanger for the next volume of the series … because Alpu's family is INTERESTING!)
#Alpu stumbles gracelessly into Ace's presence. "Forgive me once again Eminence, I fear I have exposed your left flank … Aceil and Adeimn are about to launch another assault from the west. It may have something I said!" Ace smiled benignly and Alpu breathed easily once again.
Claire: I laughed until I snorted. Oh dear.

#Abe Lnoprstu cracked his reddened knuckles and prepared to loose the dark soul of Abemnno Ry from his place within. Of course, no one knew that his middle names were Ramon Byrne, so his cleverness was overlooked.
Claire: For some reason, I have located you in a Robin Hobb universe with the whole two-spirits-in-one-body-but-noone-knows line of thinking. I always find Robin's books a little distressing to read, because nothing ever runs smoothly for her characters, ever, and when you've just met them, you hope that if you keep reading, something will work out ...
#Abe Lnoprstu: I am an ill-made mute. I keep talking 😊

Claire: Bruy and Ace didn't talk much about the communication networks that allowed them to discuss military strategy across the borders of their countries during peacetime, and across their respective lines of engagement during armed conflict.
These networks only occasionally carried low-level intelligence, the system mostly carried elaborate and ridiculous false-information to annoy anyone observing them, and the next move in the three-year-long chess game they were currently playing.

#Aeigonr aemrsy
Claire: Well now, you are clearly from The Wheel of Time universe with that name! How exciting to have a new Universe visiting - we've had Star Wars on this thread.
I'm going to guess Two Rivers stock, but with a bright future ahead of you in the service of the Queen of Andor. May you be a legend, that fades to myth, that is forgotten by the time the Age that gave birth to you comes again ...

Friday, September 29, 2017

When asked, will write

Originally published here by a dear friend

I’ll let you in on a secret – I keep all kinds of tissue products long after the use they were provided for has passed, and some tissue products I have kept for over a decade now. And no, I am not a hoarder or a collector, but a storyteller and traveller who has been gifted art on the nearest easy canvas from all manner of artists.

These beautiful sheets have been treasured for the many memories they carry, and their longevity speaks to the enduring power of paper to persevere.

Along with most people, I dispose of used toilet paper, tissues and kitchen paper rolls in my day-to-day life as they wipe clean and dispense comfort, and are then discarded. But every now and again a piece of paper becomes the canvas for something innovative or evocative that I wish to keep, and they form a beautiful tapestry of tissue from across the world.

I have an intricate rose made of a paper napkin given to me in Greece on the last night of a two-day romance on an Aegean island. The creator was used to visitors coming in and out of his life, but he was the only Greek dispenser of napkin roses I met, so the rose lies, flat and pure as Mediterranean sand, alongside ferry tickets in a travel guide. It was a strong napkin, plush and soft.

I have a kitchen towel, perforated and quilted, that has an extraordinarily detailed map of New York City on it, drawn at a London house party by a homesick American writer who is now a YouTube animation sensation. On one side of the towel is his precise drawing of his much-missed hometown, and on the other the terrible drawing that had prompted his own, my impression of what I thought Manhattan looked like. I don’t want to claim to be the inspiration for his YouTube Education channel that uses animation to dispel myths, but you can draw your own conclusions.

I have the inspiring advice of a Siberian Philosopher on the back of apple tea wrap from a tea stop in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul; my favourite being ‘all the world is a pot, and you are the spoon’.

My main art collection at the moment is of faces drawn by an artist on napkins, menus and receipts from our European bar crawls, and I have a note left in all her three languages by this lover, who could only find the hostel toilet cover to use as she left for her early flight to the other side of the world.

I have a lot of thin paper that hold the memories of large emotions for me, and now I have to find a tissue because memories, hey?

I have photos of intricate patterns drawn across paper tablecloths as a friend and I plot world domination over suburban yum cha, and my favourite saved wrapping paper comes from a friend whose day job was to sell family holiday packages to EuroDisney. To create the wrapping paper she spent a day on the phones writing Disney Corporate Catchphrases in calligraphy – this masterpiece is safe with me, I assure you – every ‘close to the magic’ and ‘in the magic’ is treasured.

So next time you consider that roll or box of tissues, think of the world it came from, and how it will fit into your world, but also keep in mind that an artist may pick up that extraordinary piece of canvas and capture emotions on it for another delighted human. There is much more to tissue than we talk about.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017



Honey, bring it close to my lips
The sun will shine from time to time
You can't make no money if you can't keep an artist
Mingle with the good people we meet, yeah!

See me I'm all about my money mane
Peeping your steelo
I could never spend my life with a man like you

People hold on, we've got to be strong
A quarter past eleven on a Saturday in 1999
You know you cannot hide, from what's inside

So I chose freedom
A light still shining
Remember me, I'm the one who had your babies

addict-insane, come play my game, inhale inhale
you're the firestarter, twisted firestarter
high density random blond boy blond country

I have run away, run away
Heaven on earth, paradise for a price
Sexism, baptism and wisdom
will this deja vu never end?

I wish I could turn back time
fools begin to open up their eyes
oh I know what you're thinking
paint it black and white and easy

They don't like the game we play
and i'm a simple selfish son
He's fighting and biting and riding on his horse

Don't push us, 'cause we're close to the, edge
wasting my precious energy
Is this how it all will end

We're 'bout ready to rock steady
Your baby's got rabies
And you jumped in with your eyes closed

wanted to be satisfied, i tried to be dignified
around the world

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Being a Woman on the Internet 101 - disclaimer, this is all very white and middle-class

A. 2016, the year an MRA ran for President

Firstly, the current context is that the nerdy manbabies of the internet are listened to by the Trump Campaign; both Trump and said consultation is something no one imagined in their darkest nightmares before last year.

B. Male Oppression by Men, but Blamed on Women
Still with the merciless Laurie Penny, here is an efficient entry into the world of the oppressed men of the internet:

These are the places that these angry men begin their life, starting with the least-worst and escalating fast:

4chan - a message board that spawned Anonymous among other things

reddit - a news aggregate site that can be used by the man in the street

Pick Up Artist (PUA) culture
This is toxic male culture of the worst kind, and it's been around since I started going out with men, so this is the strand of abusive male entitlement I know most about. For a summary I recommend The Game by Neil Strauss, it's a classic for a reason:

I have attached a document called crp2.pdf which is from Strauss' website; he got his people to read all the key self-help books to find strategies to pick up women.

Recently an abusive PUA from the USA came to Australia to run some workshops and some annoying womenz protested or something and got them thrown out:

So the Men's Rights Activists you've already met in Paul Elam and A Voice for Men:

Their tagline is "A Voice for Men – Humanist Counter-Theory in the Age of Misandry" and I seriously thought it said 'Humourless' the first time I read it.

But there is also a nascent movement to be more ... alone:

Men Going Their Own Way - is a statement of self-ownership, where the modern man preserves and protects his own sovereignty above all else.

And now, for the place I hate most on the internet, the Return of Kings; please be aware this blog will induce dry-retching:

Roosh V, who runs the site, was nearly hosting meetings in Australia, even in little old Perth. Then the ladiez mobilised on this thing called the Interwebz and he buggered off:

C. White Knights
Thankfully there is We Hunted The Mammoth, tracking MRAs the internet over:

White Knights are dude feminists and they are all well and good, but sometimes it goes pretty pear-shaped:

HOWEVER, dude feminists can also be the best thing ever - this is my favourite dude feminist:

So, this is where things take a turn for the terrible.

D. That escalated fast!
Here I am going to list a few of the major online abuse controversies that I know of, almost all of them are about white women too, so you can imagine what happens to WOC, trans*folk and anyone outside the moral neutral of white-male-cisgender-straight-able-bodied:

1. Anita Sarkeesian

Anita has an idea to apply feminism to the portrayal of women in computer games, she set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to create a video series, she got torrents of abuse, she got her money, she created the videos (they are worth watching), and then she becomes the primary focus of male hatred on the internet for years until more women with ideas gained prominence.

2. Caroline Criado-Perez

This was a turning point for twitter abuse directed at women, Criado-Perez retweeted the abuse she got and spent weeks reporting and recording the threats, then the police lost all the records and she had to go back and endure it all over again. The police could do little because the laws didn't allow them to do anything, so the feminists mobilised and twitter and the police magically found a way to do something.

After this incident women began to fight back with raising their voices, as in some of these projects from around the start of social media in our pocket:

3. #gamergate

#gamergate was a terrible mess, and since the only part of the gamer community that I knew was Anita, I was naturally on the side of the women in the story.

The big impact of #gamergate on non-gaming women on the internet going about their business was the unification of all the trolls from under all the bridges. The trolls came out of 4chan and reddit and the manosphere and they did everything together and this was chilling to watch - puppet twitter accounts sending death and rape threats in unbelievable waves and doxxing public and private female citizens.

Then there was the Fappening, which is when all the nudes of female celebrities were hacked and distributed on reddit.

Basically from here the unhappy men of the internet just got bolder and bolder and your niece knows this because she became a troll hunter for too many friends. When private citizens tag me into toxic and abusive conversations with their male 'friends' on Facebook so I can unleash the feminazi, one takes notice.

E. In our own backyard

1. Clementine Ford
If you want to see the true horrors of being a woman on the internet, I suggest you make Clementine Ford's facebook profile required reading. Start at December last year as a starter - I tagged you into that conversation in May this year.

2. Australian Feminism - Destroy The Joint vs Alan Jones, Feminist Frightbats vs Tim Blair and Everyone vs Mark Latham
Feminists in Australia got a huge filip to the collective action heart when Julia Gillard was in office because of how terrible all the misogyny was. This is a good entry point for some of the watersheds:

Everyone vs Mark Latham

Destroy the Joint vs Alan Jones
My review:
Counting Dead Women:

Feminist Frightbats vs Tim Blair

3. Revenge Porn and its related abuse

And lastly, the treatment of women on social media in Australia that I personally witnessed - revenge porn becoming mainstream and now an objective of male bonding.

There is a Facebook Group just for women in Perth called Help A Sister Out - it has about 30,000 members - and it is Australia-wide, in every state. One morning this year I saw a post up in the group from a girl who had just discovered that there was an online server in Australia to which men uploaded nudes or partial nudes that they had on their phones of young women. They uploaded the photos into named files that were sorted by city and suburb. Those with access to the server could search their area for photos of girls WITH NAMES ATTACHED, and sometimes comments of an identifying nature.

The post was up for twenty minutes only because they needed everyone to check for themselves or their friends to see if the photos had been taken when they were underage.

I saw the server, clicked through to Perth and then the regions to see that there were too many files for me to even comprehend, and then I saw the post with screen captures of the reddit thread where the girl had found the links to the server. The language in the reddit thread was deliberately obscured to make sure an outside observer would not know that this was a revenge porn server, and it showed complete complicity, outlining how there was a new link because a previous server had been traced.

It was a chilling twenty minutes to see it for myself, see the calmness with which hundreds of women signed into the server, investigated files, tagged friends to alert them that they had a file and shared information about which ex/boyfriend/lover had those photos and who was underage.

After twenty minutes the underage girls had been found and the AFP was alerted, and the post taken down.

I still think about what I saw on that server and the way that all those women reacted with calm language and cold efficiency; I had never been prouder of the Sisters of Perth and Australia.

And that is the tip of the iceberg. I follow WOC and trans* commentators and disability advocates and islamic feminists and their stories are even more devastating, and I can direct you to them too if you want. What white feminism is fighting is pretty tame next to intersectional feminism's fight.


Wow!! Claire I took a break from work and I am now breathless. I haven't even opened any of the links and all I can think is "are girls really having to put up with this shit?" i am stunned. My age group don't know this. We are in a bubble...😨😨😨


The amazing Samantha Bee on the same topic as my email!


It's grim stuff Uncle, and I just read about it! I have friends who have PTSD from being exposed to this in person, in real life, too often.

Intellectual fatigue is a real thing with women who are aware and active - in Australia alone, the domestic violence epidemic and the treatment of First Nation women, women on Nauru and women under the scarf can mean that sometimes you read a run-of-the-mill news article and the rage and tears arrive with no apparent trigger.

I cry automatically when I read about Manus and Nauru, I don't even have time to intellectualise my reaction, it's pure terror/horror, and frankly, it's an expression of low-level trauma from knowing too much about systems I can only change in tiny increments.

And what I've just set out for you is so little and so white. The experience of others is overwhelming - like the fate of young women in the countries that have allowed selective abortion of female foetuses - the 160 million missing girls across the southern Asian countries is so grim I had nightmares while I read Unnatural Selection (

This is why I have no activities in my life that are not explicitly for women only, and educate me on my privilege. With all this evidence, I had to choose a side, and I chose my side :)

The good news is that I have pledged to Building Worlds - the only way to stop crying automatically at the news is to get my pen and write another world ... I don't know if I have ever sent you an example of what my book is like, but I have attached an extract that gives the basic idea.

Good luck with any of those links, you are down the rabbit hole now ... taking that Red Pill!

Monday, June 13, 2016

1119 Roundup

"The crucial difference between
Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bi-Sexual,
Intersex and Questioning people
and other minorities is this:

In every other minority group the family shares the minority status.
In fact it is often something that unites them.
But gay people are a minority group within the family.
A minority of one."

Magda Szubanski
Yesterday I went to see the exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects, and I was thrilled to be able to see many objects from throughout history that I felt I knew so well - the podcast that inspired the exhibition being my favourite listening for relaxation and inspiration.

I walked through the exhibition with four women who are part of the external safe space in my life - the writing group I run which welcomes all writers in all genres, as long as they do not identify as male. This group is full of humans of great intellect and passion, and on Sunday three of them were discussing each object so completely that a volunteer guide asked me if we were a guided tour group. No, I replied, just some learned humans who like to share their knowledge.

Many of the objects that I walked through in the exhibition form part of the internal safe space in my life - history, which over and over again teaches us that today's discrimination and fears did not exist at many points in the past.

Statue of Mithras, replaced by Christ across the Roman Empire

Every culture on every continent throughout time acknowledges the self-evident spectrum of gender identification and sexuality; it is reflected in their pantheons of gods, their shamans and spirit leaders, in their societies and culture. Only Western Christian capitalist culture is obsessed with the binary and fears the spectrum that is right before their very eyes in their friends and family; and that fear and discrimination is outside of humanity and outside of rational, scientific and historical observation.

Arabian Bronze Hand and Seated Buddha from Gandhara

History also shows that religion is a universal human need, and for all its variety the basics are similar across time; there is polytheism or monotheism, and the basic precepts are care for your family and neighbour, and seek to act with your life after death in mind; whether that is the idea of your own life after death, or that of your descendants. The absurd concept of a modern "clash of cultures" dated from a certain day at the start of the 21st century needs only be rebutted with a look at any 100-year-span of history from any continent to prove that religions rise and fall, clash and combine, and it is not caused by anything other than human irrationality or fear.

Today as the world spun on, as our friends who are minorities in their families mourned death in their created families, as Australian and American politicians tried to squish two irrational fears into one short-term political slogan, I longed to push through time into the past, where the stories of all those who were not white, christian and male wait for us, and I longed to bring back to my time a little humanity from those who were wiser and more observant than we.

Carving from the Great Stupa of Amaravati

Bending the Faith to the Facts

To me the most humanist aspects of each set of beliefs speak of three pillars, not three schisms. Science speaks in terms of rigour of inquiry into the real, Philosophy in terms of individual vision and speculative progress, Religion in terms of selfless connection with the past, present and future. I do not see that these three sets of belief cannot work together, especially as all serve humanity; humanity is, after all their creator, their subject and their future.

Friday, June 10, 2016

1422 Roundup

It's two weeks now to the reading of my first adaption of a short story to stage in Melbourne for wit Incorporated, and of course I've decided that blogging some link roundups of the final countdown towards that and the Federal Election is exactly the kind of procrastination I need to participate in :)


What I enjoyed about this gif was how succinctly it summed up the reasons 'A Scandal in the Weimar', as an adaptation of Conan Doyle, was conceived by Jen in the first place; much menz, wow science, very easy to change characters to women because science and logic are universal skills ...

Credit here


My election campaign took a turn for the Nineties with Alex McKinnon's call for Australian Pop from the end of the 20th Century to guide us into the 21st century:
Savage Garden’s ‘Affirmation’ Is The Best Policy Platform Of The 2016 Election
Given I still own one of Daniel Jones' guitar picks from Savage Garden's first Perth concert, this suggestion has my full endorsement for both considering pop as art (whoot!) and the comfort of considering the values of my generation as valid.

Please imagine I am singing this to the day known as 2 July 2016:

In more serious, but also pop culture related news, I am watching three non-Western Australian Federal seats with great interest this election - those being Batman Indi New England - because if you say them fast enough it sounds like a legitimate sentence, and also, they are interesting contests, especially Indi!