Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hijabi Fashion Week May 2011--Participate!


Hijabi Fashion Week, which was inaugurated in November 2010 by blogger Em of Modesty Theory, is now a semi-annual event with a new website, a Facebook event page, sponsorship, and greater possibilities for all to participate.

Hijab, or dressing modestly, is part of Islam. How it is expressed is relative to the social mores of the time, place, and circumstance. Individuals, women and men, make personal choices within those religious and socio-cultural contexts. Non-Muslims also make decisions about dressing modestly within their religious and socio-cultural contexts. Non-Muslims living in or visiting Muslim countries should expect to adjust their attire accordingly--as they would for other more and less conservative countries than their own.


Like other fashions, hijabi fashion has its own styles and trends. One way to either learn or get fresh ideas is to visit hijabi fashion blogs. Hijabi Fashion Week encourages invited fashion bloggers to submit their styles for each of a seven themed days. This year the official participants' contributions are posted as a fashion magazine within the blog post for the day. In addition, other bloggers are invited to do their own  fashion blog posts for the days and to link them within the main site's blog post. Instructions are given on each day's post about how to do so, after 12am on the day, and for up to 2 weeks after each day. Non-bloggers can post to the Facebook event page.

From the blog's About page:
Hijabi Fashion Week (HFW) is an international event drawing readers from more than 70 countries. The main purpose of HFW is to provide inspiration for fashionably modest yet, hijab friendly attire for all types of occasions. It's a little like Fashion Week, but online, and our version of it.

HFW is a semiannual event held in May and November. During the event, Muslim bloggers showcase new looks everyday for a week under a variety of different categories, ranging from work to weekend wear and everything in between.

Despite it's name, HFW isn't only for Muslims or Hijabis, it's for anyone with an interest in dressing fashionably modest.

The week has just begun, so there is time to participate as a reader, blogger, or Facebook follower!

From the website, the categories and schedule are:
Day 1 (May 30) - Work Wear
Us girls got to make some money! What would you wear in a professional environment?

Day 2 (May 31) - Formal Attire
Whether it's traditional/cultural, black tie event, weddings, or anything else, show us how you get dressed up for formal event!

Day 3 (June 01) - Work Out Wear
A new category, but so essential! What do you wear when exercising, going to the gym, or anything to stay active and fit?

Day 4 (June 02) - Date Night
If you're married, you know what this is all about! Share how you can dress up an outfit for a night out with your husband (or future husband for all us single ladies out there)!

Day 5 (June 03) - Jummah
Jummah Jamaat (Friday Prayer) is very specific to Islam and the sunnah says to wear something simple, clean, and new if you can! What's your favorite thing to wear when visiting the mosque?

Day 6 (June 04) - Vacation / Travel
Time to kick back and relax! What do you wear on vacation or while traveling?

Day 7 (June 05) - Party Hostess
Last HFW we had Girls' Night Out, but this year YOU are the hostess! What would do you wear when you call your girls over to hang out? What kind of parties or get-togethers do you like best?
Em and Asma have done an excellent job in promoting and developing Hijabi Fashion Week, and creating an outstanding blog site.

Enjoy and participate!


Related Posts:
Fashion Ideas for Muslimahs and for Non-Muslimahs (Expat Women) Wearing Hijab; Hijabi Fashion Week; Vote (29-31/12/2010) on Muslim Fashion Blogs!
October 27, 2010--Global Pink Hijab Day! Muslims and Breast Cancer Awareness
Hemlines: Fashion, Modesty, Abaya Wearing, and Cross-Cultural "Wars" (Conjugal and Other)
The Saudi Husband of the Western Wife in Saudi--A Great Silence
On Choosing Hijab in a Bi-Cultural Interfaith Family
Medical Cover: Abaya/Lab Coat/Scrubs
What is worse: A Saudi woman in a hijab, or one with the adhan on her iPhone, or both?

*Thanks to Ellen of Steadily Emerging with Grace, for writing about Hijabi Fashion Week May 2011 in her most recent blog post, "Back! And why the bad feelings?".

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011: Honouring those who fall by their own hand


May 30 is Memorial Day in the US. Last year, I did a more traditional style Memorial Day post, "Happy Memorial Day!". This year, I wanted to make special mention of those who die in battle or at the battle front, but by their own hand. Some soldiers succumb to war in the form of a mental illness that leads to their suicide. This illness may be in the form of battle fatigue, acute or post traumatic stress disorder, depression, or addiction from medicating themselves through the war.

Such suicides have always existed, whether recognized or described as such. It is a common place of psychiatry that suicide rates drop during wartime. There are a number of theories about why, including a greater sense of purpose in life, an urgency about daily living, and the less positive but realistic facts that it is a lot easier to hide a suicide attempt during war, and a lot easier to successfully complete a suicide attempt. Excessive risk taking in battle, letting the enemy assist in one's suicide, or using an available firearm on oneself during battle, are covered by the fog of war.

The US military has been forced to recognize and deal with suicide as a major problem among soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, given that the numbers have climbed each year. While still deemed to be below age and gender matched numbers in the general population, the rates are high and climbing.

As a result, there have been active campaigns to make suicide prevention and detection of soldiers at risk a part of the training for leaders and buddies in the field. There have also been active campaigns to de-stigmatize mental health issues and encourage those who are suffering to reach out for help. Support for families has been crucial to reduce the stresses--emotional, physical, financial--on families and on the soldiers themselves. One problem that has been a major factor in suicidality during these 2 wars has been the length of deployments, the length of time in battle, insufficient time between stints, and the back door draft--not letting soldiers out when their time is served.These are all a result of insufficient personnel to wage the wars that have been declared for them.


To its credit, the US Department of Defense did its own research, which contradicted the findings of the US Army which preferred to analyze suicide as a moral failing on the part of a person who was weak, rather than a systemic failing of a soldier in medical difficulty. The Department of Defense has also recognized the challenges of transition periods for soldiers and returning personnel, along with their families and loved ones. It further acknowledges the role of insufficient mental health resources for active and discharged service personnel in suicidality.

Suicide is never a pleasant topic, and there are special difficulties for those who grieve the military personnel who have died by their own hand. Stigma against mental illness and suicide prevail in society, and perhaps even more in the military. Yet, these soldiers have fallen to the trials of war as surely as any other.

This year, I thought it important to remember those who have fallen in battle through suicide, and those whose mental battle scars wouldn't heal and who succumbed later. Their graves and coffins look the same as all others.

*In memory of Bombardier Karl Manning, 31, 5e Régiment d’artillerie légère du Canada, serving with the 1st Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group, died in Zangabad Outpost, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2011, possibly by suicide.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Joyeuse fête des Mères 2011!


Aujourd'hui est la fête des Mères en France et dans certaines anciennes colonies de la France (l'Algérie, la Côte d'Ivoire, l'Haïti, le Madagascar, le Maroc, la Maurice, la République dominicaine, le Sénégal, la Tunisie), ainsi que Monaco et la Suède.

Etant donné les violences perpétrées afin de réprimer le printemps Arabe, les mères, les grand-mères, les épouses, les filles, les tantes, les soeurs, les cousines, les nièces, les amies, et toutes les femmes des pays affectés cette année méritent de meilleurs souhaits particuliers.


Today is Mother's Day in France and certain former French colonies (Algeria, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Madagascar, Morocco, Mauritius, Senegal, Tunisia), as well as in Monaco, and Sweden.

Given the violence perpetrated in order to repress the Arab Spring, the mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, aunts, sisters, cousins, nieces, friends, and all women of the affected countries merit particular best wishes this year.


Joyeuse fête des Mères!

Srebrenica 1995: Shooting Muslims in a Barrel

A Bosnian woman mourns over coffins of a newly identified victims during preparations for mass burial at the Potocari memorial cemetery near Srebrenica on Saturday [July 10, 2010]. AFP photo

"Shooting fish in a barrel" is an English language idiom to express something that is simple, effortless, with guaranteed success. Not only is the visualization of the image espressive of that characterization, but Mythbusters has tested the reality. If the bullets don't kill the fish, the shock waves from the bullets impacting the water do.

The recent arrest of General Ratko Mladić in Bosnia has reminded the world of the Srebrenica Massacre in July 1995, part of the ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims perpetrated by Bosnian Serb Orthodox Christians during the Bosnian War (1992-1995) . Mladić was the military executioner (in both senses of the term) responsible for the realization of a political agenda set by the Serbian President Slobodan Milošević, and the Serbian President of the Republika Srpska [Bosnian Serb Republic] Radovan Karadžić.

To that end, Mladić laid siege to Srebrenica, a Bosnian Muslim city near the border with Serbia. The takeover of Srebrenica and the forced displacement of its 75% Muslim populace was to be the cornerstone of an ethnic cleansing of all of Bosnia's Muslims. However, forced displacement proved insufficient, or rather, inconveniently difficult.

Once the city was taken, it was easier to round up almost 8000 unarmed Bosnian Muslim males between the ages of  8 and 77, hold them in places like schools, and then take them out on buses to isolated fields, where shoeless, blindfolded, and with their hands tied behind their backs they were lined up and shot. The "resisters"--that is those who somehow didn't die on the first round--were re-shot, individually, up close and personal. All were buried in mass graves. In a cover-up attempt, they were later reburied in 70 smaller mass graves.

The women of Srebrenica, still seeking answers, 15 years on, in July 2010.

The well-planned and methodical execution of such massive numbers of one ethnicity by another is reminiscent of the Nazis. Indeed, the Srebrenica Massacre is the largest mass killing in Europe since the Holocaust. It was similarly efficient: nearly 8000 in few days, particulary in the first 30 hours.

It was particularly shocking to the outside world, as this sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen in Europe, white on white, especially after the Holocaust, especially after the formation of the European Union. Then again, as Frantz Fanon wrote about the Holocaust itself, genocides in African countries, white on black or black on black, were common and relatively ignored--part of the offensiveness of the Holocaust was about it being a genocide within "civilized" Europe.

The Srebrenica Massacre, like the Holocaust, has other layers of offensiveness and horror. 25-30,000 Bosnian women and children were bused out of the city to designated safe zones--that is, the land the Bosnian Serbs designated as where Bosnian Muslims would be allowed to live. Except some of the buses didn't reach their destination.

Srebrenica was itself a UN designated safe zone for Muslims displaced by fighting in other parts of Bosnia. More Bosnian Muslims than usual had "conveniently" gathered there under the protection of Dutch UN forces. As a condition of their safekeeping they were required to hand over what few arms they had. Thanks to a mid-war UN embargo on arming the region, the Muslims had been prevented from arming, while the Serbs and Croats were already fully armed.

As conditions deteriorated in Srebrenica, the Muslims asked the Dutch for their arms back in order to defend themselves. This was refused. On the other hand, the desperate pleas for reinforcements and proper defensive abilities by the Dutch were refused by the UN. NATO airstrikes against the Serb cordon around Srebrenica were belated, few, and halted by bad weather. President Bill Clinton has said that his failure to act faster and better in the Bosnian War is the major regret of his Presidency.

Deportation and massacre were 2 methods of the planned ethnic genocide of Bosnian Muslims. Another was systemic rape of Bosnian Muslim women--to defile them in their own eyes, to disrupt the social order of the enemy, and to create a legacy of traumatized women, humiliated men, and children no one would want. Attempts to refute this, to argue it was part of the strategy of all parties in the Bosnian War, or part of a massive pro-Bosnian Muslim propaganda campaign have proven futile.

I know of a scholar married to a Serb who tried. I have read the documents of her plan for her summer of research and the resulting article. She went to prove it wasn't happening, or not the way the press was saying it was. She came up with some Serbian women who had been repeatedly gang raped in Bosnian Croatian war camps. Her final article didn't mention the original research hypothesis or her "negative results".

There are many gruesome, and gruesomely accurate photos of the Srebrenica Massacre. I have chosen not to include them here. If I were to do so, I would highlight this one, of an exhumed Bosnian Muslim-- blindfold, ligatures, and horrified expression still intact.

Shot like a fish in a barrel.

Gravestones at the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial. As of July 2010, the 15th anniversary of the massacre, 6,690 victims identified and buried.

Your comments, thoughts, impressions?
Any other instances of "shooting Muslims in a barrel" come to mind?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tim Hortons to Open in the GCC: A Primer for Neophytes


I learned this morning via some unrelated news article that Canada's largest "restaurant" chain will soon be coming to a number of GCC countries--UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman. Saudis and Yemenis craving a doughnut will simply have to travel, or make do with far inferior American donuts.

I know ours are better because Canadians consume more doughnuts per capita than other peoples, and Canada has the most doughnut stores per capita. Tim Hortons is the most popular, and ubiquitous a mare usque ad mari. Tim Hortons Canada includes Quebec (and Nunavut)!

Those who appreciate a well-placed possessive apostrophe will notice much amiss in the above paragraphs. This is a sad fact of corporate marketing and a brief foray into US ownership. Tim Horton's became Tim Hortons. As a registered trademark, I don't think one may add any apostrophe before or after the "s".

Newcomers to Canada tend to call it "the Tim Horton", as in, "I'll meet you at the Tim Horton". They have no idea that Tim Horton is a personal name, or belonged to the famous hockey player who opened the first Tim Horton's with a friend and business partner.


Tim Horton was an accomplished defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs (special spelling for "the Leafs" of the blue and white type)--one of the original six NHL teams, along with the Montreal Canadiens (franglais spelling), Boston Bruins, New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Chicago Blackhawks (named after the Black Hawk Indian tribe, before it became politically incorrect to do so). Horton finished his career with a then newly created expansion team, the Buffalo Sabres.


Back to the doughnuts. Many are toroidal rings. Many others are flat spheres injected with a custard or jelly filling. Many are glazed. Not only is there a wide variety but the "holes" have been transformed into "Timbits", bite-sized round doughnuts in the same varieties. Any of the maple flavoured ones would be the true Canadian way to snack.

Luqaimat. Variously claimed by Saudis, Emiratis, and Omanis. 
This picture, and 4 recipes at The Oman Daily Observer.

Of course, many cultures have their own deep fried dough treats. So it is just possible that Saudis and Yemenis may survive their Tim Hortons deprivation, even without descending to Krispy Kreme abominations.


Caveat lector--while Canadian, my Tim Hortons knowledge is limited by being neither a coffee drinker (except for emergency caffeine, and the occasional latte, cafe con leche, or grand crême), nor a doughnut eater (except when my career hangs in the balance). Below are my favourite Timbits--the Tim Hortons sponsored hockey league for 3-6 year olds. They are too cute, with their teeny tiny hockey equipment, serious professional march from the change room to the ice, and their inadvertent pratfalls. The ones in the lower picture show that one is never too young to master the intent gaze from the bench +/- athletic cool slouch. Notice all sticks are blade down and on the ice/floor. Safety first! Speaking of which, blondie better get his helmet back on.



The little guys in "action":


Best not to mess with an Italian-American "Mite" player (age 6)--unless his mom is there.


Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?
Your preferred doughnut brand? (I'm open-minded, but be respectful!)
Does your mom make the best "doughnuts" ever?
What "doughnut" is your ethnic specialty/preference?
Other?

"Summary: عواماتAwwamat sometimes spelled Awamat is a traditional and common Middle Eastern sweet. This awamat recipe or awama is easy to make and so delicious. Awamat is one of the most popular Middle Eastern sweets; you will find it in every pastry shop, piled up in a tray in big pyramid shape." Picture, text, and recipe at Recipe Trezor.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Social Media Spread of the SlutWalk Movement: Community and Cultural Relevance?

Demonstrators march in Toronto on Sunday as part of Slutwalk, an effort to call attention to sexual assault. From the CNN article and backgrounder, Protesters march in Toronto 'Slutwalk' stressing the role of Facebook in the organization of the first SlutWalk held on April 4, 2011 in Toronto, Canada.

The inspiration for this post came from the final article below. However, it linked to a number of others, including the newspaper's editorial which takes an opposing view. All the ones below raise interesting perspectives and questions about the new SlutWalk phenomenon or movement, depending on your point of view.

Some of these touch on the issues of domestic violence more broadly, and their higher prevalence among more recently arrived immigrant groups in Canada, where a stronger code of silence also prevails. Others are more specific to university student life which is where the protest began--after a police officer advising York University (Toronto) students, made the comment that to diminish the likelihood of a sexual assault wome should "not dress like a slut". In addition to comments in the university newspaper, 2 students organized a "SlutWalk" which they linked to a Facebook site.

About 1,000 people participated in the Slut Walk on Sunday. (Ivy Cuervo/CBC News)

The idea was to have a protest march with women dressed like "sluts", and denigrating the idea the sluttiness or dress could be correlated with rape or "asking for it". In somewhat of a combination of "Take back the night" demonstrations for women's safety, and re-appropriation of negative labels like queer ("Queer Pride") and GLBTQ Pride parades (which also originated in Toronto), protesters want to "take back the slut" and demonstrate sluttiness with pride.Man are welcome as Slut Allies, and to give credence that men do not equate sluttiness with "wanting it", and that they "love sluts".

That last idea is part of the fine line that sluts and the  SlutWalk. In the last article below, Margaret Wente explores others of these fine lines, a major part of what inspired me to do this post. They include media exploitation of the SlutWalk, and the risk of a failed re-appropriation, leaving the movement with the same relevance to serious issues that any parade of "half dressed" female university students would have.

April 4, 2011: An unusually foggy and "warm" day for the Toronto SlutWalk. Max Temp: 14.6 °C; Min Temp: 3.2 °C (overnight); Mean Temp: 8.9 °C; Precipitation Accumulation: 8.8 mm. Photo and statistics from The Weather Network.

The initial SlutWalk on April 4, 2011 in Toronto received coverage in local, national, and interational news media. It also was a subject of blog posts and further social media organization of more SlutWalks across North America, and now spreading primarily to the UK and Australia/New Zealand, but also to the Central Asian country of Kyrygystan (75% Muslim, 20% Russian Orthodox, 5% Other). The exact date for the SlutWalk in the capital city Bishkek is TBA. International and upcoming SlutWalks.

I look forward to your comments on the ideas above, the articles and pictures in the post, the questions posed in the articles and below, and your own impressions. The articles, from the recent debate on the international spread of SlutWalks in  the Toronto-based national paper The Globe and Mail, are in chronological order and link to each other. The pictures punctuating the articles are from a link in the articles but are in fact of a SlutWalk in Boston.

Women march through downtown Boston during the "SlutWalk" in Boston on Saturday, May 7, 2011, which organizers described as a demonstration against those who blame the victims of sex crimes. The walk was held in response to a Toronto police officer who said women shouldn't dress like "sluts" if they wanted to avoid being raped. (JOSH REYNOLDS/AP)

SlutWalk sparks worldwide protest movement
ELIZABETH CHURCH
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May. 10, 2011 10:24PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, May. 12, 2011 3:16AM EDT

SlutWalk, the in-your-face response to violence against women that began with a march in Toronto, has gone viral, inspiring plans for similar protests in more than 60 cities around the world and setting off a debate among feminists about using loaded language even if it brings huge attention to their cause.

In the coming weeks, crowds are expected to take to the streets in Amsterdam, London and Sydney, Australia, in Santa Cruz, Cal., and Austin, Tex., all under the SlutWalk banner. The growing tide of protest is the latest example of how social media can be used to mobilize people. But the attention the walks are raising is fuelled in no small part by the provocative title, coined by a Toronto art director who makes no apologies for her controversial turn-of-phrase.

“If you are going to be heard, you have to rise above the noise,” explained Sonya Barnett, who co-founded the protest movement earlier this year. She’s skeptical that a protest by any other name would be making headlines in the British press and on Fox News or eliciting messages from would-be march organizers halfway around the world. “Without such an audacious attitude, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

Ms. Barnett came up with the name for last month’s Toronto march after talking with friend and University of Guelph student Heather Jarvis. Both were outraged by a report in a campus paper that a police officer advised York University law students to “not dress like a slut” to reduce the chances of assault.

“He used the word ‘slut’ in his way. We wanted to take the word and sling it right back in our way,” said the 38-year-old mother, who until this spring had never marched in a protest. Besides grabbing attention, the title also is designed to teach people about the harmful use of language, she said.

The Toronto group has faced criticism – most notably in the opinion pages of the British newspaper The Guardian – for using a misogynist putdown that some argue feminists can never reclaim. In a piece published earlier this week, two academics based in the United States wrote that the SlutWalk organizers’ efforts to change the meaning of the word were “a waste of precious feminist resources.”

Others who support the group’s bravado say any movement that challenges widespread attitudes that blame women for sexual attacks should be applauded.

Kathryn McPherson, a professor who specializes in women’s history at Toronto’s York University, said the debate among feminists is not new. “The question of where sexuality fits in is an intense one,” she said. Such a charged word should not be taken lightly, but in some ways, using it has allowed organizers to put the issue of women’s sexuality on the table and then focus on a more pressing topic – why society has failed to address sexual violence, she added.

As a strategy, it is clearly working, she said. “It’s clever. It’s effective. It has people’s attention.”

Ronda Bessner, an assistant dean at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, who organized the January meeting at which the Toronto officer made his remarks, declined to weigh in on marchers’ choice of words. Her main concern, she said, is that students feel comfortable reporting a sexual assault and that police have the proper training. The officer’s remarks, to a small group of students and staff that included Ms. Bessner, upset several in the room who were there to discuss safety, she said. Responding to calls and letters from Ms. Bessner, the officer has since sent a written apology.

“I was shocked. I did not think that in 2011 police officers would be saying things like this,” she recalled.

A frustration with similar attitudes – and the boldness of the Toronto group’s tactics – is what attracted Karen Pickering, one of the organizers of a SlutWalk planned for later this month in Melbourne, Australia.

A long-time organizer of women’s events that failed to get media attention, Ms. Pickering said the march has already been covered by both the city’s major dailies two days after details were released.

“We have eight radio interviews for this week,” she said. “I’m kind of like, bring it on. Clearly there are people who are fed up with playing nice and engaging people in subtle debate.”

**********

Women march past the Statehouse during the SlutWalk in Boston, Saturday, May 7, 2011. (JOSH REYNOLDS/AP)

Earlier discussion
'SlutWalk': Is the loaded protest title effective or offensive?
Globe and Mail Update
Published Wednesday, May. 11, 2011 2:12AM EDT
Last updated Thursday, May. 12, 2011 3:15AM EDT

SlutWalk, the in-your-face response to violence against women that began with a march in Toronto, has gone viral, inspiring plans for similar protests in more than 60 cities around the world, Elizabeth Church writes in Wednesday's Globe and Mail.

But it is also setting off a debate among feminists about using loaded language even if it brings huge attention to their cause.

Sonya Barnett co-founded the movement earlier this year with friend Heather Jarvis. They were both outraged by a report in a campus paper that a police officer advised York University law students to "not dress like a slut" to reduce chances of assault.

Ms. Barnett defends the effectiveness of 'SlutWalk', saying, “Without such an audacious attitude, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

The Toronto group has faced criticism – most notably in the opinion pages of the British newspaper The Guardian – for using a misogynist putdown that some argue feminists can never reclaim. Others who support the group’s bravado say any movement that challenges widespread attitudes that blame women for sexual attacks should be applauded.

What do you think? Is using the word “slut” the right way to draw attention to the cause? Do you think it’s effective? Do you think the police officer's comments reflect a broader attitude within society?

**********

From left: Isa Stearns of Somerville, Mass., Nadia Friedler of Cambridge, Mass., Louisa Carpenter-Winch, of Cambridge, Mass., and Emma Munson-Blatt, of Cambridge, Mass, march in the "SlutWalk" in Boston on Saturday, May 7, 2011. (JOSH REYNOLDS/AP)

Globe Editorial
Slutwalk sweeps North America
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Wednesday, May. 11, 2011 5:34PM EDT
Last updated Wednesday, May. 11, 2011 6:00PM EDT

The “SlutWalk” phenomenon that is sweeping North America and Europe, and taking root as far afield as Australia and New Zealand, is part of a broader, and healthy phenomenon, of ending the silence, stigma and shame around the crime of rape.

This refusal to accept silence and its inevitable partner, shame, has been seen of late in the interviews given by Melissa Fung, a CBC reporter held captive in Afghanistan in 2008 for 28 days and by CBS’s chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan, who was lucky to survive a mob assault in Egypt in February. Jeannie and Anne Marie Hilton of Quebec, victims of incest by their father, the former boxing champion Dave Hilton Jr., wrote a book in 2004 to fight back against the shame they felt that silence imposes on sex-assault and incest victims.

The SlutWalks started in Toronto when a police officer told York University law students that they would be safer if they didn’t dress like “a slut.” This police officer should not be seen as representative – he had been warned against making such comments, and he has been disciplined for doing so. But neither can it be said he is alone. A segment of society (well beyond the police) still holds to this view.

And if dressing like a “slut” invites sexual assault, why is it that, in Britain, a serial rapist is targeting elderly women? Why, in parts of the world, are babies raped? Why have so many boys been sexually assaulted in institutional care, or men in jails? The implication of the “slut” comment is not only that the victim is at least partly responsible, but also that the victimizer is not fully responsible for his crime. At best, it serves as an excuse; at worst, as a licence for rape with impunity.

Some feminists have scorned the protesters for trying to take the sting out of “slut.” “You are accepting a label that is intrinsically misogynistic, one that defines women by their sexual relationships and stilettos,” one British critic wrote. But these criticisms seem beside the point. The protesters’ humour and insistence on expressing themselves in words and clothing, on their own terms, may do more to explode the shame that still persists around rape than 1,000 feminist dossiers could do.

**********

Bridget Matros of Boston waits while Mara Brod, writes a slogan on her chest before the two participated in the "SlutWalk" in Boston Saturday, May 7, 2011, which organizers described as a demonstration against those who blame the victims of sex crimes. The walk was held in response to a Toronto police officer who said women shouldn't dress like "sluts" if they wanted to avoid being raped. (Josh Reynolds/AP)

Embrace your inner slut? Um, maybe not
MARGARET WENTE
From Thursday's Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May. 12, 2011 2:00AM EDT

I almost feel sorry for that Toronto cop who ventured on to the campus of York University to impart a few tips on personal safety. “I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this,” he told a handful of students last January. “However, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

You can imagine the outcry that ensued. Before you could blurt out the words “fishnets and bustiers,” an empowering new movement called SlutWalk had been born. Thousands of women marched through the streets of downtown Toronto to protest a blame-the-victim attitude that trivializes rape. “This thinking is unfortunately everywhere,” complained Heather Jarvis, a co-founder of SlutWalk.” We wanted to take back the word and sling it right back,” said co-founder Sonya Barnett.

Thanks to social media, SlutWalks are spreading far and wide. One was held in Boston on the weekend, and more are coming in England and Australia. “We live in a society where rape isn’t taken as seriously as it should be,” said Katt Schott-Mancini, an organizer of the Boston SlutWalk. The walks are drawing major media coverage, because news directors think their audiences will be stirred by images of valiant feminists reclaiming their power and their agency. Either that, or by images of nubile young women in thigh-high cutoffs and tube tops. You really have to wonder who’s using whom.

SlutWalks are what you get when graduate students in feminist studies run out of things to do. In fact, they’re flogging a dead mare. The attitude that rape victims bring it on themselves has largely (though not entirely) disappeared from mainstream society. When a Manitoba judge recently blamed the victim in a rape case for leading her attacker on, he was universally ridiculed. Everybody was amazed that any judge today would be so ignorant. It’s the same with the police. They’re not perfect, but they take sexual assaults far more seriously than they did in 1972. As for cases of domestic violence, laying charges is no longer optional. It’s mandatory.

The highly educated young women who join SlutWalks are among the safest and most secure in the world. But you’d never know it from the fevered rhetoric. According to one widely cited scare statistic cooked up by the American Association of University Women, no fewer than 62 per cent of female students say they’ve been sexually harassed at university – a figure that is credible only if you include every incident of being groped by some 20-year-old drunk. The student activists at York continuously insist that their own campus is a hotbed of violence and sexual assault, for which the university administration is to blame. The only remedy is mandatory anti-oppression training for all. (In fact, Toronto’s crime rate, and also York’s, is among the lowest in the country.)

So, is violence against women a non-problem? Absolutely not. It is a very large problem in a number of Canada’s South Asian communities, including some not far from York University. Some of York’s first-generation immigrant students are no doubt safer on campus than they are in their own homes. And the pervasiveness of violence against women across the North, and in certain aboriginal communities, shocks the conscience.

These women will not be helped by slogans and SlutWalks. What they really need is the dedicated efforts of people like Jenniferjit Sidhu, a young Toronto police officer who goes on domestic violence calls in South Asian neighbourhoods. “I’m a Sikh Punjabi female, so they may be able to relate to me a little bit better,” she says.

There’s no shortage of other causes for feminists to take up. There’s the juggernaut of ultra-hard-core online porn, which has coarsened the attitudes of millions of young men and made relations between the sexes far more problematic for many young women. Or how about the sickening slut-ification of preadolescent girls? Maybe we should get more outraged about that. Anything would be a big improvement over the narcissistic self-indulgence of the SlutWalkers. I guess they mean well. But really, they’re so … privileged.

**********

Is the name SlutWalk appropriate or offensive in your opinion?
Do you think such an event would be possible/ effective in your community/ culture?
What do you think of the potential for SlutWalks to affect real change in domestic violence, and sexual assault of women by men--or the prosecution of offenders--in your community/ culture?
Is the ability of social media to rapidly spread such a movement across countries and cultures, a plus, a minus, or a mixed blessing/ double-edged sword?
Would you (man or woman) participate in a SlutWalk?
Other comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

Related Post:
The G-20 Meet the GLBTQ

From the Dallas SlutWalk. A "Slut Ally".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Statement by the Sons of Osama Bin Laden: Conclusive Evidence; International Judicial Inquiry; Women and Minors Returned to the Family


Four sons of Osama bin Laden, thought to be the 3 eldest, as well as the named Omar bin Laden, have published a statement on their father's death in the New York Times. They released the statement with the help of Jean Sasson, an American writer and the woman who helped Omar bin Laden and his mother Najwah bin Laden write a memoir Growing Up Bin Laden (2009), an accounting of their life with Osama bin Laden to 1999, and Omar's wish to dissociate himself from the violent means being used by his father, at the same time protecting his mother and younger siblings from an increasingly hardship filled life. At that time Osama bin Laden granted them the right to leave. Omar has also spoken out publicly and clearly on many occasions, against the violent means used by his father, while maintaining his loyalty and respect for him as a father.

The statement reads much the same way. It specifically denies support for the extreme beliefs and violent means used by Osama bin Laden, but asks for the respect that should be accorded to him by international justice systems, and hence an investigation into his execution and that of others who were unarmed. It also asks that the women and children who had been living with him, (his wives, his children, and perhaps others under his protection) been returned to the family, that is to the protection and care of his eldest sons, as is customary.

The statement begins with a request for proof that their father was killed, and ends with at time limit of 30 days for satisfactory responses otherwise further legal action would be taken. These are standard openings and closings for legal statements, which are predicated on proofs before a grievance becomes actionable, and then sets time lines and consequences. In between, the sons address the issue of the burial or disposal at sea of Osama bin Laden's body, as opposed to returning it to the family for proper Muslim rites and burial.

While I don't condone Osama bin Laden's belief system or actions, I admire that his sons have released a statement that is respectful of their father and their culture, even as they distance themselves from his political beliefs and behaviours. The statement is in full accordance with norms of Western and international law, yet seeks to accomplish the usual Muslim customs around burial and custody of dependents. Indeed, as regards custody of minors and support for dependent wives, these norms are universal.


I admire the statement in the same way as I admire the stance of other children of "rogues". The children of General Mohamed Oufkir, Morocco's lead henchman during Hassan II's "Years of Lead", have never denounced their father for his professional actions. They have written books, and Malika's have been translated into English. The first, La prisonnière, translated as Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail was an Oprah's Book Club Selection, and earned her a place of honour on Oprah's couch. She maintains that she is unaware of and doesn't believe the cruelties for which her father is widely held responsible. The oldest son, Raouf, has written his own accounting of the punishment meted out by Hassan II to the General's wife and children (including the 2 year old), but maintains his father's innocence of a lifetime of crimes including 2 attempted coups d'état (the General "committed suicide while in custody" after the last one).


Raouf Oufkir is also engaged in media and legal battles with Béchir Ben Barka the son of one of his father's victims, Mehdi ben Barka--"Morocco's Che Guevara", and an activist for international revolutions of decolonization. Béchir is now a lawyer leading the way to find the truth of his disappearance off the streets of Paris. Implicated among others are: the French police, the French secret service, the Moroccan secret service, the CIA, Mossad, General Oufkir, and Driss Basri (last Minister of the Interior under Hassan II). Béchir's efforts on behalf of his father are also admirable.

Below is the statement from the sons of Osama bin Laden, as published in the New York Times (I have done no copy editing).


Statement From the Family of Osama bin Laden
Published: May 10, 2011

Statement from the family of Sheikh Osama bin Laden

I Omar Ossama Binladin and my brothers the lawful children and heirs of the Ossama Binladin (OBL) have noted wide coverage of the news of the death of our father, but we are not convinced on the available evidence in the absence of dead body, photographs, and video evidence that our natural father is dead. Therefore, with this press statement, we seek such conclusive evidence to believe the stories published in relation to 2 May 2011 operation Geronimo as declared by the President of United States Barrack Hussein Obama in his speech that he authorized the said operation and killing of OBL and later confirmed his death.

If OBL has been killed in that operation as President of United States has claimed then we are just in questioning as per media reports that why an unarmed man was not arrested and tried in a court of law so that truth is revealed to the people of the world. If he has been summarily executed then, we question the propriety of such assassination where not only international law has been blatantly violated but USA has set a very different example whereby right to have a fair trial, and presumption of innocence until proven guilty by a court of law has been sacrificed on which western society is built and is standing when a trial of OBLSadam Hussein and Serbian President Slobodan Miloševic'. We maintain that arbitrary killing is not a solution to political problems and crime's adjudication as Justice must be seen to be done.

It is also unworthy of the special forces to shoot unarmed female family members of Binladen killing a female and that of one of his son.

Most importantly, when it is a common knowledge that OBL's family is residing at one place outside KSA, why they were not contacted to receive his dead body. His sudden and un witnessed burial at sea has deprived the family of performing religious rights of a Muslim man.

Finally, now that the operation is concluded we wish the Government of Pakistan to release and hand over all minors of the family and all the family members are reunited at one place and are repatriated to their country of origin, especially female members of the family to avoid further oppression and we seek international support to that effect.

Without agreeing to the ways of OBL as to how he professed, believed and operated, We Omar Ossama Binladin, and my brothers, the lawful children of the Ossama Binladin (OBL) herewith demand an inquiry under UNO to reach to the accuracy of the facts as stated by United States into the fundamental question as to why our father was not arrested and tried but summarily executed without a court of law. We are putting these questions to the United Nations, OIC, President of United States that a necessary evidence is presented to the family in private and or public to make us believe what they claim, and all the remaining family members are repatriated and united after necessary initial investigation.

In making this statement, we want to remind the world that Omar Ossam Binladin, the fourth-born son of our father, always disagreed with our father regarding any violence and always sent messages to our father, that he must change his ways and that no civilians should be attacked under any circumstances. Despite the difficulty of publicly disagreeing with our father, he never hesitated to condemn any violent attacks made by anyone, and expressed sorrow for the victims of any and all attacks. As he condemned our father, we now condemn the president of the United States for ordering the execution of unarmed men and women.

Failure to answer these questions will force us to go to International forum for justice such as International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice and UN must take notice of the violation of international law and assist us to have answers for which we are lawful in seeking them. A panel of eminent British and international lawyers is being constituted and a necessary action may be taken if no answers are furnished within 30 days of this statement.

**********

Your comments, thoughts, impressions?

Related Posts:
A Post-Modernist Reading of the Obama-Osama Entwinement in History
On the Unseemliness of Holding a Pep Rally for a Military Killing: New York and Washington Festivities on the Announcement of the Death of Osama bin Laden
How Osama Transformed Obama
Osama bin Laden--Watching Himself on Television, Or...
Osama Bin Laden, Code-Named "Geronimo", Killed in a Pakistani Military Town/Former Hill Station of the British Raj: The "Ironies" Mount Upcoming

Monday, May 9, 2011

Osama bin Laden--Watching Himself on Television, Or...


The above picture is the one I have seen most often on news reports, on Osama bin Laden narcissistically watching himself on television, studying how he looks, what is being said about him, etc. Often, comment is made on the rickety state of the television and the room, and on Osama's aged, grey, hunched posture, huddled in a large old blanket.

A few questions come to mind.

Is that really Osama or is it one of those aged uncles many have, the one who drops in for a "visit", overstays, and is made comfortable, but not too comfortable?

Is this in his "cave in the mountains", or his million dollar compound/home in Abbottabad?

Is he really watching himself? Or were the screen pictures below superimposed? 


So far, the most consistent thought that comes to mind everytime I see the photos, is imagining Osama/Uncle of Osama, saying the Arabic equivalent of, "Blah, blah, blah, get on to the football scores".

Your comments, thoughts, impressions?

Related Posts:
A Post-Modernist Reading of the Obama-Osama Entwinement in History
On the Unseemliness of Holding a Pep Rally for a Military Killing: New York and Washington Festivities on the Announcement of the Death of Osama bin Laden
How Osama Transformed Obama
Osama Bin Laden, Code-Named "Geronimo", Killed in a Pakistani Military Town/Former Hill Station of the British Raj: The "Ironies" Mount Upcoming

How Osama Transformed Obama


I always look forward to editorials by Haroon Siddiqui, a senior journalist with better, more nuanced insight into West, Central, and South Asian issues than most. I found the following recent article interesting, and thought provoking--not least because I had misread the title (substituting mentally Osama for Obama, given the rest of the description), and wondered where he was heading with this. After I got to the end, I rechecked the title twice, and then realized where he had been heading all along. Even allowing for fatigue and distraction, the mental substitution I had made, and its persistence, is telling about how we perceive, and are encouraged to perceive, the two men.

I have highlighted the most significant final paragraphs, though it is best to read the whole to get the full impact, and especially for the US official and its officials' changes of position--or rather changing expressions of the same position. I also added pictures where the original included only Siddiqui's byline photo.

The comments from the "bleeding hearts on the left" thought to read the paper are "interesting".


Siddiqui: Obama’s evolution into a warrior
Published On Sun May 08 2011


In the old wild west of America, executed criminals were hung up in public squares. And photos of gunned down criminals — some featuring the triumphant sheriff and his posse — were widely circulated.

When they ruled Afghanistan, the Taliban used to string up executed criminals and political enemies on trees in traffic squares. Or they gathered people in stadiums to cheer the stoning of women.

Osama bin Laden’s killing was cheered by flag-waving crowds near the White House and Ground Zero, and in sports arenas with shouts of “U-S-A, U-S-A.” Star sports columnist Cathal Kelly observed: “By American lights, it was an emotional, patriotic spectacle. To this outsider, it had an unseemly aspect. A celebration of death smacks of a barbecue held outside the gates to the gas chamber.”

The end of bin Laden brought conflicting emotions for conflicting reasons from different people. Both his few admirers and his many haters demanded the grisly photo of his gunshot face. Both needed proof that he was dead. Others had a different rationale. Sarah Palin: “Show photo . . . It’s part of the mission.”

But Barack Obama had it right: “We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”

Yet the president and his administration are all tangled up in what, exactly, transpired during the daring raid.

Did bin Laden use his wife as a human shield? No.

Was he armed? No.

So how did he put up “resistance.” How was he in the “firefight” that killed him? No answer.

Were the commandos under orders to shoot on sight? No.

Yet Leon Panetta, CIA director, said: “The authority here was to kill bin Laden.”

Attorney-General Eric Holder: “It was a kill-or-capture mission. He made no attempt to surrender.”

Panetta: “The opportunity to capture never developed.”

Holder: The killing “was justified as an act of national self-defence.”

So bin Laden was not armed. He could have surrendered. But he was not given the time to surrender. He was killed not because he posed a danger to the commandos but rather a danger to America.

Obama: “We can say to those families who’ve lost loved ones to Al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.”

George W. Bush had said famously that he wanted bin Laden “dead or alive.” In his autobiography Decision Points, he writes of the failed 2001 mission to get bin Laden in the Tora Bora caves of Afghanistan: “I hoped I’d get a call with the news that Osama was among the dead or captured.”

Donald Rumsfeld, then defence secretary, writes in his own memoir, Known and Unknowns, that around the same time as Tora Bora, “I watched a Predator video feed of a tall, lanky man wearing a turban and white robes . . . There was not a doubt in anyone’s mind that the image on the screen in front of us was Osama bin Laden. As they made final preparations to take out the target, something spooked the man” and he took off. It turned out that he was not bin Laden.

Obama has now finished the mission as conceived by the Bush administration. He also finds himself in the embarrassing position of having to acknowledge that part of the intelligence for bin Laden’s killing came from water-boarding, which he had strenuously opposed and banned upon taking office. And that evidence may have been obtained at Guantanamo Bay, which he promised to close but has yet to.

Americans don’t care. Obama’s ratings are going up by the day.

Outside the U.S., the view is different.

Helmut Schmidt, former West German chancellor: “It was clearly a violation of international law.”

In Canada, the NDP’s Thomas Mulcair was raising the same issue — albeit clumsily — whether “we want to live in a world where things are based on vengeance or based on justice. Justice means we’re applying rules of law, whether international or domestic.”

That would have meant bringing bin Laden to trial.

Where? At the International Criminal Court, like Slobodan Milosevic. But the court’s jurisdiction dates back to 2002, not 2001. The UN Security Council could have set up an ad hoc tribunal.

Or the trial could have been held in the U.S — in a civil court (where? New York?) or at a military tribunal at Guantanamo.

However, the end of bin Laden avoids all such prolonged, legal niceties that are the foundation of a democracy. What remains are the cheers for a liberal law professor who has evolved into a warrior president and doled out justice the American way.

hsiddiqui@thestar.ca


**********


Another aspect of  how Osama has transformed Obama  is the upward bounce Osama has now given Obama--whereas the name game used to bounce Obama down, thanks to Osama, Islamophobia, and the perception that Obama and Democrats are soft on "turrer". Still, in 2012 will it be "all about the economy, stupid"?


Your comments, thoughts, impressions?

Related Posts:
A Post-Modernist Reading of the Obama-Osama Entwinement in History
On the Unseemliness of Holding a Pep Rally for a Military Killing: New York and Washington Festivities on the Announcement of the Death of Osama bin Laden
Osama Bin Laden, Code-Named "Geronimo", Killed in a Pakistani Military Town/Former Hill Station of the British Raj: The "Ironies" Mount Upcoming

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!


To all mothers, aunts, grandmothers,
and maternal figures
Happy Mother's Day!


Friday, May 6, 2011

On the Unseemliness of Holding a Pep Rally for a Military Killing: New York and Washington Festivities on the Announcement of the Death of Osama bin Laden

People celebrate in Times Square in New York City after the death of Osama bin Laden was announced by U.S. President Barack Obama May 2. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

I have had a number of reactions to the announced death of Osama bin Laden. None of them involved cheering. Fortunately, I discover I am not alone in finding the festivities at Ground Zero and the White House gates immediately following the announcement disturbing.

Some Americans have suggested that this isn't "the American way", while others insist that it is. Some have said it is derogatory to the grieving of the 9/11 victims by their families. Others think it is normal to wear face paint, wear and wave flags, and shout "USA! USA!" as if the high school football team had just scored the winning touchdown. They are more likely to believe that they as New Yorkers, or Americans were personally attacked by the 9/11 bombings. At the very least, they believe Team USA lost on a cheap goal, and now it is time to celebrate payback. They like to shout that "justice has been served".

Servicemen hang off a lamp post cheering in celebration as thousands of people celebrate in the streets at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center, waving American flags and honking horns to celebrate the death of Al Qaeda founder and leader Osama bin Laden on May 1, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Again, I am not alone in thinking that justice would have been better served differently. Justice is usually served in American values and legal ideals by bringing a criminal to trial, with a proper defense, a weighing of evidence, and meting out the appropriate judgment and sentence. I immediately thought of the Afghani offer to hand over Bin Laden IF he were given a fair trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

That was after they refused to give him over, and after the Bush administration threatened to "bomb them back to the Stone Age", but right before Bush declared war on Afghanistan as one of his wars on terror. Aside from all the other motives for declaring war on Afghanistan, some more noble and less oil-filled than others (Afghanistan sits on a strategic oil pipe route), in general the US doesn't like the International Criminal Court (ICC) much. While it has signed the treaty for its creation, it hasn't ratified the treaty, and does not participate.

Originally, it seemed that US reluctance about the ICC--aside from a general reluctance to participate in international organizations that they don't control--derived from the threat that Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State to Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, would be indicted for all those CIA take outs of democratically elected leaders around the world, effecting regime-change Mafia style, and backing/ fomenting wars that put military dictators in power for decades. However, given the mandate of the ICC to prosecute only crimes committed after its legal enforcement on July 1, 2002, that would seem unlikely. Nevertheless, President George W Bush must stay close to home, or at least within the US, lest he be held for indictment for the offenses of his Presidency.

International Criminal Court membership as of March 2011, Green Signed and Ratified, Orange Signed but Not Ratified

The confusing roll out/outing of information about the attack and killing of Bin Laden doesn't help of course. The initial story of the decisive, gutsy President Obama, who had the courage to order the attack, resulting in the firefight that US forces won against a protected and armed Bin Laden hiding behind a woman forced to act as a human shield has changed considerably.

I immediately thought of the story of the rescue of the brave Private Jessica Lynch, the young American who fought single handedly, wounded, holding off Iraqi attackers who had ambushed her peaceful supply convoy. Except that after all the propaganda video of the hospital rescue with the night vision goggles, and the Hollywood production values (literally), the welcoming home, and the rehabilitation, it turns out Private Lynch's rifle had jambed right away. As she said, "I went down on my knees praying". Jessica Lynch's greatest courage and biggest contribution to the war effort came from her setting the story straight. It seems they grow them good in Palestine, West Virginia.

One might say the same of US Ranger "Pat" Tillman, the NFL football star who gave up mega-bucks to fight in Afghanistan. After all the medals were awarded, the public funeral held for the hero who had charged solo up a hill urging his men on to fight a losing battle to the death--again after his convoy was ambushed--his family's persistence revealed a death by friendly fire of a man within his platoon ranks, and a high level cover-up for propaganda purposes.

At most recent recounting that I have heard, Osama bin Laden was killed on the third floor of his home, after a courier who was armed was killed, another unarmed courier, his unarmed son, and an unarmed as yet unidentified woman was killed in cross fire. His wife was shot in the leg after trying to rush the armed Navy SEALs to defend him. He was shot after he moved, presumably reaching for arms piled at the door.

This version has evolved partly to explain, or explain away, other versions that had inconvenient narrative turns. After the initial reports that Bin Laden was shot while unarmed and standing unprotected, the maybe he would be wearing a suicide vest explanation was tried until there was speculation that, if unarmed and not attempting to defend himself or show a clear sign of surrender, he may have been shot sleeping in his bed. Not such good propaganda value that.

Also, I guess others were wondering, as was I, about the wounded wife who was left behind when the SEALs left with Bin Laden's body. Shot in the leg? How badly? Where? Femoral artery? Bled to death? Bled to death with her children crying beside her? It seems that the extraordinarily clueless up to then Pakistani Army had the knowledge and wherewithal to find and capture her, the children, maybe 2 more wives, and another injured man. She is talking about the raid, as is a 12 year old daughter who witnessed her father's death--at least to Pakistanis, because the last I heard or read the US was still trying to gain access to interrogate further.

Such a nasty word, "interrogate", a far cry from "interview". And what with all the George W Bush cronies coming out of the woodwork to claim partial credit for this Special Ops "victory", one is reminded of "enhanced interrogation techniques", now euphemistically called "aggressive interrogation". Indeed, let us hope that the Obama administration, which signed extensions to so many of Bush's "war measures", doesn't go back on it's rejection of torture. Would there be a pep rally for information resulting from the waterboarding of the Mrs, or Bint Osama Bin Laden?

People gathered around the gazebo on Boston Common after President Barack Obama announced that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden and taken custody of his body May 2. (Cecille Avila for The Boston Globe)

When I began this post, I was still looking for a better term than "pep rally", since such rallies are usually held before the big game. Just now I thought of "victory celebration". I am sticking with pep rally though, because in fact, "the big game" is still being played. The War on Terror goes on, though renamed a variety of wars or actions. There are still combat troops in Afghanistan. Iraq has been a "don't let this happen to you" for MENA countries seeking democracy the more natural away. Guantanamo is still open for incarceration and "military trials". So, pep rally it is.

Revelers wrap themselves in U.S. flags near the White House after President Barack Obama announced that U.S. authorities have recovered the dead body of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, in the early morning hours in Washington, May 2. (Jonathan Ernst/AP)

A large, jubilant crowd reacts to the news of Osama bin Laden's death at the corner of Church and Vesey Streets, adjacent to ground zero, during the early morning hours of May 2, in New York City. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

Related Posts:
A Post-Modernist Reading of the Obama-Osama Entwinement in History
Osama Bin Laden, Code-Named "Geronimo", Killed in a Pakistani Military Town/Former Hill Station of the British Raj: The "Ironies" Mount Upcoming

See Also:
Rejoice in the Death of the Boogeyman?
Mommy, why are people celebrating Osama bin Laden's death?
Michael Moore To Piers Morgan On Bin Laden: 'We've Lost Something Of Our Soul' (VIDEO)

To his credit, President Obama had the right tone of solemnitude, in laying a wreath at Ground Zero to mark one form of closure to 9/11 in the killing of Osama bin Laden. (Photo: Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY)

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