civil rights

Alex Karydi's picture

Why you should fight for Civil Rights!

“All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

Thomas Jefferson (American 3rd US President (1801-09).

Author of the Declaration of Independence. 1762-1826)

 

~The Lesbian Guru

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Christina Engela's picture

Who Are We? Why Are We Here?

I sat down this morning wondering what our community is all about. I'm thinking about the Pink Community of course. Pink, because of the confusing array of acronyms we apply to describe ourselves, that almost always put some sub-groups before others, and invariably leave someone out. Pink, because of our association with the feminine, with the notion that we break the boundaries set for us by society, and because it flies in the face of some beliefs that pink represents weakness and inferiority - an idea some are growing to realize is not the case at all.

Who does our community include? Well, anyone who breaks the stereotype, any person who does not feel the description of straight and cis-gender describes them. Anyone who does not fit into the neat, ordered little pigeon-holes designated for them by a straight, patriarchal society that decrees males shall behave like this, and females shall know their place, and behave like this, and be subservient to the male. It includes anyone who does not feel comfortable with these designated roles, and refuses to accept having them forced on them, being more inclined to fight for their freedom and equality.
Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Am I Bad Feminist?

I have a confession to make. I know jack squat about feminist theory.  No, really, it’s true. I’m busted!  You found me out!  I’ve never read The Feminine Mystique (I can’t even tell you who wrote it with utmost certainty), I’ve never read The Second Sex (the only reason I know who wrote that is because I love me a French existentialist), and I have no idea what the difference is between first wave, second wave, or third wave feminism.  Seriously, I have no idea.  Although, I’m confident enough that I could probably fake my way through a pretty decent guess.  At least with someone who didn’t know any better.  And even then most of what I’ve picked up is from movies, TV, and every other form of media, but then only by chance.

I can pretty much count on my fingers the number of books I’ve read that weren’t novels and that were somewhat related to feminist theory.  I remember when I was about 18 I bought two books from the woman’s studies section at the new Indigo bookstore in downtown Montreal the titles of which were Bitch and Slut.  The only reason I picked up these particular books is because of their succinct and titillating titles.  I only got around to reading them about four years later and anyone with a mind can figure out the premises: i.e. women who hold power are bitches and women who have sex are sluts.

Christina Engela's picture

Reja-vu

POI is getting a white-wash from government, and from figures who think it is a good idea to censor the free Press. Some say it will redress the wrongs under the still existing (yet hardly enforced) Apartheid-era secrecy law. (Of course they are hoping that by using the "A-word" the lemmings will decide in favor of the POI without bothering to think further than - "oh it must be better then".) Instead of just scrapping it, or using the original draft replacement law from three years ago, which was in line with democratic values - they want to replace it with an "upgrade", a V2.0 - no doubt soon to be followed by an "Apartheid v2.0". The working title for this little exercise in retribution could be something on the lines of "the Formerly Oppressed Strike Back", and we all have a pretty good idea of who the main characters will be, and how it will play out. After all, we've seen it all before - just across the border in what used to be a fairly prosperous neighboring country.

While the in-fighting between the different splinter-groups within the "Tripartite Alliance" and the ANC itself can be very amusing at times, mostly it is worrying and damaging to our young and currently faltering democracy. Most especially of concern are the shenanigans of the ANCYL leader, who is single-handedly demonstrating to us just how close we are to a complete failure of that democracy. If he isn't criticizing the Constitution or democratic values, or his own superiors in the ruling party, or its alliance partners, or the country's President - then he appears to be setting himself up to replace them. And goodness knows, nobody in the ANC ever seems to have the balls big enough to give that disruptive little communist the WWF smack-down he seems to be cruising for. No other political party in the world, no matter how liberal, would put up with this level of international embarrassment on account of a mere YOUTH league representative and employee. But yet, they do - and every day Kiddie Amin seems to be increasingly a law unto himself, egged on by his masses of ignorant and uneducated supporters with one foot still in revolutionary thinking.

Every day we South Africans have grown used to watching the news to see this buffoon open his mouth to change feet at our expense.

Give people like this enough time and enough room to maneuver and pretty soon they will be making official statements about how "un-African" certain diverse groups are, how "threatening" and how "immoral" - while of course using ideologies foreign to Africa as a means to decide what "un-African" means.
Christina Engela's picture

Blah, Blah, Click, Click

I don't think laws in South Africa are formulated by the SA people anymore - these days laws just break the news when they are about to be passed by parliament - like the POI and Media Tribunal - and as they clearly demonstrate, these are one-sided and extremely partisan, working against democracy. This is not transparency, this is not "due process". We need more "Glasnost" in South Africa!

Everywhere, I hear people complaining about politicians and politics, people whining that "The elected should remember how they got elected - and every decision they take should be given the litmus test "Is this good for the people?". When they remember that being elected is an expression of trust by the people and not a ticket to entitlement we might get somewhere."

Of course, as this person (a good friend of mine from High School days) says - "If anyone looks up the dictionary definition of democracy they might be in for a shock."

Chambers dictionary defines democracy as - "a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people collectively, and is administered by them or by officers appointed by them; the common people; a state of society characterized by recognition of equality of rights and privileges for all people; political, social or legal equality."

And as he pointed out: "Now, where exactly does it say "majority rule"? Democracy means that every person has an equal voice - and equal responsibility."

Thank you Morne' - *applause* - If everyone thought like that (in particular the last sentence), I would have no problem getting volunteers to help in canvassing or advocacy. Clearly, not everyone thinks the same way, or even thinks at all. We live in a culture of placing blame, passing the buck and scapegoating. But my friend's observations did not end there, however.
Christina Engela's picture

Take A Stand

Many people are talking about leaving South Africa for greener pastures. Who can really blame them? With a government seemingly doing its best to ruin the country after the brilliant success of the Soccer World Cup a few short months ago, who isn't left with a sense of shock and uncertainty? With a multi-pronged attack on democracy and the underpinnings of the Constitution coming from various government departments, the future for South Africans seems bleak indeed. But never so bleak as when there is a realistic chance of standing up to the hijackers of democracy - and those who should be taking a stand are doing so in the emigrations queue at the airport.

There are days when I feel the same way - for example, when I see apathy all around me. Two weeks ago I was at a petition signing against the "Protection of Information" Bill and Media Tribunal. So many people just shrugged and said "it won't help" or they "don't do politics". Of course it won't help - if people think as they do. They have given up, surrendered without a fight. They're impotent, defeated. Others are so STUPID they don't even know what "freedom of the press" even means. And yes, of course - they went to school. What they did there though, is anybody's guess. It is so frustrating.

Being involved with an Opposition party, I hear things. I hear how positive they are about the coming municipal elections in 2011 and general elections in 2014. They really believe they can win. They really believe we can get this country back on track. And I'm going to do more than just sit back and give them a chance to prove it, I'm going to help them make it happen.
Christina Engela's picture

The Trouble With Censorship Is XX XXXX XXXXXXX

The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced plans to ban pornography on the internet. Also mentioned prominently in the article is their partner in this affair - The Justice Alliance of South Africa, a small right-wing Christian fundamentalist organization which has in the very recent past, lobbied against abortion rights for women, and whose Honorary Director was involved in Doctors For Life, which actively opposed same-sex marriage in the courts a few years ago.

The JASA (Justice Alliance of SA) is no more than a small group of religious conservatives, whose Board consists of only one legal practitioner and several Pastors - professing to be a legal group, with an eye on determining the morality of an entire nation. They of course oppose gay civil rights among other things, such as minding other people's business and seem intent on pushing a religious fundamentalist agenda in influencing government.

This proposed law banning internet pornography uses as motivation the "protection of children" and "good morals" and "family values" - sorry I think I'm in the wrong room, pastor - is this the Values Voter Summit by any chance?
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