My body is a pasttime
My mind is a simple joy
I learned my lesson
The hardest way
But you don't know me
But you don't know me
A complete inhuman
- Sonic Youth "Inhuman"
Yesterday on NPR, Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times was interviewed about his series that ran in the Op-ED columns, on his travels into Cambodia to document and then free, by purchase, teenage sex slaves being kept in brothels in Poitpet.
In the interview , he talks about how he struggled with two things, one being that as a journalist, you are not suppose to involve yourself in the story - you are supposed to have distance, and that is the locus, the cynosure of the sort of reporting he is doing. He said to just leave this place, leave these young girls - 13-18 there to rot and die from AIDS, to just pop in, get his story, check his facts, hold thier lives ( or, rather, their lack of) and their plight up to the light for his own well-meaning ends was not something he could do.So he purchased them. And, secondly, that purchasing the slave-girls is not the best solution. It's not 'the solution" -- as it literally feeds the slave economy -- just as saying, buying a lot of cocaine does not end the drug trade -- but that just getting the two girls out and into new lives, real lives worth living is better than bailing, blind-eyed and long-armed in the name of journalistic restraint and professional propriety.
Also, he asserts that the only way for this merchantry of girls to stop, is for the lives of women, and girls to be fully valued and fully accepted as important, equal, as human as men. Worth educating, worth beyond the most basic purposes a woman/girls body can be used for.
He says : Some 700,000 people are trafficked around the world each year, many of them just girls. They form part of what will be the paramount moral challenge we face in this this century: to address the brutality that is the lot of so many women in the developing world".
It's nice to see someone is taking things seriously.
Earlier this week, I saw bell hooks do a reading at the Harold Washington Library. I was very excited, as I had never seen her speak, since discovering her work two years ago. I was so ravenous and hungry for her sweetness and, as they say in the Bible, 'the good news" that she speaks. I kind of felt like a new-divorcee on a date. I like it when people tell the truth, and I like that in her books are of a simple language, especially the later ones, as they cover topics that are usually unmercilessly coated in high-walled academic language. In one of the six or seven books of hers that I have read, she talks about how the big ideas that she writes about, anti-capitalism, feminism, community - the ideas that can lift people up -- need to be accessible to the people who need that most.
That idea liberated my life, and continues to.
I feel like with her books, she is Rapunzel, up in the Ivory Tower, throwing down her long, braided locks so "we" can climb up to where the most potent knowledge is.
Right now, I am extra in love with mz. hooks wild style as I am embarking on the embarking of applying to a program of education. Which is funny to me, seems strange even, that, finally; after 9 years since graduating from high school with a barely C-plus-ish average, after starting "successful" business, inspite of being auto-diactic and having thick books by Moyers, Cheever and Merton on the stand next to my bed right now --- I want to go to college. I want to go into the world of formal-education and let my world be revolutionized by ideas and teachers and worlds of books. And learn about poetry, Dinosaurs, air and goverments. Just thinking about it makes me sweat!
A couple male friends, who I assume are just curious, or maybe, flatteringly, they just think I am smart enough as-is, have asked "Why do you want to go to this college/this program so bad?" or "Why?", assuming it's about wanting into academia, or maybe some sort of professional advancement plan. Part of me understands the Why question and can explain that more and more I come up against what I do not know - theories, histories, language, ideas -- the advanced cartographies of higher knowledge - and cannot get around them by my lonesome -- and that I am very smart and it would likely benefit the world for me to be more educated because I am capable of good works...
The other part of me is sad why anyone is asking me "why?".
Maybe I should go with the simple answer next time: Three different guys who were trying to get in my pants gave me books on Marxism as presents, but all three books were super academic and I could not get through them, and here it is two years later and I am still very curious, but very unsure of what Marxism is. I do not want my sole education to be purgatorily via mix-CDs and book-gifts from dudes who want to fuck me.
In parting: I am reading the book of hooks' I purchased, The Will to Change: Men Masculinity and Love, and I called Julianne to read her some parts, ( I ended up reading her most of the preface) but, this was the part that made my heart stop and swell up under my ribs, and is the same passage that made Julianne reply by saying "Ho-LEE Shit, dude" at least three times.
"Women and Children all over the world want men to die so that they can live. This is the most painful truth of male domination, that men weild patriarchal power in daily life in ways that are awesomely life threatening, that Women and children cower in fear and various states of powerlessness, believing that the only way out of thier suffering, their only hope is for men to die, for the patriarchal father not to come home."
"The lack of such writing [on the topic of men] intensifies my sense that women cannot fully talk about men because we have been so well socialized in patriarchal culture to be silent on the subject of men. But more than silence, we have been socialized to be keepers of grave and serious secrets -- especially those that could reveal the everyday stratedgies of male domination, how male power is enacted and maintained in our private lives."
Holy shit, and then some.Posted by Jessica at February 8, 2004 07:01 PM | TrackBack