Friday, June 29, 2012

Parades, memorials, a 2-year-old Iraqi girl dies

nnRyaheen Banimuslem is heading home after dying Wednesday.  The Sheffield Telegraph reports the  Iraqi girl was playing on a balcony when an apparently missing panel led to her falling four stories:  "Workers from Ryaheen's nursery, Bright Beginners, wept as they laid flowers for the little girl yesterday. Fellow pupils had made a poster of their handprints, surrounded by the words 'sweet dreams little angel'." Martin Slack (Yorkshire Post) reports, "It is understood that Ryaheen's parents [Bassem Alsabbagh and Hikmat Barnimuslem] were making arrangements to take their daughter to their home country of Iraq to be buried."  The family had been in England while the father pursued a doctorate at Sheffield Hallam University. 

A different kind of homecoming is scheduled for July 8th in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Charles McMahon (Sea Coast Online) reports that a parade -- Welcome Home End of Iraq War -- will be held two Sundays from now for veterans of the Iraq War and the Afghanistan War with Governor John Lynch and Susan Lynch serving as the grand marshals. In San Francisco, there's a new project to honor the fallen.   Tim Ryan (KCBS -- link is text and audio) reports on it.

Tim Ryan:  It's not a clean alley, it's got kind of a urine smell to it.  Why here?

Amos Gregory: Why here?  I was led here by a homeless vet that I was photographing.

Tim Ryan:  Navy veteran and artist Amos Gregory says Shannon Alley -- he and others refer to it now as "Veteran's Alley" -- is a place where homeless vets came to sleep, drink, shoot heroin and to use crack cocaine.

Amos Gregory:  We're doing all 4,484 names of all the US soldiers that were killed in Iraq and today we're just painting two names.

Tim Ryan:  Jose Gutierrez, the first war casualty, he says.  And [not interested] the last . . .

Sorry but I don't want those working the public e-mail account to be overwhelmed today as people insist on a correction.  Lt Shane Childers was the first US service member to die in the Iraq War.  If you want a correction to the above, you need to contact the radio station although it's couched in "he says" which allows them to avoid doing a correction.  Childers died March 21, 2003 and you can click here for NPR's All Things Considered's report on the death.  Gutierrez died later on the same day.

Not interested?  We're not interested in the last to die?  I'm not interested in offending the loved ones of the last to die and I don't believe the name given is accurate.  Why?


If you're saying that 4,484 have died in the Iraq War and currently the Pentagon is saying 4488 have died (chart above), I don't really trust that you know who was the last to die, sorry.

And I do question how CBS, KTVU and others all went out of their way to 'report' the "4,484" figure when a simple click at the Pentagon website would have told them that number was incorrect.  It's a good project but those involved better find the four other names and do so before they pronounce it 'finished'* or they're going to be offending people with a mural they intend to honor the fallen with.  (And those offended have every right to be.  If their loved one is one of the four, they have every right to say, "Uh, how did you overlook our loved one?")  KTVU notes, "Gregory said he got permission from the owners of four of the six buildings in the alley to paint murals there, including the 76-by-30-foot mural with the Iraq War soldiers' names."

*?  That may not be the end of the deaths.  I'm not referring to the US service members who remain in Iraq dying in the future though that is a possibility.  DoD has pledged that they will include those die of wounds received in Iraq.  If they were wounded during the phase known as "Operation New Dawn," they'll be noted there.  If they were wounded earlier, they will be included in the OIF figures.  While this mural or any similar project can't predict such deaths or be held responsible a year from now for failing to include them, these projects do need to include all that have died up to this point and missing four names is not going to cut it.

I'll be the one to point that out and really don't care.   We're noting the death of the 2-year-old Iraqi girl at the top due to e-mails.  We're noting the San Francisco mural due to friends (who will not be happy with my comments, tough).  I'm mentioning that because what we cover here comes from all over, strangers' suggestions, community members' input, friends, etc.  And anyone can make a suggestion but that doesn't mean I'll include it.  There are a lot of vengence stories that aren't really reporting.  If it's Iraqi anger at the US, I'm not really bothered by it and will include it when possible.  But I'm not interested in these so-called stories about Iraqi women that are just "evil Sunni" or "evil Shi'ite."  I'm also not interested in stories of female genital mutilation that don't have something to say.  We've covered FGM and we will continue to cover it.  But I'm not interested in a bunch of men weighing in on a topic that they clearly know little about.  (We're opposed to FGM, it's not an uncommon position.  But maybe some of the blowhards could stop gas bagging long enough to allow a woman to comment.)  And we've got enough to cover as it is (I'm hoping to include a Congressional hearing in today's snapshot and would also like to touch on refugees as well).

Related, as a woman and a feminist, I try to highlight women as much as possible here.  But I'm not interested, for example, in a piece by an idiot who talks about "our boys" with PTSD.  I'm especially not interested when the idiot writing that sexist b.s. is a woman.

I'll be the bitch when it's required.  I'll, for example, piss off friends who are working on the mural above.  That's fine.  Someone needed to step up, I'll do it.  But at this late date, why am I having to step up and point out that female service members suffer from PTSD?

At this late date, why?

I can remember early in the war attending Congressional hearings and my spine would stiffen as some male member of Congress would say "our boys" or "men" and ignore the women serving.  The awareness on women in the service is now so great that rarely do you hear that in a hearing anymore and, if you do, the member of Congress usually rushes to quickly ammend "and women" to his statement.

So why at this late date do I have to be the one to point out that "our boys" with PTSD is insulting and inaccurate as well as highly sexist?

Mother Jones and others have picked up on that awful article.  They have no standards.  I still have a few left and I'm not noting that garbage.  By the same token, we'll gladly note the Feminist Majority Foundation when it has something to say about women but I'm not interested in when they use their organization to pimp a man (not going to carry the crap about ObamaCare -- and I find it very interesting that they can issue that and post on that but they've yet to note at Ms. blog that Nora Ephron passed away -- I find that very interesting, very sad and highly disturbing). In an ideal world, every entry here would include a non-community member feminist.  But we don't live in an ideal world.  We live in a world where Ms. magazine, Women's Media Center and other feminist outposts decided not to say one damn word when Naomi Wolf began attacking two women who may have been raped, when Naomi Wolf began insisting that shield laws shouldn't apply to rape victims, etc.  She should have been told to sit her ass down.  Everyone should have done what Ava and I did -- point out Naomi's own involvement in a gang rape (laughing the morning after with the rapists and refusing to stick up for the woman because she didn't want to be considered a lesbian).  Instead, they played dumb and, in doing so, hurt the feminist movement.

I hope one day that feminist organizations exist to help women, to promote women.  But that's not the case today.  They exist to do the 'man's business.'  So they stay silent when rape victims are attacked if the left edict is that a man must be protected.  So they disgrace themselves calling a sexist man "what feminism looks like."  They abandon the women around the world who need a spotlight to instead do the pre-war roll out for the US government.  That's not feminism.  And pretedning that Anne-Marie Slaughter -- elitist and War Hawk -- is someone that women should be listening to is just further proof of the continued problems at the top where 'leaders' repeatedly fail to lead.

The following community sites -- plus Tavis Smiley, Pacifica Evening News and NYT's At War -- updated last night and this morning:

And Ann's "13 men, 6 women," Ruth's "Valentino" and Mike's "Anthony Lane" also went up last night (theme posts) but they're not showing above.  We mentioned Nora Ephron in a parenthetical above.  Earlier this week, I noted that The Bat Segundo Show did one of the best interviews with Nora.  They've got a whole new line up with many interesting guests (I know Sarah and will make a point to listen to her interview this weekend).  From The Bat Segundo Show:

Greetings from The Bat Segundo Show, a cultural radio program devoted to goofy, thoughtful, and informed conversations with the cultural figures and intriguing minds of our time. You can listen to the show at the main site or subscribe through iTunes. (We've also just given our sister site, Reluctant Habits, a cleaner redesign better tailored for multiple devices.)
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National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward tells us how an emotional hurricane led her to write a novel about Katrina. Legendary author Samuel R. Delany discusses transgressive behavior and people who are diaphanous to the forces of history.
Journalist Timothy Noah breaks down income inequality. Elizabeth L. Cline outlines the hidden costs of disposable fashion and what we wear. And Breasts author Florence Williams reveals how untold chemicals are altering women's bodies.
How meta can a memoir get? Do you have to disguise yourself more when your edge of the world gets co-opted by mainstream culture? And how does Virginia Woolf and Donald Winnicott play into all this? In our third conversation with the magnificent Alison Bechdel, we spend an unusual hour exploring these questions and more.
And don't miss our banter with the young artist Molly Crabapple, who spent an entire week holed up in a hotel room covering the walls with her drawings. What drive and sacrifice did it take for Crabapple to make it?
Last but not least, in our continuing efforts to talk with sharp Canadians, we spent quality time with two of them. How does exploring adultery reveal a culture increasingly uncomfortable with emptiness? We get into this with thespian turned auteur Sarah Polley on the occasion of her latest film, Take This Waltz. Novelist Emily St. John Mandel discusses the freedom of not knowing where you're going and fictitious cars, among other quirky topics.
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Our third conversation with the magnificent Alison Bechdel, involves Are You My Mother and gets into Donald Winnicott, Virginia Woolf, and the risks of mainstreaming culture. This show also includes what may be the highest-pitched “What?” ever uttered by Our Correspondent. (Link to show.)
On the occasion of Delany’s ambitious 800-page novel, Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders, the always interesting Delany discusses transgressive behavior, people diaphanous to the forces of history, and Peter Jackson’s King Kong remake as Wagnerian epic. (Link to show.)
The National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones talks with us about America and mythology, the physicality of characters, insensitive reactions to Hurricane Katrina, and the unstoppable emotional force that comes when telling the truth. (Link to show.)
The long-time Canadian thespian discusses Take This Waltz, her second stint in the writer/director chair. But the conversation shifts into unexpected topics such as Toronto's gentrification, adulterous metaphors, how men react, and the importance of living with flawed people. (Link to show.)
This entrepreneurial and sui generis artist spent an entire week holed up in a hotel room covering the walls with her drawings. But what kind of drive and sacrifice did it take for Crabapple to establish her Dr. Sketchy schools? (Link to show.)
In our continuing efforts to talk with as many sharp Canadians as we can, novelist Emily St. John Mandel elucidates the freedom of not knowing where you’re going and fictitious cars. There are also efforts to introduce the word “dequirkify” into the English language. (Link to show.)
This cheery yet candid discussion on income inequality gets into the collapse of the American labor movement, the drop-off in upward mobility, declining wages, and whether American exceptionalism has a natural expiation date. (Link to show.)
What is the impact of cheap disposable clothing? Does America require an army of fashion alterers and traveling seamstresses? And how is haul video culture responding to and exacerbating the problem? This conversation with the author of Overdressed attempts to answer these questions Link to show.) (
The author of Breasts discusses their complicated history, reveals some of the untold chemicals that may be permanently altering women’s bodies, and responds to Our Correspondent’s rather odd and audacious ideas about a human dairy industry. (Link to show.)

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