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They Took Her

 They took Amina. Fuck. [IMPORTANT UPDATE! See in the end.]

It was to be expected, of course. Doesn't make it less horrible. Amina is an out gay blogger in Damascus, out of all places. And, of course, she is against Assad's regiment. If you never heard of her, please read this story. It is amazing. It tells about two armed security service thugs who came into Amina's home, intending to rape and beat her in front of her father, for the things she writes in her blog. The amazing thing is what Amina's father did. If someone asked me, I would not believe that people like these guys could be persuaded with words and reason. But that is exactly what Amina's dad manged to achieve, in that horrible situation. He talked to these guys, after which they apologized and left. Unbelievable.

But, of course, that could only delay the inevitable. Amina and her father soon had to go underground, hiding... and now the fuckers got her. She is probably in prison. I don’t want to think what she is going through...

I read many things in Amina's blog -- it is a fascinating glimpse into life in Syria. While I disagree with her on some issues, I couldn't count the times when I was thinking “Oh, if only more Muslims were like her, the world would be a much better place”. Above all, I am in awe of her decision to stay in her country, in order to fight and make it better. Frankly, I would not do the same. (I am actively not doing the same, to be precise -- I am leaving Israel). People like her amaze me... partially because, at first glance, they are not much of fighters -- comparing to the forces they are against. I mean, come on -- what can they do? Write about freedom? While their opponents shoot, beat, and rape them? What chance does Amina have -- a young spectacle-wearing girl, this flower of liberty, equality and brotherhood -- against forces of medieval darkness, combined with modern weapons?

And yet... in the long run, Amina will win. “Потому что любовь и здравый смысл хоть и не сразу, но всегда побеждают ненависть и хуету. Так устроен этот мир, и геи тут не при чем.” (“Because love and common sense always, albeit slowly, triumph over hatred and bullshit. That is how the world works, and it has nothing to do with gays.”) These are the words of Elena Kostuchenko, who does in Russia the same thing that Amina does in Syria. I disagree with her second sentence, though. The world does not work this way -- it is people like her and Amina who make it so.


UPDATE: LOL, you're not going to believe this! Or maybe you are. Now that I look back even at my own post, this surely explains a few things. Huh, sometimes when we say "unbelievable", we actually turn out to be right...

An interesting thing: the first and most prevalent emotion I felt when finding out that Amina never existed was... relief. Thinking about her hurt me, and now this hurt dissapeared. The second emotion was sadness. So there are no out gay women in Damascus after all, eh? It made me think about what this guy did. People all over the world are cursing him now. I don't agree with him either. I'm against lies on principle. I think that he meant well, but failed. Not just because of the lies, but because his fictional character set a pretty high bar. He thought that maybe people will begin to identify more with the plight of the real Syrians now; but I'm afraid they will go more like "Now that we know that no Aminas actually exist there, screw this country". It will be difficult for real people to match Amina.

What do you think?


Life Of Pi

This is an email I wrote nearly 5 years ago. It talks about the book “Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel (btw., this post contains spoilers of it. If you intend to read the book -- which I wouldn’t recommend -- stop reading here). I still remember the novel well, and it was interesting to see how I myself changed over these years. The email was sent to a then friend of mine, who praised the book highly. Here it is, nearly unedited (and I apologize for my informal English, which was worse then):

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And The First Place Goes To...

This is from 2007, but I only now heard of it (via talash ). This is, officially, The Most Stupid Leftist Thing I have ever heard. And I've heard plenty! I have friends on both sides who love to point and laugh at the crazy. But this... this is truly unique. I dare even you, chasovschik , to come up with a better candidate for the ultimate all times leftist-gone-bonkers award!

Without further ado, lo and behold: an Israeli graduate student publishes an award winning research paper where she calls IDF soldiers racists for not raping Palestinian women. No, it's not The Onion, before you ask. It's real.

*still laughing hysterically*

UPDATE: this is a more reasonable take on what she wrote, from someone who actually read her entire thesis (which is not available anymore, for some reason). Very informative, and highly recommended!


My Sweet Mom Made This For Us

My wonderful mom, roztamara, has a hobby: pottery. I'm no expert, but I (along with many of our friends and relatives) think she is very talented. Here are some more things she made. But this teapot she just finished especially for Danny and me:

Note the symbol on the book the first cat is reading: the infinity heart, a common polyamory symbol. Danny and I were recently interviewed (among others) for Tel Aviv's Timeout magazine in a large article on polyamory (Hebrew, page 32), and this, I think, was mom's way to show her love and support of us. It's unbelievably awesome, and we both are completely floored by the gesture!

Mom, we are so, SO lucky to have you! We love you!

Ola & Danny

Not All Like That

This is something that I changed my mind about only relatively recently. Only a few years ago, my reaction to fundamentalist Muslims and their actions was “It is such a pity that a small percentage of crazy fundies poisons our perception of an entire religion!”

It isn’t any longer.

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Dan Savage FTW Again

Most of my problems with monogamy are not with monogamy per se, but with the way that it is commonly implemented. For example, a big pet peeve of mine is the unrealistic expectation that people in happy relationships will never be attracted to someone else. Dan Savage rants about it here much better than I would (in reply to a letter from a woman having a crush on a friend of her boyfriend): 

This is a point you hear people—columnists, counselors, Drs. Laura and Phil—making all the time: Married/partnered people who are happy at home don't experience crushes on others. The eyes of happily partnered people—to say nothing of their genitalia—never wander. So if you're having a crush on someone you're not supposed to, well, that must mean something is very seriously wrong with your relationship. It's a symptom. Of something dire.

This, of course, is complete and total bullshit. Happily married/partnered/boyfriended/girlfriended people have crushes on other people all the time. Not because we're unhappy or because there's something wrong with us or because our relationships are somehow diseased. It happens because—I hope everyone is sitting down for this—however attracted we are to our spouses/partners/boyfriends/girlfriends, other people are also attractive.

So it's entirely possible that you have a crush on this guy, UOF, because he's hot and you want to fuck him, independent of your feelings for your boyfriend and/or his graduate program. Crushes are normal, and our relationships—closed or open—would be less stressful if we weren't expected to pretend that we never find anyone else attractive. And our relationships would be more likely to survive the inevitable, normal, natural crushes-on-others if we weren't led to believe that attraction is a zero-sum game, i.e., that finding someone else attractive means you must find your partner less attractive.

Poly vs. Mono: Which One Is Harder?

My good friend, emi_ka, told me once: “You know, I suspect that people who are not like you or Danny only attempt open relationships to please their partner, which brings them a lot of suffering and usually ends very badly”.

By “like you or Danny” my friend meant people to whom open relationships are natural – people who were seemingly born without the part of the brain responsible for jealousy. Danny and I have always been polyamorous – long before we were together, long before we knew there was a word for people like us. But most people in open relationships of various kinds are not like that; they began with monogamy, and later changed their minds.

I said a few things to Emilia in response to this, and I will repeat them here; but the funny thing is that now, when I thought about this more, I tend to actually agree with her! At least, agree more than I used to.

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Por Toda A Minha Vida

 One of the cool things about learning a foreign language is being able to understand the words of these wonderful songs that I love so much. But sometimes it backfires! Big time.

All of you out there who don't speak Portuguese -- rejoice! Because you can enjoy this divine, amazing song by Elis Regina even more than I did:

Just don't look for the translation of the lyrics. It's about love -- let it stay at that.

500 Days of Summer

If you suffered through this movie the way I did, you probably really need this to help wash off the aftertaste:

That's it, I have nothing to add. Tim Minchin said it all better than I would. 

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To Wed Or Not To Wed?

                                                                          Him that I love, I wish to be free -- even from me.
                                                                                                               -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

So, Danny and I have been thinking about getting married. No, it does not mean we are about to do it; it means that we are, for the first time, seriously considering it. The people who know us for a long time know that we always firmly opposed to getting married. So, did we change our mind? In a single word – yes; we had a few strong reasons to oppose marriage, but recently we discovered that a) one of them doesn't hold water b) there are pretty good reasons to get married (that we haven't considered before, or that weren't important to us before). Unfortunately, our other reasons do still hold, so we are a bit torn on this right now.

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