We Should All Be Feminists & Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Fay Van Kerckvoorde

Why should we be feminists? Why not egalitarians?

“Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general- but to choose to use the vague expression human rights (or egalitarians) is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender.

It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human.

For centuries, the world divided human beings into two groups and then proceeded to exclude and oppress one group. It is only fair that the solution acknowledge that.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (°1977 in Nigeria) is the bestselling author of novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun,The Thing Around Your Neck (short story collection) and Americanah.

She also…

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Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Fay Van Kerckvoorde

“Colour-blindness is a childish, stunted analysis of racism. (…) Not seeing race does little to deconstruct racist structures or materially improve the conditions which people of colour are subject to daily. In order to dismantle unjust, racist structures, we must see race.”

Reni Eddo-Lodge is a London-based, award-winning journalist. In 2014, she wrote the explosive blog post Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race and expanded it into a book in 2017.

Passionately, Eddo-Lodge tackles the Britain society that is structurally racist. She talks about the history of race and race discrimination and shows how unconscious biases seeps into all aspects of our life – education, work, health, housing, safety and justice. Even if you are free of racist prejudices as an individual, you can’t ignore how powerful structural racist discrimination is and (unconsciously) influences people’s behavior and thoughts.

“White privilege is an absence of the negative…

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Kia Mataara : Resources from Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust

Leonie Pihama

Tēnā koutou katoa,

This blog is to share the Kia Mataara series of resources on the history of Aotearoa and a range of political issues up to the end of the 1990’s. The Kia Mataara series was created by Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust.

Last year I was given permission to digitally reproduce this series so that it could be made more widely available. This is the first public sharing of the resources in digital form with the agreement of those that produced the publications. Finding a full set of the publications took some time and it was Bronwyn Yates and Barbara Menzies that provided the set that is held by Literacy Aotearoa to enable the digitising of the series. The series was produced through the efforts of Kia Mōhio Kia Mārama Trust and the graphics for the series were created by Moana Maniapoto. What is clear is that this…

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How to expand subjective time during the lockdown.

Conscious Cookies

A three-step technique for creating space, slowing down and enhancing creativity.

“When one has much to put in them, a day has a thousand pockets.”

– Nieztsche

One of the challenges of living, working and socializing all from home during this Pandemic-induced lockdown is that the spatial structure of our days has been largely dissolved: where before we’d have a repertoire of different spaces for different activities, now everything’s happening at home.

If you think about a typical pre-COVID day for someone who works in an office for example, events are naturally distinguished by where they take place.

In my case, I’d get up, exercise in the park, cycle to the office, work and have discussions in different meeting rooms, go out for lunch, return to the office, go for a walking meeting, perhaps zip across town for a meeting in a café; and then after work, I’d often meet…

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Unfinished Business: Moving beyond the Australian National Apology (2008) towards Indigenous justice

The BSC Blog

Sharon Hartles photoSharon Hartles is a MA Postgraduate Crime and Justice student with the Open University.  She has an interest in crimes of the powerful, including state and state-corporate crime.  In an explicit attempt to move beyond criminology, she draws upon a zemiological approach to evidence the social, political and economic context in which crime is produced and interwoven into society via socio-economic inequalities.

On the 13th February 2008, the seventy-third day of his Prime Ministership and his first act of office, the then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd (on behalf of the government) moved a motion of Apology to the Indigenous Australians in which he stated: “For the pain, suffering and hurt of the stolen generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we are sorry”. Dominant mediated discourse formulated The National Apology in order to offer the spirit of healing, to enable a future in which a new page in…

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Foraging for the soul

As Aotearoa settles down into the second week of the lockdown, we also head into the Holy Week, Easter and the Passover. It’s a weird time to be experiencing all of this. All the while, my own family completely ignore the lockdown whilst Covid-19 sweeps through society (in Australia not here – and yes I’m calling them out). The Passover irony is that those who don’t listen to the rules and breach the lockdown end up catching the disease.

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I’m not saying that Covid-19 is a God-ordained plague. Or that passover and a lockdown have any strong comparisons – although there may be something to be said about staying inside to avoid a pandemic compared with following a ritual so bad spirits & bad vibes don’t come and wreck havoc on your household. I’m not knowledgeable enough to make such an opinion. The point I’m trying to drive home is that, I generally feel sombre around this time because Easter is a symbolic story that gets me introspective (i.e. that feeling at the end of the year when you look back at what you’ve achieved? At this time I look back at my spiritual health and look at the lack thereof any soulfood). Coupled with a national Emergency Alert and lockdown because of a global pandemic – I’m a bit more unsettled than usual. I don’t usually engage in emotional outbursts these days because I like to keep drama-free generally, but when I feel anxious – I turn into a hermit and go through peaks and troughs of overthinking and blankness. Hermit-life isn’t an entirely bad thing at the moment.

The Jewish Passover ritual involved the smearing of the blood of a sheep on the top and sides of the doorway to the home so that demonic forces wouldn’t enter. During the Exodus, when Pharaoh refused to obey God’s command to release the Israelite slaves, it was the 10th plague that God inflicted on the ancient Egyptians, resulting in the death of the first born of each household that didn’t keep that Jewish ritual. There were several other related rituals that were kept with the Passover, however this one, transferred from the old testament to new testament is recognised in the Christian celebration of Good Friday, the evening when Jesus was crucified as the Passover lamb – rooted in the Jewish ritual mentioned. 

I remember when I first learned about colonisation and weaponised religion. I still haven’t entirely reconciled my indigineity with my Christian upbringing. At the moment the two frameworks sit side-by-side in my understanding, both serving a purpose when I’m trying to process and understand something. I don’t ignore what colonialism has done to Polynesian people and some of the worlds indigenous populations. However, I try to focus on the fact that Christianity (stripped of the euro-centric messengers that on many interpretations though maybe not always, weaponised it against the worlds indigenous), is about another group of people that were persecuted because of how they chose to live and their belief system. I know that’s oversimplified af but racism and prejudice have lot to answer for generally from the start of time.

Thankfully, a good friend and spiritual mentor introduced me to Messianic Christianity some 5 or so years ago (Bible teaching from a Jewish perspective, sans most of the eurocentrism and fluff picked up from all the different versions of Christianity and evangelism over the centuries). And I’ve done my share of church shopping in search of a fellowship, teaching and an approach that was based on principle, reason and logic (as much as you could get within the context of some of the unfathomable things covered in the bible).

I’ve neglected this part of myself and mind for the last 3+ years. By neglect, I mean that I haven’t been reading, critiquing for myself and applying any scripture in my life (and I do enjoy this once I get going – it’s like the momentum of picking up a training routine). I haven’t been keeping fellowship with people who are doing exactly that, although I once  was. I’ve got some amazing friends who are Christian, Atheist and Polytheistic but not friends that I talk about this with regularly. And I have no excuse other than – the process is confronting; change is annoying, frustrating and hard!

I’ve only been taking baby steps in this part of my life during that time so, the intention here is to start walking properly and consistently. When I think about this part of my life, I get overwhelmed and just put it in the “I’ll do it later” kete. Since I can’t muck around or have a social life during this lockdown, I want to try and get some of my Messianic readings (which have been sitting in my actual kete at home) done. The soulfood is right here under my nose, I don’t technically have to go foraging for it – just be willing to take it!

[insert several palm face memes]

Happy Palm Sunday!

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Busy for the ___?___ reasons

I don’t think I’ve had a complete burnout in life so far but I have had brushes with it through my various chapters, several times. I started being “busy” in my senior years of high school where I cried a lot from my over-commitment issues whilst trying to maintain a personal life I was happy with. Then moments during my university life there was more crying, therapy, fainting and panic attacks. Then during my first graduate job, I found out the fainting was the result of a heart condition that has now been cured through some minor heart surgery; also, more therapy. My first practising role was actually probably my saving grace, notwithstanding a necessary relationship breakup, where I slipped into maintenance therapy and felt a bit more “control”.

I have felt pressured to succeed because I have self-diagnosed imposter syndrome and I am my parent’s retirement plan. Now I find myself, almost 30, in a stimulating career I thoroughly enjoy but haven’t ticked off many “happiness experiences”. Framing a fast-paced satisfying but challenging career in that way, makes me understand why some highly successful people commit suicide. You’re too busy “achieving” that you have no time to “live”. Since high school, I became addicted to smashing goals that I just got used to enduring, with a splash of enjoyment; that I had to do things with wholehearted purpose, whether I enjoyed it or not. I essentially had several hats and tried to juggle them while still achieving 50 other goals at the same time. Of course that approach never works – something eventually gives. This self-inflicted pressure is a figment of success. And maybe I use it to thinly veil some tragic God-complex; doing the most to achieve my goals whilst being the best friend; daughter; sister; cousin; lawyer; indigenous person etc to show everyone I’m amazing – whilst not taking the time to actually personally feel happy and deeply satisfied with the life I’m living.

For an impending partial-burnout, my coping strategies vary depending on my mood and how bad the potential burnout is. I usually measure it in how many plans/appointments/engagements/goals are falling apart concurrently. To counter this said semi-burnout, I go into periods of solitude. My friends have probably witnessed these moments when I completely ignore the world around me, unfortunately including them, because I need to be alone and shut out any stimulus I can’t control and just have nothingness for a while.

I guess I write this in anticipation of some form of burnout this year. There will be a lot of firsts this year that will take up more emotional energy than I’ll allow myself – as always. I’ll need to find my voice a bit more. Be kinder to myself. And prepare for my mental health dips because regarding any goals I set myself – I am my toughest critic.

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Lana Lopesi’s piece on burnout pinched where it hurt. A dear friend has been screaming this at me for the last 5 years, although she is just as much a “slave to success” as I am.

We all die. Yet here we are glorifying a sense of busyness that does not serve us when we’re alive, let alone when we’re dead. It literally makes us sick.

I used to walk through life feeling responsible to a community, only later to realise that community was, in many ways, a figment of my imagination. ‘Serving people’ was the self-imposed burden I thought I was carrying by writing art criticism.

My sense of self-worth was tied up with productivity – to be worthy, I felt, required a constant state of production. If what was on my plate ever started to feel achievable, I’d quickly fix that by filling it up again. It’s normal, though, right? Being busy is ordinary! It’s necessary too! Right? With job precarity in the arts we shouldn’t be saying no.

She then went on to look at “Busy as F*ck” syndrome and how it described everyone she knew. I can definitely see how it describes most people in the legal ecosystem I work in. It’s a tough space trying to carve out your advocacy style, be yourself, be relatable to the average layman as well as highly persuasive to some of the smartest people in the country. Peachy task – also slightly schizophrenic or bipolar.

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It doesn’t help that I’ve set some outrageous goals this year.

  1. Financial/resources: Buy a house with my parents – who are at retirement age (insert several relevant gifs and memes about how ridiculous this is here)
  2. Physical: Run a half-marathon. I’m not the best at running. I’m semi-good at punching and lifting things.
  3. Career: Do 5 jury trials. Minimum. 10 is better. But I’m still a baby in this space.

There aren’t any happiness goals there. Not an overarching one at least – because they’re little ones in the form of stay-cations to keep me sane through the chaos.

So, as I wrap up this entry, I’m booking an airbnb and a wine-tour for myself in Napier for the Easter break. I have no idea who is coming with me at this stage, but I’m going, because going on road-trips make me happy. I plan on bringing some books I’ve been meaning to finish, my paddle-board (weather permitting) and my yoga mat. ❤