travel log

The world unravels at the seam,
Imagine it: threads snapping off, sliding out
A great big rip throughout.

The world unfolds in water,
Imagine it: paper unfurling, turning inside out
A useless thing just floating about.

The world explodes,
Imagine it: dust scattered everywhere – the crash, the boom, the clang
And (sorry Eliot) a definite bang.

Do you think God weeps?

I know I would, if I had spent an eternity
Stitching the cloth, folding the paper, moulding the hearth,
beauty everywhere –
a universe: inside an atom, outside the Earth –
and everything arranged with care.
Timelessness: a guarantee, a certainty.

Until we came and tore it all apart.
Until we came and ripped out God’s heart.


But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.

We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.

Western economies, particularly that of the United States, have been built in a very calculated manner on gratification, addiction, and unnecessary spending. We spend to cheer ourselves up, to reward ourselves, to celebrate, to fix problems, to elevate our status, and to alleviate boredom.

Read the entire thing here

Why I don’t believe in “self care” (and how to make it obsolete)

liz kessler's blog

Someone asked me recently what my favourite self care strategies are. It seemed like a reasonable question until I realized that I had no idea what the answer is.

I drew a complete blank. Which is weird, because I’m a mental health activist and I spend a lot of time thinking about how to take care of myself as a person with mental and physical health issues. So why would I not have some go-to self care strategies?

I thought about it for awhile and I realized that I don’t really believe in self care, at least in the way the term is widely used. The common definition of “self care”  is based on an individualist paradigm that puts too much emphasis on the self, and justifies a whole bunch of crap.

Self care vs. coping

What does the term “self care” bring to mind for you?

The term “self care” is defined…

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South Asian women fighter pilots: Why should empowerment be defined by a willingness to kill?

This last statement is a controversial one. Indians and Pakistanis (and Americans and everyone else all over the world) pretend that the incorporation of women into the military is a significant inroad into breaking gender barriers and into the achievement of equality in general. Even as the Indians were rejoicing at their own gender breakthrough, the American news website The Daily Beast published the profile of a female drone pilot. Boastfully titled “She kills people from 7,800 miles away”, it tells the story of a drone pilot in Las Vegas whose daily tasks include unleashing remote-controlled catastrophe on nameless, faceless others thousands of miles away.

Like many such profiles of fighting women, the piece emphasised this lethal woman’s femininity, its second sentence reading, “She pulled her chestnut hair into a bun.” Pakistani profiles of pilots have similarly made note of “olive-coloured hijabs”. The idea beneath all of them is simple: the feminine can be transformed into the powerful by the addition of bombs, fighter jets or remote-controlled drones. The addition of these instruments of destruction, then, is removed from the killing that they cause and seen as a prescription for empowerment.

Underneath the celebration of women as killers in this or that military is, therefore, this premise: that becoming equal in waging war somehow signifies recognition of female equality in general. Nothing, of course, could be farther from the truth, whether the place being spoken of is the US, India or Pakistan. Even while the greatness of newly anointed female soldiers, drone pilots or fighter pilots is being feted by media outlets high on nationalistic fervour, the status of women in the countries for which women are now fighting continues to plummet.

Rafia Zakaria’s excellent piece on militarised feminism.

What Rape Is Not

Well said.

The Span of My Hips

Rape is not beating someone at a video game or being beaten in one.

Rape is not being under-prepared for an exam.

Rape is not rebooting a cheesy ’90s children’s show into a gritty short.

Rape is not the horrific treatment of cows in the dairy industry.

Rape is not clear-cut logging.

These are all real-life uses of the word “rape/raped” I’ve heard. And each one makes my blood boil.

Rape is a profoundly dehumanizing act of intimate terror against another person. Multiply marginalized people are disproportionately targeted and impacted by sexualized violence. One in three women is a survivor of sexualized violence. That means there is a survivor in every room.

Think about that. Statistically, there is a survivor of sexualized violence in every room of three or more people. That means that those “edgy” rape jokes, that complete misappropriation of the term rape to refer to some minor setback…

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Redrawing the Margins: Debating the Legalization of Prostitution

Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the legalization of sex work is a controversial one. The group reasoned that because these individuals lived outside of a licit society, they were more vulnerable to physical abuse: “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violence […]

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Some of the children on the motorcycles and the wheeled boards could speak, and he would toss, very gently, large foam balls to them and organize races around the courtyard.

Dinner or Dignity: Expecting the Poor to Remain Moral

A few days ago my son and I went grocery shopping. As a general rule, I do not take my baby with me to grocery shop because as any mother of young children – my son turns seven next month – will tell you, a trip for groceries with the children turns into an event […]

Policing in Pakistan: A Failing System

Very important read on police brutality in Pakistan. You all are doing excellent work, Justice Project Pakistan.

JPP'S Torture Watch

“They would hit me with sticks on the bottom of my feet. They would tie my hands and feet together and run a thick wooden stick between them under my belly and suspend me like that and hit me on my feet. They even beat me with a chittar….I have scars on my wrists from the handcuffs and arm from the cigarette burns. They even electrocuted me,” narrated Shafqat Hussain, as he described how the police tortured him into confessing for a crime he had not committed. “They could make you say a deer was an elephant

Shafqat’s story is like many others a story of the impunity enjoyed by the police in Pakistan for committing heinous acts of torture. Shafqat was executed on 8 August 2015, whereas the police officers who tortured him faced no repercussion for their conduct.

Transparency International has named the police as the…

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