Thursday, November 30

Activism to help stem vigilante murders

This form letter is touching...and one I'm going to send. All the campus activists at my college seemed to think that lots of form letters was better than nothing when writing to Congresspeople, so I assume the same psychological theories apply to scholars in Iran. (I can't alter the letter because I don't know enough about Islam's rules to do so!) Maybe he'll ignore that my name is female and Western and just assume I'm some sort of convert. It's one more letter, and letters add up, so I'm gonna give it a shot.

Ali Eteraz wrote:

This is a call for action.
We are going to write a nice and impassioned response to the Ayatollah who has called for the death of an Azerbaijani writer (his crime was to have included some of the Danish cartoon pics in an article he wrote).

Some of you (Muslims) may have a problem defending someone who published the cartoons. You have to understand, however, that we are not fighting here for the cartoons. They are irrelevant. We are fighting because the writer has been declared an apostate and the Ayatollah's fatwa is encouraging people, average people, to kill him. This is vigilante justice (which is haram under Islamic Law).

Then he says, "But before you act, you must learn what is happening," and gives some background. Click the link to see all that.

Here's the form letter he suggests writing (in Ali's words, "shoot the Grand Ayatollah an email (I list his addres below). He encourages feedback.")

As Salam O Alaykum, Grand Ayatollah (May God Lengthen Your Life):

I hope this letter reaches you in the best of health and faith.

I recently heard that you have declared the Azeri writer Rafik Tagi an apostate and have called for his death.

I implore you to please consider revising your opinion on this matter.

You may recall that you recently wrote to the Pope and said to him: "We can easily prove for him that Islam is the religion of peace and mercy." Therefore, I ask you to prove that Islam is a religion of peace and mercy, by repealing your death fatwa against this writer.

You are of course aware of the famous du'a (supplication) "dua ya man azhar al jameel" which contains the lines:

"God will forgive his sins even if they are as much as the sea foam."

"God will forgive him such sins as theft, drinking wine, and other sins."

Certainly if God can exhibit such forgiveness, we should aspire to behave in an equally forgiving manner. It is what God wants from us.

Furthermore, you are aware that there is no death penalty for apostasy in the Holy Quran. In fact, there is no evidence here that this man has even left Islam. He never renounced his faith. As such, he cannot be an apostate. Imam Ali did not kill any men for an insult.

Further, your fatwa, which asks that the writer be put to death, encourages people to take the law into their own hands. You are aware that vigilante justice is a form of fasad fil ard (disorder in the land) and strictly prohibited by the Quran. In fact, the Quran recommends a very severe punishment for those that engage in fasad fil ard.

The best thing to do as a scholar, is to point out how this man went wrong, not to punish him. A scholar's role is to help people get closer to God. You, as a great scholar, as an 'alim, as an ayatollah, should not condemn, but guide. During the Ghaiba of Imam az Zama, the responsibility of the 'Alim is to guide the believer, not have them be killed.

You are a great leader and spiritual advisor with devotees the world over. I implore you not to advance the causes of injustice. This writer has already been punished by his nation. It is unnecessary and unIslamic for you to encourage people to kill him. Not only is this man not an apostate because he has never renounced his faith, but it is unjust to kill a man who has already served his sentence. I ask that you not follow the desires of your followers in Azerbaijan and revoke your death fatwa against the writer and his publisher.

I leave you with a verse from the Holy Quran:

O You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for God alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, God is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, God is aware of what you do. (Quran 4:135).

"Send emails here:

"Or you can paste them into the question box." -Ali Eteraz

Monday, November 6

Pussy Power

The Black Panthers defined "pussy power" all wrong.

Getting what I want by offering or refusing sex? That often has a lot to do with the pussy--I'll grant you that. But it ain't power. The only thing that's power when push comes to shove is the means to physically back up what one wants.*

Words aren't powerful--they're representative of power [physical capabilities]. Offers & refusals, in the way the Black Panthers were thinking of them, are words. Their definition of this "power" makes no mention of physical backup to my words--so they're defining it wrong. What they refer to ain't power.

So what would "pussy power" be if, for love of alliterations, we wanted to keep the word in use?

"Pussy" is a body part, so I imagine the phrase would be like "elbow power" or "hamstring power." Of course, we waste the phrase once again if a pussy is not actually powerful in the true sense of "power," so let's make sure the pussy actually is powerful:

Is it physically capable of making what I need happen? Is it physically capable of defending me from anything I don't want to happen?


I can hit or lift things with my pelvis without causing pain to any external genitalia. Indeed, the hidden-away pussy makes an advantageous, powerful battering ram or hydraulic lift.

So that's "pussy power," defined in a way that actually makes sense. It
     1) refers to the part of my body called a "pussy" and
     2) refers to power (in an accurate way)

But wait! Where did the sex go? Katie, you used the word "pussy" but your definition has nothing to do with sex!

So it doesn't.

My pussy is just another part of my anatomy, as good for multiple functions as my hand. When I caress a perineum, my hand is "about" sex. It's doing "sex." When I punch a jaw, my hand is "about" something not-sex. It's doing something not-sex.

So it stands for the pussy. That body part is not always about sex, any more than the hand is! (What reasonable person would claim that his or her hand always had something to do with sex? How silly.)
My pussy is something I use for sex when I'm doing sex and something I use for power when I'm "doing power."**

*Please don't take this as an "ablelist" definition of power. You'd be amazed how able the "disabled" or "physically disadvantaged" really are. (Ever seen a person attacked and chased away or mauled by a runt or wounded animal? We, too, are just animals when it comes down to it. We "less capable" social groups are a lot stronger than other people encourage us to think we are.) The class I just got back from teaches people of all statures, ages, & body conditions to fight effectively enough to leave safely from a threat or an attack by an unarmed single assailant.
** That is, backing up my needs by using my body.

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