,,Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
I have not experienced the emotions of guilt , shame or embarrassment related with my activist burn-out.
My own judgment about my own feelings and expectations from those within LGBTIQ local and European movement helped me to reflect better my own work and goals.
I just needed a break.
Withdrawal and introspection are always needed when a very little of value can be accomplished.
Only through letting go the old ideas and concepts and embracing the new can lead to a success.
Sometimes is needed to reevaluate everything you have accomplished and make some cuts from losses allegiance that hold you back from your goals.
Retreat is not a sign of weakness but the sign of strength.
Retreat is not the same as surrender .
When you take a break , you are just regrouping your own forces and allies . That step away from activism, work or any other activity , it is the most important step one can take, before moving forward again.
Isolation of yourself from the community that was built is a crucial move in order understand better your own actions and the actions of the others.
However, the isolation cannot last for a long time because our priorities and goals can be forgotten and our own voice could be lost in silence.
No matter the movement we are in, communities can give us a collective voice but individual voices must not be suffocated for a sake of higher goals.
When you find yourself in environments you do not feel comfortable with, step back becomes an only option.
The step back I did not want to make was a step back from supportive people and friends I made doing activism.
They were and remained to me (and hopefully I to them) my support.
Good relations that are built among the people you met during any kind of work should not be broken easily.
Our everyday is interconnected with many aspects of our lives and does not begins and does not end within communities and activist circles. It does not begin and it does not end with our activist projects and accomplishments.
Our everyday begins and ends with our feelings of happiness and joy, with our feelings of sadness and loneliness.
I became activist because I do care about issues around me. I understood how issues such as inequality, poverty and privilege affect life of people around me and my own life.
It is not possible to care for the others without the care for yourself.
Care for yourself cannot be separated from care for the others.
Comeback to yourself so you can comeback to the others.
No matter on where you are and who you are because people can relay only on people.
You do not have to awaken your life’s purpose to build up relations with people .
You do not have to wear anyone’s shoes or be able to understand someone’s feelings.
The only thing that it takes is to rely on and to allow others to rely on you.
Sounds simple but is the most difficult thing .
To give and to receive back.
As much as much as we are able , never beyond that.
If we give ourselves to something or to someone beyond we are able to, then we become victims.
I believe we are sick the roles of victims and martyrs.
Those roles did not give the solutions in the past.
Activism is about being more humane and nothing more.
Coping between collective and individual humanity.
It is way of living and can hardly be a job!
So, If you are tired , take a break and after the break start over, again.
The warrior I want to kill inside of me!
To see blood and to bleed!
Want war! Want peace!
Release the beast trapped inside of me!
The easiest thing!
Why’s so difficult to tame the animal of your soul?
A human to be but not warrior!
The shivering progress!
Will it ever happen?
Inside of us
Inside of me.
The warrior I don’t want to be!
I want to be!
The grass is always green on the other side but Alma felt the walls of her apartment in Trieste were less limiting then any Sarajevo open space.
She was spending days there, on Via del Bosco 20, 3rd floor. She went out in the late afternoons or evenings without leaving her neighborhood, just to visit her friends living two streets away or to the nearby coffee shop.
Her stay permit expired two years ago and this was her way of hiding.
It was a very comfortable space for her tiny body. She fed that tiny body with wine and joints, some meal from Turkish fast food and sometimes she would cook a plate of pasta.
Alma moved to Trieste with her boyfriend Paolo.
Paolo and Alma met each other while Paolo was on vacation in Sarajevo.
Alma wanted to study English and Italian literature but she left out her plan quickly because ,,party like rock star’’ lifestyle seemed more attractive.
Everything was nice while they were spending money from Paolo’s family business.
It lasted for two years of their life together. They lived in such abundance that they could afford cocaine.
Then after two years of their life in heaven, the co-owner of Paolo’s family business embezzled almost all money from business investments and vanished. Later, as they have heard , he escaped to Portugal.
That is how their ,,La dolce vita Triestina ended. The next thing they have to start to think about was : To survive.
They were surviving with some money rests from family business, Paolo worked as door-to-door solar panels salesman, their friends would lend them money but they would never return. Alma would got some job but was never able to keep it, since she was getting sick all time. Of course, all her jobs were ,,black’’. Undeclared work.
Nights of partying became nights of fights.
Paolo, had chunky shape, bald headed. Alma used to saying how bald headed men look sexy because they have dangerous look.
Their night fights almost always had the same scenario. Everything looked like cheesy theater show.
On the wall of the corridor Paolo’s and Alma’s shadows had always the same shape and same scene.
He would pulled her shirt with his chubby hands, putting her above the couch bed and returning her back to couch, yelling in his bad Bosnian language: ,,Stronza, Slava from Bosnia , you starving whore!’’
His jaw bones were pulsing, sweat drops were coming out of his bold head pores.
Her mind was wrapped in her confused thoughts. She was trying to help herself to find the ,,proper’’ words to hit Paolo back.
Somehow, out of all that confusion, the words of victory would emerged:
,, Your mother is stronza, your mother is a starving whore, a bloody witch !’’ In her emerald green eyes could be seen some amazing light, during their fights.
In one moment although numbed she could feel it how her collar is hurting a skin around her neck, almost piecing it.
,,Don’t pull that blouse , you are hurting my birthmark! Ohh, my birthmark, the only memory I have of my grandpa, You son of a bitch!’’
Fight. The only thing that was bringing them together. Their relationship tasted like bubblegum that lost its original flavor. Their late night fights usually would ended up with pointless sex. They now switched from cocaine to Bromazepam and non- quality wine.
Sour tasted wine and Albanian haze skunk were the only things that Alma was smuggling out to Trieste, thirty-five years after her parents were smuggling out to Sarajevo , jeans classic, Levi’s 501.
Alma had just one reason for getting back to Paolo, over and over again. The reason
was: To live abroad. For her it was prestigious to say in front of her neighbors:
,,I live in Italy.’’
What kind of life she had there it was for her the least important.
Her mother was as well one of the reasons why she was returning back to Paolo. She knew her mother could not take it, one more divorced daughter. In contrast with mother her father was always saying:
– ,,Get back home , Paolo is just playing games with you. If he would have been serious,
you would be married. The problem of your stay permit wouldn’t existed.
Here, you will have your job. Your will be your own boss. Please, return home.’’
Paolo would kicked Alma out of their house, sometimes. He would kicked her out with:
,,Get out and don’t come back!’’ Three or four days after, he would dial her number and mournfully asked: ,,When are you getting back home?’’
He was doing that all over again, because he firmly believed how ,,the good old days’’ will return and out of loneliness. The fist of loneliness can smash everyone’s ego. Even the strongest one.
Giulio and Fareed Andrea. Friends of Alma. Unusual acquaintanceship during train ride.
Giulio and Fareed Andrea worked railway ticket checks that day. Their regular job was train driver job but that day they were transferred to ticket checks. After a short chat, Giulio, Fareed Andrea and Alma decided to return home together. They found out that they are neighbors.
Giulio and Fareed Andrea had the same hobby. Fucking. Some people fuck out of enjoyment, some out of entertainment but Giulio and Fareed Andrea fucked to feel accomplished. Fucking for them was the accomplishment!
Fareed Andrea asked Alma to go for a drink. To piazza Reppublica. ,,One more easy woman to fuck’’. After they had two drinks, they took promenade along seaside path.
And just under the stairs, couple of meters away from the seashore. After a bit of her hand job and rubbing against each others, he fucked her. He used all of his strength to hit her interior. The fact that someone could see them in that half-darkness aroused him even more.
In one moment, memories started to haunt Alma. The memories of her eighteenth birthday.
She only had two vodkas mixed with orange juice then the waiter who worked for her father raped her in toilet of the restaurant run by her family.
In the toilet , with his hand over her mouth. The fact that someone could caught him out, made he feel more aroused. No, he was not scared. Alma feels the same guilt. Even today She thinks how if she only have had one vodka instead of two , things would ended up differently. The waiter later confessed everything, to Alma’s father. He said he is not sorry and how he will repeat everything . Alma’s rape has not been reported to the Police. As her mother said: Let’s not shaming out family.”
Alma and Fareed Andrea became friends. The situation looked perfect.
In front of that poor Alma, Fareed Andrea seemed to himself A GREAT MAN.
He taught Alma to speak Italian language. He was buying to her gifts and everyday things.
They were spending their afternoon naps together, listening Shopen’s music .In the evening would returned to Via del Bosco 20, two streets away.
Alma knew she could not move with Fareed Andrea. Fareed Andrea has always thought how he deserves better. He deserves the best. He did not liked immigrant women. He knew immigrant women just wanted to get marry to an Italian man. Fareed Andrea was a son of Iranian men and Italian woman. He had a clear vision of his future with well-educated , rich Italian woman. Despite a clear vision of his future , he was spending most of free time enjoying hot asses of Brazilian men and women and other Latin American people. He enjoyed sex with those people in his town or when he could not find them, he would just travel to some of Latin American countries.
Alma fell in love with her Savior. Her hope to move in his apartment started to grow. They were spending their weekends together. They were isolated for two days, drinking a bit better wine the usually and smoking joints . He did not fuck her anymore. He entered her relaxed. She was the one who dictated the game. Skin pores of his light mocha bald head were releasing drops of sweat and looked more transparent then on Paolo’s bald head. During ,,the game’’ with Alma those drops were traveling from a top of his head down to his hairy back and evaporated in the air.
Fareed Andrea has decided. He will end up his intimacy with Alma. He came to a conclusion how they have become to intimate. He had a fear of not turn Alma into his habit or even worse , addiction. Alma did not fit into vision of his future.
He simply said: ,, We won’t see each other for some time. I will be very busy.’’
Their intimacy intoxicated her. Overwhelming hope for better future vanished after his words. She was could not breath any more. That night Alma ended up in hospital due to panic attack. The drug was circulating to her needle pierced, byzantine color blue vain, slowly returning her mind and body in balance.
After short rehabilitation , Alma satisfied her need for company, online.
She was trying to put together the pieces of herself. Those same pieces that Fareed Andrea took out of her and scattered around. Fareed Andrea missed Alma but he was defending himself from himself and saying to Giulio :
,,If only Alma was mine.. Paolo is so stupid. I would kicked her out a long time ago.’’
Paolo was spending most of his time partying with his friend Mizio. To him it was only important that Alma was in the apartment. Just like a furniture.
Alma managed to meet someone, online. A Bosnian man, working in Germany. Married, with four kids. He just wanted to refresh his life. Emin.
Emin just wanted to take some rest from his dull everyday. His visits to Trieste have become more often. Everything seemed perfect. They were meeting eachother in Fareed’s Andrea’s apartment. Candles, Fareed Andrea was giving keys of his apartment to Alma hoping that she will leave with Emin to Germany if they would meet each other more often. If she leaves he thought , his feelings for Alma will disappear forever.
Alma and Emin had three or four encounters. Mostly , they were always drunk during those encounters. Alma was dressed in black lace lingerie during those encounters just to respect the protocol of making love. Emin did not use condom. He says Allah does not like that. Emin was handsome, tall blond man. He called Alma : ,,His crumb’’.
During their three or four encounters, Alma got pregnant. Emin stopped visiting her.
For Alma kids were life an accomplishment. It was the was how she would display her in front of the people, as ,,real woman.’’
Emin was trying to persuade Alma not to abort their child. ,,It’s haram. A sin’’. he said it.’’
He will try to talk with his parents. He had a earn power to give alimony to Alma and their kid. Time was running out. Alma’s pregnency entered in fifth month. She walked proudly through Paolo’s apartment. Paolo just noticed how his ..home furniture’’ called Alma just gained some weight. ,,She doesn’t exercise or walk, no wonder she gained some weight’’, thought Paolo.
After her pregnancy entered the seventh months , Alma decided to return home. Her family will accept her. It is of great honor to take you a hand of your grand child and go for a walk. Alma’s friend, an Italian women , was trying to explain Alma why decision of keeping the child should be just her decision. Not decision of her family. Not Emin’s decision.
The only answer Alma gave to her friend was : Now, you are speaking like feminists. Feminist don’t shave their legs and they hate men. They are disgusting.’’
Alma’s body stopped to be her body since her 18. birthday. The waiter put his hand over her mouth that day and unzipped his trousers. Since then, the others decide about her body.
The reasons for her leave were the same as for her arrival. The people. If there is the spirit of province , persons live their lives accordingly to the people. If there is a spirit of liberty, persons live their lives accordingly to themselves and without: ,,What the people is going to say?’’
Fareed Andrea made the going away party for Alma. He even painted a very good portrayed for her. In his mind, he was repeating a mantra : ,,Go, Alma, go and don’t return.’’
Paolo shed a couple of tears while he was packing Alma’s things. He knew this time , she is defiantly leaving. For the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina , EU countries approved no visa stay up to three months. The last time Alma went home, she reported the lost of her passport and got a new one. She does not have to hide herself inside of Paolo’s car trunk as she usually did when she was returning home. Paolo was driving her home for the last time. It was a goodbye gift. Although she was leaving the country of her dreams.
She felt happy. She was about to become a mother. That is a serious thing.
She was hoping that Emil will divorce from his wife and she will move to Germany.
In late October morning, Alma was checking her things. Everything was packed in three middle size suitcases. Paolo is now instead of Alma putting , Alma’s suitcases in the trunk.
Alma took a backseat and was watching the gray buildings and each and every street corner. She was trying to memorized them as much as she could. Paolo was trying to make his mind empty and just to drive.
Fareed Andrea was watching from the window of his room, how Paolo’s car is slowly disappearing in the distance. He opened the window and yelled the loudest he could: ,,Go, Alma. Go and don’t return.’’
During next ten days Fareed Andrea was sitting in the angle of his room. He could feel his beard growing so fast.
He was repeating for nine days : ,,Go, Alma, go and don’t return.’’
On tenth day he exhaustively pronounced: ,,Alma, please return. Alma, please return and please stay! Alma don’t go away!’’
According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth. Pro life does not usually mean a chance for a fetus to be born and live but to die slowly and painfully.
Unwanted pregnancy should be observed as medical condition that should be treated by abortion. The prevention of such medical condition should be contraception. The availability of reliable contraception for all, regardless of age or ability to pay, is an essential first step. In those lines I simply cannot find the connection between someone’s religious freedom and someone’s freedom of option. Why your freedom of option should be endangered by my medical condition? In theory countries should be neutral and secular. This is the only possible model that respects freedom of thought and freedom of religion. Yes, you have heard well, secular model defends the freedom of religion. For medical condition called unwanted pregnancy the model of secular state means safe and successful treatment . Religious persons should not be offended by this fact because in secular state their freedom of religion is guaranteed too. They are not obligated to treat unwanted pregnancy condition or any other medical conditions whose treatments are against their religions.(except in cases when public health is in danger, such as vaccinations of minors).
In religious states there is no an option for women and men ( some men can get pregnant too) for this medical condition to be treated. Consequences of untreated unwanted pregnancy are maternal death, mental health problems and many other reproductive organs health problems.
Dr Roch Cantwell, a consultant perinatal psychiatrist and chairman on The report, commissioned and published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in 2011, included data on hundreds of thousands of women in 44 previous studies, said :
”Women who are carrying an unwanted pregnancy should be reassured that current evidence shows they are no more likely to experience mental health problems if they decide to have an abortion than if they decide to give birth.”
The debate on the ethics and legal abortion that is again brought up in many countries thanks to the conservative ,,new wave”. Again, bodies become a battle field of the ideologies. Saving of the souls, the souls of fetuses and roles of women as mothers are words that frequently can be heard when the word abortion is mentioned. Those words are fully legitimate in religious discuses but should be completely excluded from a medical one. Bodies are bodies but not battle fields. At least should not be. Body is body and one should have an option to decide how to treat it. The treatment should be available and safe. Even for those one who would refuse it. As in case of unwanted pregnancy.
Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, as Guttmacher Institute explains, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa, and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America — regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries.
In the other words , If I can’t go at the doctor’s I will find the way to treat myself. In case of unwanted pregnancy self treatment is dangerous. According to the World Health’s organization data: Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and nearly all unsafe abortions (98 percent) occur in developing countries. In countries where abortion remains unsafe, it is a leading cause of maternal mortality.
The question of unwanted pregnancy treatment is not the question of religion, morals or any one’s views or opinion. That is question of health , well being and right. Right to not to let those more powerful of you to turn your own body into their own fields of ideologies. To those who care so much for what is in best interest of child is fully recommended to try to prevent those 22,000 children from dying everyday. Those children are already on this planet. They need real care for their bodies unlikely to unborn cells (pro-life activists call fetuses) . Fight for them is just imaginary!
If you had an abortion , or you need information on this medical condition, you can tell your story here and help to remove stigma https://www.womenonweb.org/
,,Black women were the mules of the world ” Their Eyes Were Watching God,’ novel, Zora Neale Hurston
Italy’s first government minister of color, woman who dared to be born as women of color and to become a minister of integration(now former one) and Socialist MEP. Cécile Kyenge , bananas thrown, linked to prostitutes , call for her rape, called an orangutan by political opponents. Is it because she is black? No. Because she has successful political career. Cécile Kyenge maybe would not have to suffer all those of offences if she just married Italian working class man (for whom Italian women were too modern to get married and prepare dinner) and gave birth to two or three kids. On minimal wage job and married to an Italian man, that is the biggest she should or could achieve according to the immigrants stereotypes. But guess what? She dared to become A BLACK WOMAN OF POWER. In Europe, In Italy, In 2015. “One Northern League official said “she seems like a great housekeeper” but “not a government minister.”
After moving to Italy in 1983, she became a qualified ophthalmologist in Modena- Emilia Romagna . She has founded an intercultural Association (DAWA) to promote mutual awareness, integration and cooperation between Italy and Africa, particularly in her country of birth, the Democratic Republic of Congo. She is also the spokesperson of the association “March First”, which works to promote the rights of migrants in Italy. As the Economist writes : ,,She entered Italy legally in 1983 to study medicine (though she lived illegally in the country for about a year after a university scholarship she had been led to expect failed to materialise).” While I was reading this segment I tried to enter in mind of an average jobless white male Italian. The thing that came on my mind instantly was: an insult made in a Facebook posting from Cristiano Za Garibaldi, the deputy mayor of Diano Marina, a small town on the Italian Riviera. He implied that Kyenge, frequented an area used by prostitutes . Maybe the an average jobless white male Italian would related a period when Kyenge lived illegally in Italy with this insult. In mind of an average jobless Italian, it is all fault of the immigrants. For him black woman who became a minister and European MP had to become ,,a whore first. ” The World Values Survey found 11.1% of Italians saying they did not want neighbors of a different race.
In 2004 she was elected in a district of the town of Modena for the Democrats of the Left and later became the provincial head of the Forum of International Cooperation and Immigration.
On 7 June 2009 she was elected provincial councilor in Modena for the Democratic Party (PD) and joined the committee Welfare and social policies. She is also responsible for immigration policies in Emilia-Romagna for the Democratic Party.
In July, 2013 a leading member of the Northern League, Roberto Calderoli, a former cabinet minister and current deputy Speaker of the Senate, said Ms Kyenge reminded him of an “orangutan. Nothing as an old good racist comparing. Racism is dead in Europe, isn’t?
On Wednesday 16 September,2015, the Italian Senate, in a surprising move, decided to allow proceedings against Senator Calderoli on the basis of defamation against MEP and former Minister Cécile Kyenge, but refused to allow prosecution on the basis of racial hatred. Let’s not exaggerate monkeys can’t be as good as slaves or whores as black people can. Using this logic calling A BLACK PERSON A MONKEY IS NOT RACIAL HATRED.
As the millions of refugees are heading to Western Europe looking for salvation and one by one of the European Countries officials are pronouncing numbers of people they can ,,let in” there is a less and less hope for people such as Cécile Kyenge to make their European dream to come true. Or wait, maybe I’m wrong! Maybe, this so called migrant crisis will emerge stronger figures then Cécile Kyenge. Dreams are sometimes just dreams.