Thursday, July 31, 2003

For a moment I was silent. Nostalgia..according to the dictionary, nostalgia is a 'bittersweet longing for things, persons, or situations of the past. The condition of being homesick.' The question took my breath away because until that instant i'd never realized that I write as a constant exercise in longing. I have been an outsider nearly all my life, a circumstance I accept because I have because I have no alternative. Several times I have found it necessary to pull up stakes, sever all ties, and leave everything behind in order to begin life anew elsewhere; I have been a pilgrim along more roads than I care to remember. From saying goodbye so often my roots have dried up, and I have had to grow others, which, laking a geography to sink into, have taken hold in my memory. But be careful! Minotaurs lie in wait in the labyrinths of memory..{more..}

i could write of the beginning. of a time where it all began. how with a spot and a slight ache, the doors of womanhood where opened and i was left
shivering in the cold with anxious anticipation from my mother. and how, many years later, i understood lying in cold sweet and anguish threatening to rip my heart apart, the trepidation of feminity.

i could write of this woman i see at work. with long, glistering hair, shimmering with a touch of coconut oil. tall. regal looking. the daughter of shiva. her lips etched with the red orche of passion. walking un-adulterated. flaunting herself. inviting to explore..and how, i so long to touch her face. inhale her deeply. hear her speak in arabic and i, whisper to her about this thought that went up my mind.

instead, repeatedly, i see her pass me by and i quickly dart my eyes away. lest in the light, she sees the fire. i'm rather cowardly, you see.

i could write about how motherhood stirs my yoni. welcoming a thought of conceiving. bringing forth. be part of a process larger than self. yet, the question lingers though. of what, im not too sure. and i see children everywhere. baby showers. pregnant women. women getting married. women wanting to get married. and i wrapping my love, deeply satiated with the comings of my beloved..dreaming of creating a being made tangible of this love.

can one be a mother without a child?

i could write of how one is never really over crossing over to the other side. how even the tinnest of things like the threatening heat that threatens to dry up everything in sight. my spirit sways with the cooling winds of the oceanic breeze. and how home, even though tied to the cradle of man-kind, no longer feels like home.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Mail and Guardian
Friday July 18th 2003


How British troops raped Kenyans

Archers Post, Northern Kenya

16 July 2003 11:32
Some have remained silent for 30 years. But now the Samburu and Masaai women, as well as their young men, are coming forward to tell their
stories: how they were raped and sodomised by British soldiers on manoeuvres in northern Kenya.

One of the women, Deka Mohammed (38) cannot help fighting back her tears as she narrates how she was raped nine years ago.
"One evening as I was taking the goats home from grazing, six white men in combat gear emerged from behind the bushes. Three of them tripped me
and I fell. They tore my buibui (traditional cloth) and my panty. They then did it in turns from both front and behind," she recalls, sighing heavily.

"Bleeding profusely, I struggled and found my way home and changed from torn clothes before my husband's arrival. He noticed I had changed my
walking style and when he asked me, I told him that, I had been scratched by a thorn," says Mohammed. "Days went by and I noticed I was pregnant. When I gave birth to a white child, my husband could not wait for an explanation. He forced me, along with the new baby, out of his compound," she says, sobbing.

Mohammed had four grown-up children before she was raped. Abdul, who is now eight years old, is a result of the gang rape.

Reporters met Mohammed at Archers Post, 600 kilometres north of the capital Nairobi, along with a sea of other women, accompanied by mixed-race
children. Braving the scalding sun, the women narrated their stories to Impact, a human rights group, which is helping them to seek compensation
from the British government.

Most of the women hope that their stories will be heard and action will be taken. Sitinai Lalparasoroi (51) was three months pregnant when she was
assaulted by two British soldiers in 1970.

"They held me tightly and did their beastly act. Three weeks later, I miscarried," she recalls. Her colleague, Rahama Wako was abused when she was just 16 years old. Now 23, she is a mother to seven-year-old Gulit, a result of that unfortunate gang rape. Her story, too, rotates around animals and the risks of
collecting firewood at evening.

"I remained behind to collect firewood, when my sister took the animals home. On my way home, I met four big white men in military uniform, with massive tattoos on their arms, their faces painted black. They called me and threw packets of biscuits. Since I was hungry, I put the firewood down to pick the snacks," she says, wiping tears from her cheeks.

"Two held me, threw me down and the others jumped on me. They all had their turns and left. I started bleeding profusely and since it was getting
dark, I went home. My father noticed the bloody patch on my torn dress. I told him what happened. He gave me traditional herbs to sooth the pain. Some
months later I saw my stomach getting bigger and bigger, a sign of pregnancy," she says. Not only women, but young men also claim that they were sodomised by British soldiers.

Andrew Letoo (24) claims he was sodomised three years ago.

"Since then, I have been walking with my head down because I feel everyone knows what happened to me," he says, almost breaking down. "I was a guard at the British training camp. One night after a party, two British soldiers came and tied my hands with sandbags and gagged me with a tape. One held my neck while the other did it. I reported to the (army) chief and had difficulty explaining it to him. I did not go to hospital even though I was badly hurt. It was
very embarrassing," he says.

About 650 women claim that they were raped by the British soldiers in northern Kenya. Ten sodomy cases involving men of ages between 20 and 26 have also been recorded by Impact at Archers Post. Some of the allegations stretched back to over a period of 30 years.

And, reporters found the elders in the region seething with anger. "Our hands are tied. The jonnies (as the British soldiers are called here)
have guns and we don't. The British government must compensate our people. In our community, a rapist is made to pay a large number of cows,"
asserts 80-year-old Loyieyo Lesuper.

He appealed to the government of Kenya to intervene. But local officials in Samburu region, where Archers Post is situated, maintain that the
government has remained silent over the issue. "We have not heard a word from the government about these cases. And we are wondering whether the government has the interest of its citizens at heart," says Fabian Lolosoli, chairperson of Samburu County Council.

"Our people have suffered in silence for years," he says. The British soldiers, Lolosoli says, travel to the region between April and July every year. The hot climate of the region is regarded as suitable for military exercises. After completing their training, the soldiers are deployed to hot spots such as Iraq.

The British army enjoys a string of military bases in Kenya under the Status of Foreign Forces Agreement (Soffa), which was signed before the East
African country achieved its independence in 1963. One local official, who requested anonymity, urged the Kenya government to revoke the agreement, which sees about 1 000 soldiers undergoing military exercises in the region every year.

"Our people have suffered terribly in the hands of these forces. Many have been killed by dangerous chemicals and weapons left behind by the
British soldiers," says Chief Daudi Abdi Jilo.

Cornered by IPS, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Samburu, Sammy Leshore, only commented: "Time has come to help these ladies who have been
voiceless for years."

Rights activists fear that some genuine cases might be left out due to lack of evidence."The majority of the rapes were not reported; this is one big challenge
we are grappling with," says Impact director, Johnson ole Kaunga. "We are consulting with women's groups and council of elders and chiefs."

Since Impact started pursuing the case last year, Kaunga says he has been in touch with the British government, which has sent military police to
investigate the claims of the women and young men. But some Samburu and Masaai -- the pastoralists on whose territories the British forces are conducting their training exercises -- feel that the case would not have a fair hearing, if held in Britain.

British lawyer Martyn Day, who has taken up the case, says: "I feel satisfied if this goes before the British judge because they will be shocked at what acts their people can commit. We are dealing with systematic rapes where evidence is overwhelming.

"We have to be relatively tough and determine genuine cases," warns Day, who is seeking up to $30 000 for each proven case of rape from the British
defence ministry. Day is a well-known figure in Kenya.

He won 4,5-million pounds in compensation from the British government last year for 233 Samburu and Maasais who were injured by British army
explosives left behind on training grounds in Archers Post and Dol Dol region. - Sapa-IPS

Friday, July 18, 2003

my father's 10 anniversary since his passing is

coming up and i have been reflecting on their

life as a couple. as parents and as his life as a man.

in my childhood and into my early years of

adulthood,i often felt neglected and un-cherished

by my parents. i wasnt sure they loved me as how

i understood love to be or experienced love. i

often felt like an intruder peeping unceremoniously

and uninvited in their love nest. my father was

alien to me in ways that were deep and fertile.

i feel more closer to him in death than in life.

in their relationship between my parents, i learnt

the extent of passion and the desire of yolking with

another and the possibility of freedom. it is common,

in our lives to live for our children. to concentrate

in their wellbeing and happiness negating the

union that brought them into life.

my parents were complete without us. we were an

added abundance. which would not add, nor remove

what they felt for each other.

as i purposely stive for the sometimes delicate

balance of freedom and interdepence.

their relationship illuminates the fulfilment

and completeness that can come in relationships

where in the partnership there is fullness.

it is saddeneing that we take in other

responsibilities and committments, forgetting

the promise we made to each other and

ultimately, to ourselves. we forget

the initial rush of adrenaline on the first touch.

the quietening of spirit when wrapped up in

post coital bliss. the beauty in the reflection of

your beloved.

in the eve of the celebration of my fathers life

i give thanks for the teachings of love. of the

courage, committment and passion that the union

of my parents embodied and continue to live

organically in me, their child. their love child

concieved in passion, sweetness, deep contemplation

and the joy of the beloved. we chose each other well.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

the triad is complete. over the weekend, the nipples got pierced and it was painful. oh, it was so painful. and my nipples have been erect ever since. + there i am hidding them. im extremly bashful and shy. my second name means shy. wonder why.. why the piercings? its transitional + celebratory. i've always felt that there lacks ceremonies, rituals and rites that offer a lens by which as a people move from being a to b one can desire for a heightened sense of belonging and know most intimatetly what is expected from them. in kenya, as in many afri. countries there is fgm and male circumsicion. even though, i cannot even begin to comprehend the immense sense of loss fgm brings, i understand the need for folks to peform ceremonies that illustrate growth. (irua). we are creatures of ritual and ceremony.

in the same gesture, i contemplate wearing mens cloths. i'm thinking of going bald again, get a couple of pants and shirts. maybe a tie or so. and suspenders a la carte larry king style.

Cross-Dressing Magic, Intersexuals & Female Husbands
by Roberta Perkins

Africa offers a great range of gender crossing types, more so than any other continent on Earth. There are examples of crossing gender by both sexes, there are cases of men and women taking on the roles of the opposite sex without adopting the appropriate dress, and there are rituals in which one or both sexes cross dress for the period of the ceremony only.

The magic of Cross Dressing

When female diviners of the Zulus are called upon to forecast rain they carry the spears and shields of warriors, the symbols of male potency to pierce the clouds. Among the Masai boys are dressed as girls during their initiation into warrior hood. The Sotho of South Africa dress their girls in boys' clothing for their initiation into womanhood. When a man in the Bangala tribe of the Congo is attacked by an evil spirit he dresses as a woman in the hope that the disguise will fool the demon. Zulu men put on women's girdles at a time of drought hoping this would bring sympathy from the rain gods. These are examples of cross dressing to induce a magical change in certain circumstances. The idea of temporarily donning the clothing of the opposite sex for the purpose of seeking supernatural help is not confined to African societies, but can also be found among some native Brazilian, Papuan and Asian societies. They all have one thing in common: the belief that a change of clothes will bring about a change of luck. {..more..}

to be candid. im not sure i fully understand the domme/femme dicotomy. the little i've read isnt very illuminating. i feel it fuels the sterotypes even further. the loss of ritual, wells one with a sense of loss and trepidation. as malidoma some in his book explains..' ritual provides not only healing but the recovery of memory and the re-affirmation of each individual's life purpose..'

and after many years, i finally saw this. oh, i cannot even begin to explain how i felt.
needless to say, i feel very lost with the new blogger changes. i'm comment challenged, seriously unable to place the comment link. any suggestions..

Thursday, July 03, 2003

always look on a bright side of life...

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

all things pride

{ Etymology: Middle English, from Old English pryde, from prud proud -- more at PROUD
Date: before 12th century 1 : the quality or state of being proud: as a : inordinate self-esteem : CONCEIT b : a reasonable or justifiable self-respect c : delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship }

ofcourse, tryst me. i had no idea there was across the country there was the celebration of the community. from what i hear in dallas, the pride weekend is in september or october. while languishing in the closet back home, i'd give my left foot to join in the celebration. walk in the sweltering heat under a banner of triangle shapes and we shall overcome. perhaps, if i'm lucky, have some hot chic, prefarably dreadlocked wearing sandles and some long flowing skirt with no panties (ok ok fantasy #202). interlocked gazing at each other eyes with come hither looks smoldering in the background.

fastforward to almost two years later.

there is no chic. let alone a dreadlocked sister. im not particularily digging the desire to come together with folks with whom i'll be either the token afri-queer chic, or,a caricature on the vestibules of african civilization.

yet, i am so happy. and content. swimming with the abundance of love + friendship + simple delights of the heart. that i have been loved. experienced love in the crevisaces of despair and in the delicacy of a touch. that i can say, i am queer. { eccentric } and not feel shamefaced about it. or wish i were someone other than my natural self. i a woman, who delights in her woman-ness.

Where there is a woman there is magic. If there is a moon falling from her mouth, she is a woman who knows her magic, who can share or not share her powers. A woman with a moon falling from her mouth, roses between her legs and tiaras of Spanish moss, this woman is a consort of spirits.” - ntozake shange

several years ago, after a major breakup with a wonderful man, i cried in the arms of my mother. my face drenched in tears. my body quivering in spasms of unshed anguish. she looked at me. as i sobbed and proclaimed to her what a jackass he was. i could see her love in her eyes. six years before, she had laid to rest, the love of her life, my father. she understood heartache. my mother talked to me slowly. i did not understand it then. she spoke on the power of women. how as a woman, one holds infinite power and wisdom. she spoke on a woman knowing her majik. relishing on her warmth. casting spells of enchantment. she said, once a woman realises her potentiality { Etymology: Middle English potencial, from Late Latin potentialis, from potentia potentiality, from Latin, power, from potent-, potens 1 : existing in possibility : capable of development into actuality } she can soar like an eagle and her lover.. her lover would worship the very ground she walks on.

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. - songs of solomon

needless, to say, the news was such a relief. and while we relenish on the possibilities that this will infact cast light on other matters across the border its a celebration of many sorts.

back on the home front. i'm really not surpised that most folks think this.