Human Rights

Assange Interview

Just finished. It was Assange in English, Gabilondo in Spanish, on TV, but here there’s simultaneous translation, so if you find it as in the original, please, post the link!

My notes on two ideas Assange mentions:

Assange, interviewed by Gabilondo

G: Fear of going to prison being accused of major crimes?

A: Perhaps at the beginning, but then he thinks and feels it would be exciting – a new world, lots to learn

His fear is that of not being engaged

Dystopias are more unlikely than utopías

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About our last lesson together!

Just finished my plan. Have a look! My plan had been to devote the whole lesson to this, but then we had to move speaking performances to Wednesday, so you all will probably just get to read one of your stories, but it’s OK. Unless people booking for Wed. can come the previous Mon. and do it, so we get more time for this! ❤

c1_project_readingGNSFRG (1 Word page)

Talk next Tuesday, April 25: on the importance of naming women too

Dear students,

Considering a high percentage in this C1 group this year has a well development understanding of the importance of developing a feminist intelligence to reduce injustice and violence in the world, and considering we live in a town where both foreigners and locals seem to miss the human rights points, I’d like to request your active support in the task of spreading the word about this conference by Eulàlia Lledó Cunill, a linguist, a researcher, a teacher (+ educator for equality as well) and a feminist. Language is a tool we have at hand to change the world for the better because it is key for enabling us to think and key in helping us relate to people. All teachers should be truly interested in this talk, particularly all language teachers, but as language determines what we can actually think and how we relate, thinking about this huge topic is always healthy for everybody!

At EOIs, as people gradually drop out as a result of zillions of things (finding temporary jobs, not finding time for true language learning, not being able to bear the tension of finals), typical in adults’ lives, when spring comes, groups in general have decreased in size.

In my case, my groups next Tuesday are a semiprencial and because it’s semi, they only come to class on Thursday (from  60, 70 people enrolled, we just have 10 following the course! and just one came to Coral Herrera Gómez’s talk!!). And in my next group, 1ºC, health and work-related problems have taken a toll in an extraordinary group, really: just 6 or 8 people are following the course now. (Knowing who’s following the course is easier at lower levels because they depend more on us for their learning.) So we need you!

If you can spread the word or put up our poster somewhere (we can make a color copy for you — let me know!), we would be grateful! ❤

Here’s the link you can send out or post:

Proud about this project!

Marianela, the head of studies, put together this video we contributed to! Enjoy!
We are the only ones who re-worded the declaration as it will or should be worded asap!, including women! ❤

Poetry Day

Education for Equality has just published a post and a dossier on Rosario Castellanos, in Spanish, for people interested in helping us redirect human knowledge and culture to less unfair situations, such as the one we’ve had to bear for centuries. Links to more resources are included (Lorena, also to a publication by Milenta)

Feel free to spread the word!

https://coeducacioninteligenciafeminista.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/dia-de-la-poesia-rosario-castellanos/

Education: Raising children & overcoming patriarchal ideology

Ngozi has a new essay out. If you are interested, here is an 8 minute radio program (with transcript, in case you decided to take parts of it down as a dictarion)

How Do You Raise A Feminist Daughter? Chimamanda Adichie Has 15 Suggestions

Today’s Talk

Thanks for coming!

I thought nobody was going to come, and that would have been such a sad thing to do to  school projects like this, really. Also, we should really pay attention to constructive analysis that allow us to improve our living together, right? And it was our Grand Opening, you know, as people who have a groundbreaking feminist Coeducación project with followers in so many different places ( ❤ ), not only the beginning of our celebration of the 25th anniversary. Our second celebration will be on the 25th of April, same time, same place, but this time with Eulàlia Lledó Cunill, one of the most knowledgable people in this country when it comes to language and the r-evoLution feminism is bringing about on this planet! Love and language, as our Head of Studies pointed out in her intro. Two BIG topics where every single person can contribute to positive change. Empowering subjects, because they allow us to feel we can achieve change, as we exist and use our very lives for that, not weapons or destructive ideas, attitudes, words, actions.

So a big relief to find that almost 100 people attended. The head counted you all! And we were surprised to see so many adult men coming, too (not because they were accompanying a woman they loved, I mean! 😀 ) ❤

Any thoughts to share? ❤

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month happens in Education in the USA. So this is not in Spain. We’ve still got a long long way to go… But we might manage it some day… The USA average citizen is radically patriarchal and antifeminist. But feminists managed to get this to Education, so there’s hope we will rescue whatever we may of women’s history and learn to respect women as thinkers, artists, activists, too, not only as mothers and carers. ❤ Women are human beings. They can do anything!

https://www.facebook.com/DailyCupOfJane/

A conversation on gender violence (violence against women)

“Breaking the (patriarchal) Male Code”, Eve Ensler (V-Day, One Billion Rising), and 5 other guests (2 hours)

http://www.vday.org/node/3054.html#.WLmulbXVsfI

Diary for Mon Jan 13 & Tips on Reading & Listening

I was predicting people were not doing much listening of the news or to radio program(me)s, and because being good at taking listening and reading tests at the advanced level requires having listened and read quite a bit, on a diversity of topics, and in order to encourage you all to keep a listening diary, this is, to make sure you listen to some radio program or other a few times every week (hearing one or two several times is crucial on a weekly basis: you see, you need to KNOW that the second and third times you do understand more, or much more), I started designing exercises, so we wouldn’t use up the real C1 tests, which you will take in March.

Daily listening work: So please, I’m asking you to listen to the news and radio programs every day. Work out your weekly listening plan, you can fit in 3 mins here, 6 mins there. I suggest you use some of the materials I post, too. There are some on the C1 Materials blog, and on this blog, too. Here is a radio book review on “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein (7 min). Next week I’ll bring some more listening exercises, including a dictation and identifying the outline (topic structure) of another radio book review.

Speaking: We started off with some students talking about the movie we watched last week. It was great because they gave their opinion, mentioned some scenes, talked about the people in the movie, too. I paraphrased some sentences they said for practice on fluency and accuracy. And we talked a bit about a few related topics. Then…*

Reading: And then went on to do my Reading follow-up activity on Hidden Figures. We had a little gapped activity as a warm-up, too. Homework: And I asked students to identify the present and past participle clauses in the article for next Monday (and I’ll probably forget about it, in case you can kindly remind us of this!) c1reading_hiddenfigures (2 Word pages). I also gave out a wikipedia entry for the Civil Rights movement, for further reading. But I do recommend Rosa Parks autobio. She was not a feminist because that was not possible at the time, but she does realize things as a feminist, and in spite of all the terrible pressure for the invisibilization of sexism.

Listening: We did a listening activity I designed, on Mars. I was insecure, thought it might be far too easy, but fortunately it was not! that’s why I always say that if you survive this course you’ll find the exam easy or relatively easy, hahahah… It included practice on self-assessment. People did well: most marks were 4/7, then 3/7 I think, well, that’d be a pass mark, right? Of course, you should reach for the moon! listeningonmars (1 Word page)

Well, congratulations, dear students, for surviving another lesson! 😀 Keep your work up! ❤

And please, remember it’d be great if there were people in class by 7.10, when Elva arrives! We’ll have guests, perhaps, and when we are back alone, we’ll listen to Dolores and Germán! ❤


*The mini-disquisition (it could’ve been never-ending! 😀 ) ! I also shared a couple of ideas which I think are good to reflect upon by us all: one is that our affections and interests are conditioned by culture. We tend to think it’s all about our freedom, our Self, but culture — intentional, non-intentional — determines we develop a greater interest in what men do, and little interest towards what women do, particularly in the areas they have always been banned from. The other idea I shared was about invisibility, too: how we tend to only see violence and struggle in specific events and how we fail to see violence and struggle in other events. And here’s the fact, in my view: as violence and struggle are things HUMANS do every day, but culture determines the how’s, we don’t see conceptual violence (we’re improving, though, now many people understand that women or black people or poor people are not less intelligent, or the like; or that a ruler has no right to rape, and murder, and enslave people), the verbal violence (e.g., invisibilization, misperceptions too and how we word that, e.g., the left-handed people and everyone else, piropos that actually terrorize women when uttered by unknown men in the street, or by an aggressive boss), which everyone of us uses and has to bear. We mostly see and only are aware of physical violence, and don’t allow it in women (we fear them even more than men when they use it, as if they were evil, much worse than the men who use it), culturally speaking — incidentally, that might explain why they can be so good at verbal violence. We identify struggle with the “necessary” or “justified” use of violence, but fail to see how we use nonviolent struggle in our everyday lives, and of course, the great development women have given this kind of struggle precisely because they were banned from the use of physical violence. (And Hidden Figures offers some great examples, and I hope people who did not come to see the movie, finally go.) Finally, I posed the question we all crave for: how we contribute to making people’s lives better and we don’t actually know, or can’t see it most of the times. This relates to our culture of violence and self-destruction, I believe. But we are human, and we can do amazingly good things. I wish they were seen, appreciated, acknowledged by more people because this would generate relevant change for the better in human cultures (but see the resistance to acknowledge women’s humanity, to mention just the largest human group subject to such terrible concepts as that of Woman in patriarchal culture), but there are people who do so. And how we tend to even make up the harm we do, or our lacks. When I realized this, as a middle-aged woman, I decided to quit what I call the network of gossip, which is not only done by women, but by men too. But the price of this is you don’t have certain information which is good to have! (not the vicious opinion sharing but other kinds, like someone is ill or the like). Well, dear all, I’m sorry about all this rambling. My intention isn’t to convince you of anything because I don’t believe in that, at least not the way that is understood. I’m trying to communicate, mostly! See if my points are understood by other people, what you all think. As you know, I’m trying to write about all this (and I’ve finally got A Room of My Own!), but never find the time!

March 8. International Women’s Strike! <3

8marzoparoMore and more women in the world, individually and in groups and network, with some men joining in, too, like those supporting women in a hunger strike in Sol, Madrid, are growing in numbres. So far it’s 48 countries!

parointernacional48paises

Old news: The Confederación intersindical changed its mind and they are not calling for the strike anymore, that is, trade unions are not joining in the 24-hour strike. They’re expressing their solidarity by doing what everybody can do everywhere: 10-minute, 2-hour strikes.

Diary for Jan 23!

Today we had a very productive and communicative lesson! It was fun, too, because we had some time to speak. (People, I’m watching Michael Moore’s latest documentary and it’s just on the bit on Education in Finland, and how I wish we had that! Do you know Fuengirola has one of those schools? If we could only find someone there who spoke English and wanted to come as a guest speaker.)

We started off by recording 4 articles of the human rights declaration. (I might have to ask for more volunteers if the French teacher who is now ill isn’t back next Monday, OK?)

Then María José told us about her upcoming exhibition. Check this out.

Then I told people about our Coeducación work and our need to attend things we organize because attendance is so terribly low most of the time! So here, how can you not attend these upcoming events? Read on

We talked about fundraising: online platforms like teaming and crowdfunding projects, and then Cristina asked about public schools and their own fundraising to make up for all the underfunding. I suggested a classic: when we are told that something cannot be done (as civil servants) I always ask where that is said. People might interpret this as me troublemaking, but the truth is we need to know what the law says because public schools are all subject to law in all they do.

Last we moved onto language questions and checked page 3 of the Redesign My Brain worksheet.

Oh, and in case someone is interested, here are my notes and exercises on the Saxon Genitive (opens a word doc).

UPCOMING PLANS. We forgot to establish a deadline for your January writing but considering some people have already handed it in, I’d say February 1, the day you all need to gather in small groups for your Reading Projects. I suppose you already know but Cristina B won’t be making it to class till April. Still, she intends to audio record her work on that.

NEXT DAY. We’re priviledged to have a British man who lived in Cambodia and is married to a Cambodian espouse. I don’t know how long things will be, so just as a contingency plan, bring your worksheets on collocations. Depending on how long he plans to speak for, or your questions (please, interact, OK? ❤ ), we might be into checking one of the worksheets with him!! ❤ ❤ ❤ I’ll also bring small-but-strong video camera in case he allows us to shoot!

USA: News on Manning’s & Peltier’s Cases

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be set free on May 17, after Obama reduced her sentence from 35 years to seven.

❤ Well done, Obama!

https://www.democracynow.org/embed/story/2017/1/18/chelsea_mannings_attorneys_obamas_commutation_willTranscript

President Barack Obama has denied clemency to Native American activist Leonard Peltier, dashing what may be his final hopes to ever see freedom again. Edward Snowden was not granted pardon.

Shame on you, Obama

Collage. Reblogging 2 pages

Dear all, I’ve sent these blog pages to the editors of Collage 25 years, the multimedia magazine our School will publish at the end of this year to celebrate our 25 anniversary. This is the contribution called “Women Writers” and your page here dedicated to Ngozi is included. If you learn or read poems by women writers, we can include that too, later on.

https://englishspeakingwomenwriters.wordpress.com/poems-we-learn/

https://englishspeakingwomenwriters.wordpress.com/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie/

(Updated Jan 20) The Human Rights Declaration!

LATESTS NEWS: C1 English students can just choose now between: art. 24, 27, 28. If any of you is interested, please, let me know which you want to do next Monday!

Listen, people, this is what we have, in French and German (by students): preamble, 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 29.

Updated Jan 18: + Dessi, art. 10
Friday Jan 20: New volunteer!!! Mónica is recording art. 30!!!
News Jan 20: French students: art. 2, 3, 5; 19, 21, 23, 24, 25

Would you C1s pick an article and post here the info, so others know what’s left? You could record it with my recording machine in class, by reading it out loud, after having practiced at home. As soon as possible (I can work on the video next Friday, or on Fridays, or a bit on this or that day), but if you’d do it, I’d wait, of course!

Feedback on Formal Letters of Request. Human Rights Project

In December, people had a formal letter of request (announced on Writing File above) and we decided to write a letter requesting or demanding somebody’s release from prison for human rights reasons.

December Writing Assignment – with resources

Next week I’ll be giving you your work back. You have one week to re-write it, if necessary or to type out your final copy to send in for publication! And after that, it would be good people who made mistakes told us about those, so we can check we are all OK with that or making good progress!

Contributions

Considering this Writing Assignment was so special, because it was based on real cases and on fighting for a respect for human rights, I’d like to ask all of you to send your pieces for publication. But please, feel free to say no. No problem.

My Feedback

  • After reading and correcting your work, I’m very happy you worked on your Before Writing stage. I can see you read various letters, because most people have used the “useful language” you collected correctly. Also, your selection of language was appropriate and well used in every other sense. So congratulations!
  • Some people had trouble with the structure, and you could see they hadn’t worked on a previous outline. Outlines are crucial to organize the info, also in paragraphs.
  • Some people did not do a good job proofreading their work, this is, in the After Writing stage.
  • About language mistakes, most people did not make many, and a few people had mistakes below the level. Mistakes in verbal phrases, for instance, including passives. Another area of mistakes was reference: be careful when you use your pronouns, because at times the noun it refers to is further back than some other noun, and that creates great confusion. One particular mistake: Meanwhile is not While, it stands on its own, so you cannot use it in sentences like this: “WHILE the legal procedure carries on…”
  • Most language ranges were very good, and a few were a bit more like a B2 or upper intermediate level, which is OK because we’re doing a C1 course now.

Outlines for Polite Letters of Request/Demand! / Human Rights Letters

  1. Address someone
  2. To-the-point beginning: Why you are writing: ask for somebody’s release/protection.
  3. Describe/Explain the case
  4. Pressure 1: Reminder of laws / commitments
  5. Pressure 2: your request again, considering previous paragraph
  6. Thanks/Goodbye

6 paragraphs, or more, but with this structure.

Addresses

A just-in-case note: We never include addresses in exams with a word limit. But read the instructions carefully because you should if there is a space for that or it is requested.

Useful Language

Prepositions

  • instigation to delinquency
  • accused of (a crime / sth: taking part in a peaceful demonstration)
  • charged with (doing sth)
  • sentenced to (a sentence)
  • put in isolation
  • held in solitary confinement
  • subject to an unfair trial
  • (sb) is opposed to violence / the use of violence
  • based on this evidence / events
  • commit to your promise/pledge
  • comply with art. … of … / respect art. …
  • was transferred to

Adverbs

Opening lined after the salutation (Your Excellency, Dear President …)

  • I am writing to request your assistance concerning (sb’s case) …
  • I am writing to request protection for (sb)…
  • I am writing to express my disapproval of the police misconduct in a demonstration for public education which was legally organized last Friday Jan 2 by the 15M citizens platform.

Firmer language (more pissed off!/wound up!):

  • I call on you to immediately and unconditionally release(full name) imprisoned solely for his/her peaceful political expression.
  • I urge you to immediately free prisoner of conscience (full names) imprisoned in … for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression / speech.
  • I urge you to free (full names) without delay.
  • I urge you to release (sb) immediately and unconditionally with all charges against him/her dropped.
  • I call on you to immediately halt the construction of a hydroelectric dam in…
  • Your country is known worldwide for the appalling treatment of albino people…

(Edited) Holiday Work! Starting Now!

😀 ❤

Tip: planning is crucial: draft your learning weeks because time flies! (the time you can devote to what when) Then adjust as you go.

It is fundamental that you listen to English every day, as much as you can, but also that you exploit those audios to further your learning in terms of understanding, speaking, and improving your language range and grammar or accuracy. At the same time listening allows you to expand your world, learn about the world, and all that. My proposal is you work with two documentaries we have already worked on, as follow-up work, and that you combine this with a new documentary we will watch in class in January. So check out the 3 new pages above: Docus: SoS, Docus: BH, and Docus: RMB

Apart from this focused listening work, it’s always important to listen to the news (on the radio, or on screens), to radio program(me)s where you have interviews or panels of people discussing matters, and your course TV series, the one you are following. You could also learn the poem Wild Geese, or a poem! Even a story. I have some good ones on Literature on TP or the TP Podcast.

  • Keep track of this work in your listening log.
  • Listening work always involves speaking work because you should listen-n-repeat to your selections, or listen and retell with an outline.

About writing, well, if you didn’t hand in your December Writing Assignment (a formal letter, requesting sb’s release for human rights reasons), it’s OK because the deadline is January 9. Check out Writing File here.

About reading, you’ve got your book and over a month to read it. Check out Reading Projects. And this blog, of course! ❤

Last, I almost forgot, some particular language awareness work: you have the two collocations worksheets, in case you want to do them.

I hope this homework is interesting enough to get you going, to help you find time for your English! ❤

The pack in in our School!
http://talkingpeople.net/tp/ra/c1/c1resourcepack/c1pack.htm

Celebrating and Making Questions about the HR Declaration

Today the reading aloud of the HR declaration took up the whole lesson, and we didn’t even get to the end. I hope you can all finish reading it and comment next day, if you like. You can also feel free to exploit this activity as you like. You could also practice/practise speaking at home to put together a personal opinion of the document or the activity. If you record it in the mp3 audio format, you could send it to me for feedback.

I really enjoyed us talking a bit about some of the articles. I love reading in groups, and just talking, because lots of things come up that allow me to expand my world! I hope the activity was useful for you all, too, in this way. Remember to collect some useful language typically used in this kind of legal texts. And thanks so much for celebrating human rights today! ❤

The plan for today included watching a one-hour documentary. Considering the plan for next day is this:

Wednesday Dec 14

Last week: Please, feel free to make requests or proposals!

… next day we’ll start with the documentary, adjusting to just note-taking instead of doing the listening activity, and depending on the time Reading Groups need, we’ll do or not do the listening activity, OK?

Check the overview of our upcoming lessons to express your preferences next day, OK?

I published your Aptos on the announcement board in class, and if you have any questions about feedback on your English please let me know. These Aptos are just saying you are following the course in some way. What’s important for assessment is the feedback I give you, the feedback you get from classmates when you communicate, and your own assessment.

Remember

  • To ask any questions about the December writing assignment in class or here, under the post for that.
  • To publish your mini sagas or other writings here, if you like.
  • To listen to English every day and try retelling or listen-n-repeat. This is very important, OK?
  • There are checked writings in our cardboard box in class.
  • And to check out the Story of Stuff page above during the time we won’t have lessons!

Chelsea Manning, a whistle blower whose life is now at risk

She’s in solitary confinement, and has attempted hunger strikes in her struggle and suicide as a result of all of her experience in prison. Her crime, she released information so that Western democracies could stop abuses Western democracies were meant to be interested in stopping.

Here’s the petition in case anyone reading this wishes to sign it. You just need a name, an email and then to confirm your support by clicking on an email you would get.

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/commute-chelsea-mannings-sentence-time-served-1 89,000/100,000 signatures collected so far.

writetochelseamanning Last August there was a Write to Chelsea campaign and she said, the letters were helping her a lot. Lifting her spirit. For people in prison, a little hello there has a precious value!

About the power of human language

Human language is what makes us human, in my view. It’s what shows the amazing power of our human minds to create, not only imagined worlds, but above all, realities. The 20th century, with its astounding development of human knowledge thanks to the development of a more observant and empathetic way to see the world (in social and natural sciences, in art — which started to look inwards and outwards in new ways –, in social movements, that flourished as a result of grasping the idea of human rights) gave us the precious idea that language is intimately connected to thought (we can’t think fully without words)  and to human relationships (society). However, we still connect violence to specific realizations of violence, and continue to be blind about the power of language in the construction of nonviolent answers to problems and about the role of language in the construction of violence in our human worlds. This does not mean we are actually incapable of seeing all of this — we do, when we look, and meditate, when we communicate, too, at times.

Identity is a key issue for humans, and the world we have created is always judging and condemning identities, creating exaggerated images of the identity we support (myths, heroes, martyrs), which leads us away from a more realistic human world. We learn that people whose identity is different are a threat and not a source of curiosity, communication and negociation. It is as if we were not able to build our identity without comparing everything to another identity group and making it clear we are better, we are right, and others are wrong. As if life were that simple! In this way, “the Other” is a threat, and the less violent action we undertake is not a true nonviolent answer: we choose to ignore all about that group, we refuse to know and learn, to communicate and negociate. Violent answers take less time.

So we have to do a lot of thinking, a lot of learning about how we use violence through language in our everyday lives.

The other day stand-up comedians came up, and I mentioned Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues (and how she managed to bring up a taboo topic which unleashed a universe of topics that were silenced just because they related to women’s experiences and in patriarchy women’s issues are second-class interest topic for knowledge, politics, history!) and Lenny Bruce’s monologue on the viciousness of words. Here is the link to that monologue. The audio is just of the first part. Unfortunately we can’t listen to him saying the final part, which is — in my view — very powerful, deeply moving. See what you think.

How can we word our views to facilitate communication with people who have different views? And coexistence! Why and when do people feel offended and justified to exert which kind of violence in “self-defence”? When people’s reaction is a problem people have with listening to different views and when is it because our wording is violent? Why refuting somebody’s ideas is felt as violence? Is there a difference between refuting ideas and using verbal violence, or conceptual violence? How can we be violent in our use of language and how can we solve problems through a nonviolent use of language? Why don’t we pay attention to the positive power of language in our everyday lives and in how we organize coexisten, society, and allow instead the negative power of language to operate at all times (but we seldom want to see/realize that)?

If you wish to explore this topic, The Power of Language, you could attempt a reasoned opinion, if you like! ❤

Last, my position against what the Real Academia de la Lengua’s role (a prescriptivist institution) in our society parts from my criticism to its cruelty — a terrible kind of cruelty because it tells people something cruel and inaccurate about language and their language, which is to say, their identity, their status in society — because traditionally it has used language in classist ways, which is not something Modern Linguistics sets to do, in contrast! That’s why I included in the pack some notions about What’s correct, functional translation and functional grammar, all of which comes from Modern Linguistics, not RAE, of course.

An interesting book to read, by linguists, and perhaps you could choose a chapter/topic, is Language Myths. Check it out (I even recorded one of its chapters) and if you want to read one of its chapters, let us know. Perhaps we can design an activity.

The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

Dear all,

In Coeducación (Education for Equality) we have been visited by a group of men (contra la violencia doméstica) who have posed questions which were ill-founded, placing feminists in positions they do not have. You can read that discussion on our Like Page on Facebook (check out the group’s side post, with an external link) and also in comments to some of the latest posts we have on our blog Desarrollando inteligencia feminista.

I’ve tried to write something to see if this could help people control our culturally-learned antifeminism, to make some progress in the question of how we understand we are addressing violence in the cases where this understanding requires some development of a feminist intelligence. I welcome any kind of comments, provided they don’t intend to hurt me personally or defame adorable people who could be wrong, but then they would just need to know why! 🙂 ❤ I can also adapt this text to collaborative writing, so feel free to analyze, too, if you like!

Human Rights and the Overcoming of the Patriarchal Sex-Gender System

The Question of Violence against Women and Human Violence

What we now call “gender violence” or “gender-based violence” is one of ways in which humans inflict violence. Violence among humans is justified and persecuted in different ways. With the feminist notion of “gender violence” we have come to understand that there is a kind of violence in patriarchal societies that women’s promotion to the status of human being has made us think is unacceptable: the violence men have been encouraged and justified to use against women to make them serve them,, obey them, or simply to use their bodies as objects.

Although Spanish laws are groundbreaking for there is a law addressing the social problem of gender violence, the feminist notion has been distorted to only include the cases in the sphere of domestic violence and personal relationships. The result of this is people’s general confusion about terms and concepts, and considering we have all been brought up in century-old patriarchal societies, the verbal lynching of people with a developed feminist intelligence, who try to clarify the situation. Feminists are mainly told, in rather violent ways, that women also kill and murder.

Because this is just a pedagogical text trying to clarify some of the key concepts, I will not discuss when killing or murdering people is justified or not. I will focus now in clarifying the following:

Gender violence is the violence patriarchal societies have told Man he can inflict upon women, as the master and leader of the group. In other words, gender violence is learned and relates to who has a say in human affairs, who leads their organization, and determines things that affect the group.

Domestic violence includes all the kinds of violence happening in the home, in the place where people who love each other are meant to share. This means domestic violence relates to gender violence (most cases are actually gender violence), but also the violence inflicted by a woman towards a man or a child, by a child or teenager towards an adult or elderly, and viceversa…

Violence against a person by another person who is not allowed to use violence (a citizen, for example) has always been punished by law. So the contention that gender violence should include the violence of women towards men is simply an antifeminist stance full of irrationality and hostility. If women kill, they go to court and if guilty, are sentenced for murder.

The fact we need laws addressing specific kinds of violence results from identified social problems: our society today perceives that gender violence, the violence of men towards women (at least in the domestic setting), is unacceptable AND a social problem. Our society today also finds we need specific laws to address other problems from violence: racist motivated violence, violence against children and teenagers.

But the existence of these more specific laws is not unfair to other groups, because violence by anyone [by people not allowed to use it in the scenarios our society allows (mostly by men, for women in the military are not allowed to work in “combat positions”)] is punished in our law system: we punish people killing other people, regardless their sex, gender, ideology, age, cultural identity… The fact that we need to reinforce these laws with others addressing certain kinds of motives or situations cannot possibly be considered unfair towards any human group, certainly not the group Man in patriarchy, who does not get almost any physical violence from women (the question that women are human and therefore capable of using all kinds of violence too, particularly if allowed, like Man in patriarchy, cannot be addressed here. Simply say that how women have developed the ability to inflict violence through words and attitudes is relevant information for an analysis of human and patriarchal violence). It is a questioning of the patriarchal gender system, and that is initially we reject it, but this challenge is consistent with us having finally understood the idea of Human Rights in the 20th century, this is, for a POSITIVE REASON — we’re trying now to help our society make progress towards a kind of social organization that respects everybody’s human rights, and this means abandoning the patriarchal sex-gender system which established a superiority and an inferiority in terms of two perceived genders and which ignored the diversity in human identities.

Just as a note to help people control antifeminist reactions in favo(u)r and to encourage the use of rationality and empathy: overcoming the patriarchal sex-gender system does not mean abolishing human identities. A man can feel he is a man beyond what patriarchy defines as a man. The same applies to women. Today we know not everybody has or feels their sex or gender identity as what patriarchy defines as being a man or being a woman. We are all kinds of things: men in different ways, women in different ways, humans in all kinds of ways, and we should stop feeling we can force people to BE the kind of identity we understand or have. Everybody deserves respect, unless their identity is built in torturing or murdering other people. Then we need to intervene, but not for reasons of making a certain identity compulsory, but for reasons of not allowing violence.

Useful Language for Ob/gyns & Eve Ensler

So here is the follow-up on “ob/gyn” in episode 2, season 1 of Friends.

Even Ensler was a stand-up comedian who decided to put together a monologue for a show on “vaginas” because that was a taboo word. She started asking women about the topic, and none wanted to speak. Initially. But once they got started, they couldn’t stop. So Eve went on and on, interviewing women, and from all of those interviews she did not create a monologue, but lots of them. I’ve got the book she published with them all in class, in case you want to borrow it. But I’ve got a better proposal. Considering many of the monologues are — just imagine the unnamed cruelty women have had to face around their vaginas, it’s still taboo to name because the engine of the violence is Man — well, hard to read (in many ways, not only in one way), I suggest you read one that is really funny, and great to learn to name things at the ob/gyn, “My Angry Vagina”. On Talking People you can download it and also watch a few performers (black and white) doing it. Enjoy!! ❤

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tp/library/scripts/vagmon/VM_scripts.html

Oh, Eve Ensler ended up triggering a world movement. Check out what it’s all become, V-Day (Vagina Day) and the city of joy, against violence against women and girls.

Dec Writing Assignment

Deadline: I said today that you might want to hand this assignment in on Jan 9, but if you want to hand it in before the holidays, you’re welcome, too.
Word limit: the word limit can be the short taks: 125-200 words.

  • Write for Rights – Amnesty International – Find cases (Snowden, albino people, indigenous rights…) also in case you want to send it after correction. Find this guideline I’m attaching here anyway: act1051512016english (11 pdf pages, each with a letter, like these two:

In 100 words (like two minisagas!)

Dear President Obama,
I urge you to grant a Presidential Pardon to Edward Snowden as a whistleblower who spoke out to defend our human rights.
When he shared US intelligence documents with journalists, Edward revealed how governments were scooping up our personal data, including phone calls, emails and much more. His actions sparked a global debate which changed laws and protected our privacy. Yet he’s forced to live in exile and faces decades in prison.
President Obama, you yourself have said that the debate he triggered on surveillance “will make us stronger”. Edward Snowden is a human rights hero. Please treat him like one.
Yours sincerely,

Case: Annie Alfred/People with albinism – MALAWI
President of the Republic of Malawi

Your Excellency,
I urge you to protect people with albinism from murder. Attacks on them have risen steeply in Malawi since November 2014.
Annie Alfred is one of many people with albinism in the country. Along with others like her, she is under threat from those who believe that killing her for her body parts will make them rich. Prove them wrong.
Please show them that far from riches, crimes against people like Annie are met with the full weight of the law.
Yours,

  • uan_guide (12 pdf pages) – Amnesty International USA – Guidelines for Letter Writing.

The Human Rights Project