I had Islam Dreaming on my list for a long time and suddenly it turned up. I didn't expect it to be so personally relevant, to read these pages and how simply and matter-of-fact this relationship was understood. It's something I've struggled to understand for myself for so long, and once again, it's Indigenous knowledge and life that helped. Different continents and I'm not Indigenous Australian, and trying to be careful here in not selectively appropriating a specific historical and geographic experience. I read these two pages over and over, recognising similarities to myself and my family's history in this.
Blog-posting from Isabelle Schad’s mailing list for all youse in Vietnam & Indonesia who didn’t know she’s touring & running workshops until now. Also various dates for various works across Germany and Europe.
Dear friends and colleagues,
we cordially invite you to the following performances and activities in autumn 2017.
We would be very happy to see you, here or there.
20.09.2017 / Europe meets Asia in Contemporary Dance / Hanoi (VN)
24. + 25.09.2017 / Europe meets Asia in Contemporary Dance / Ho-Chi-minh-Stadt (VN)
29. + 30.10.2017 / Komunitas Salihara / Jakarta (ID)
21. – 22.09.2017 / Goethe Institut / Hanoi (VN)
01. – 02.10.2017 / Goethe Institut / Jakarta (ID)
21. – 22.09.2017 / Lighting Workshop with Emma Juliard / Goethe Institut / Hanoi (VN)
16. – 18.10.2017 / Künstlerhaus Mousonturm / Frankfurt (DE)
Those of you who have bothered to read supernaut for at least a few years (oh I have pity for you), will recall my several adventures to the north of Guangzhou at a place variously called Qingyuan (the name of the nearest big city), Jiulong (the Smith of Southern China), or if you came at it from the east, Yingde. There with Emmanuel, and several other drill-wielders from Hong Kong, we amused ourselves over humid weekends by climbing.
Eman left Guangzhou a couple of years ago for the equally humid and limestone-y (though politically less totalitarian) Indonesia, where the past while he has been planning something new:
Surabaya, Indonesia Climbing Gym Job Opening
Class 5 Recreational Climbing Center is looking for safety-conscious and fun climbers to join our team.
Class 5 Recreational Climbing Center is Indonesia’s first full service, indoor climbing facility. Our facility will offer 5000 squared meters of indoor climbing, a pro-shop that will stock a selection of climbing gear, and a a great environment to climb with friends and strangers alike.
I’ll be accepting resume or CV for both Part-Time or Full-time employment. If you’re a rock climber and you want to work in Indonesia’s first full service climbing gym let me know.
1) Help to ensure the safety of all climbers; providing a fun and safe climbing environment is our first concern.
2) Teach new climbers the figure eight follow through, proper belaying technique, verbal commands (on belay, belay on, climbing, climb on)
3) Reception procedures with an emphasis on customer service.
4) Group and event responsibilities included
What we’re looking for:
Excellent people skills.
Some English useful
An interest in rock climbing
If interested or for more information, contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheerful Saturday morning reading I thought I’d post in its entirety, though I do think anyone who has the slightest interest in the Middle-East and Central Asia should make a habit of reading Juan Cole. Wish that I hadn’t missed number 8 though…
We all too often focus only on negative developments, and while it is understandable for people to keep their eyes on impending calamities, obsessing about the bad sometimes causes us to miss good news. We see a lot of that even with regard to the US. For instance, there has been a 23% decline in violent crime over the past twenty years in the US, but people who watch a lot of television (especially, I presume, police procedurals) tell pollsters they think crime has gotten worse.
I see significant positive stories in the Muslim world in 2008 that don’t get a lot of press in the US, but which will be important for the incoming Obama administration.
1. The Pakistani public, led by its attorneys, judges and civilian politicians, conducted a peaceful, constitutional overthrow of the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf in 2008. Last February, the Pakistani public gave the largest number of seats in parliament to the left of center, secular Pakistan People’s Party. The fundamentalist religious parties took a bath at the polls. In August, the elected parliament initiated impeachment proceedings against Musharraf, who resigned. A civilian president, Asaf Ali Zardari, was elected. George W. Bush is reported to have been the last man in Washington to relinquish support for Musharraf, who had rampaged around sacking supreme court justices, censoring the press, and imprisoning political enemies on a whim. Pakistan faces an insurgency in the northwestern tribal areas, and problems of terrorism rooted in past military training of guerrillas to fight India in Kashmir. But the civilian parties have a much better chance of curbing such military excesses than does a leader dependent solely on the military for support. True, the new political leadership is widely viewed as corrupt, but South Korean politics was corrupt and that country nevertheless made progress. Besides, after Madoff/Blagojevich, who are we to talk? The triumph of parliamentary democracy over military dictatorship in Pakistan during the past year is good news that Washington-centered US media seldom could appreciate because of Bush’s narrative about military dictatorship equalling stability and a reliable ally in the war on terror. In reality? Not so much.
2. The Iraqi government succeeded in imposing on the Bush administration a military withdrawal from Iraq by 2011. The hard negotiations showed a new confidence on the part of the Iraqi political class that they can stand on their own feet militarily. The relative success of PM Nuri al-Maliki’s Basra campaign last spring was part of the mix here. But so too was the absolute insistence by Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani that any Status of Forces Agreement not infringe on Iraqi sovereignty. The Sadr Movement resorted to street politics, aiming to thwart any agreement at all, thus providing cover to al-Maliki as he pushed back against Bush’s imperial demands. The Iraqi success in getting a withdrawal agreement has paved the way for President-elect Obama to fulfill his pledge to withdraw from Iraq on a short timetable.
3. Syria has secretly been conducting peace negotiations with Israel, using the Turkish Prime Minister Rejep Tayyip Erdogan as the intermediary. There are few more fraught relationships between countries in the world than the Israel-Syrian divide, but obviously Bashar al-Asad and Ehud Olmert felt that there were things they could fruitfully talk about. Ironically, the clueless George W. Bush went to Israel last spring and condemned talking to the enemy as a form of appeasement. While he got polite applause, the Israeli mainstream is far more realistic than the silly Neocons who write Bush’s speeches, and Olmert went on talking to al-Asad. Unfortunately, the Israeli attack on Gaza has caused Syria to call off the talks for now. It should be a high priority of the Obama administration to start them back up.
4. There has been a “near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia.” “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” conducted numerous bombings and shootings in the period 2003-2006, during which the Saudi authorities got serious about taking it on. Saudi Arabia produces on the order of 11 percent of the world’s petroleum, and instability there threatens the whole world. The dramatic subsiding of terrorism there in 2008 is good news for every one. Opinion polls show support for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia plummeting, and determination to fight terrorism is overwhelming. In polling, a solid majority of Saudis say they want better relations with the United States. Yes. The Wahhabis are saying that. And their number one prerequisite for better relations? A US withdrawal from Iraq. (See above).
5. The crisis of state in Lebanon was patched up late last spring by the Doha agreement. Qatar’s King Hamad Al-Thani showed himself a canny negotiator. Hizbullah came into the government and received support as a national guard for the south as long as it pledged not to drag the country into any more wars unilaterally. Lebanese politics is always fragile, but this is the best things have been for years. Lebanese economic conservatism allowed its banks and real estate to avoid the global crash, and hotel occupancy rates are up 25% over 2007, with a 2008 economic growth rate of 6%. The new president, Michel Suleiman, has also pursued responsible diplomacy with Syria, and the two countries are normalizing relations after years of bitterness. For all the potential dangers ahead, 2008 was a success story of major proportions in Lebanon.
6. [pdf] Indonesia’s transition to democracy that began in 1998 has been ‘consolidated’ and it has regained its economic health, paying back $43 billion in loans to the International Monetary Fund. Indonesia is the world fourth most populous country and the world’s largest Muslim country, comprising something like 16 percent or more of all Muslims. It faces many challenges, as do all young democracies, but when 245 million Muslims have kept democracy going for 10 years, the thesis that Islam is somehow incompatible with democracy is clearly fallacious.
7. Turkey avoided a major constitutional crisis in 2008 when the constitutional court declined to find the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) guilty of undermining the official ideology of secularism. AKP is mildly Muslim in orientation, in contrast to the militantly secular military. The verdict gave Turks an opportunity to work on bridging the secular-religious divide. Turkey, a country of 70 million the size of Texas, is a linchpin of stability in the Middle East, and it survived a crisis here.
8. Major Arab pop singers jointly performed an anti-war opera that called for co-existence among the region’s Christians, Muslims and Jews and an end to the senseless slaughter. It ran on 15 Arab satellite channels,and one satellite channel ran it nonstop for days. It was the Woodstock of this generation in the Arab world and it got no international press at all.
9. King Abdullah II of Jordan pledged an end to press censorship in Jordan. Tim Sebastian reports,
‘The man at the center of this event was King Abdullah of Jordan, who last month gathered together the chief editors of Jordan’s main newspapers and told them that from now on there would be big changes in the country’s media environment. Specifically, no more jailing of reporters for writing the wrong thing and a new mechanism would be created to protect the rights of journalists, including their access to information. “Detention of journalists is prohibited,” he said. “I do not see a reason for detaining a journalist because he/she wrote something or for expressing a view.”‘
It is legitimate to take all this with a grain of salt, to be skeptical, to wait and see. But Sebastian is right that if the king means it, it is big news for Jordan and the Middle East, and the court in Amman should be pressured to stand by the new procedures.
10. The United Arab Emirates is creating the first carbon-free city, “Masdar,” as a demonstration project. That the Oil Gulf, a major source of the fossil fuels that, when burned, are causing climate change and rising sea levels, has become concerned about these problems, it is a very good sign.
And the eleventh, from the comments:
Not surprising that you forgot, but for millions in South Asia recently, there was very good news: Bangladesh just had free, fair, and peaceful elections. In a nation of 160 million (90% of whom are Muslim), a secularist party was elected with landslide mandate. Bangladesh is now the second largest Muslim democracy (after Indonesia) and the 6th largest democracy in the world.
Don’t forget Bangladesh, the 4th largest Muslim country in the world just had their largely peaceful, free, and fair elections in 7 years with the secularists capturing 230 of 300 seats in the Parliament and Jamaat-i-Islami (the Islamist party)went from 20 seats in the 2001 election to only 2 seats effectively wiping them out and showing a great rejection of islamist ideologies.
The Awami League, the winners in this election, offers to share power with the losing parties and the losing party BNP conceded defeat showing a change from part politics where the oppostion would always take to the streets and protest.
The good news shows the Bangladeshis commitment to democracy and the resilience of a moderate Islam that renounces violence.
While the media is getting particularly wet over Harisu, Lady and Nong Toom, and other famous transsexuals, and places like Thailand get drooled over for being so sexually liberated, there are a whole stack more whose lives are a daily grind and live in countries which pretty much suck when it comes to wearing skirts. Not that I’ve been to Indonesia, or even stopped over in Jakarta’s airport, but the story of transsexual prostitutes from there making their business in Paris is pretty depressing. The thing I wonder about is – duh! – China, which has a huge number of trannies you never see or hear about. Anyway, read it and blame me for ruining your day.
“In Indonesia, don’t even think about working in other areas, transvestites belong only to beauty salons. Well I think this is about discrimination. Now I am here. I think I’ve got a better life,” Wulan says, adding that hard times were over for her.
She shared one of her nightmares when still working on the streets in Paris when she was raped by some 10 men after one of them had taken her earlier to a remote area.
“They first thought that I was a woman. When they ripped my clothes off, they were surprised to find out that I am a transvestite and they got angry, but it did not stop them from raping me. I think that was part of their sex fantasies.
“And,” she continues, “I was helped by a truck driver the next morning to go back to the center of Paris. But he was only willing to help me after I served him.”
Probably because it happened in late June when I was mostly living in airport lounges I missed the whole Miss Waria Indonesia 2005 transsexual beauty pageant, until a couple of days ago when I stumbled onto it very much as old news revisited at Carl Parkes – – Friscodude. The contest and the mindless thug stupidity of the FPI (Front Pembela Islam – Islamic Defenders’ Front) who very much freak out at the idea of boys with tits was the subject of a TV news programme recently, which ended up running over two nights and interviewing show-winner-with-brains Olivia, whom the BBC News for some unfathomable display of stupidity decided to call ‘he’. But you’re all here for the pictures anyway.
Islamic hardliners barged in on Indonesia’s transvestite beauty pageant, panicking its skimpily dressed contestants but failing to stop the show — the second year running that the world’s most populous Muslim nation has staged such an event.
Dressed in white tunics and prayer caps, 10 members of the Islamic Defender’s Front pushed their way into the nightclub on Sunday where 30 contestants were competing for the title of Miss Transvestite, witnesses and organizers said.
After 20 minutes of tense negotiations, the show continued, though organizers agreed to finish early in deference to the group, which has a history of vandalizing entertainment centers it considers un-Islamic.