Selfless acts?

I am quite sure, that many great thinkers, philosophers and many others, such as me, Have really thought: Are there any such thing as a completely selfless act?Maybe that is any act that makes you feel bad. Unless you like that sort of thing. Many people do, so then it is not selfless. During my student years, I actually took a course of “Free Will – Does it, or does it not exist?” – So to think about thinks that drives you crazy is just in my nature. Acting because you wanted to do good deed still has a form of selfishness in it,
and I don’t mean the reward of an action, but the motive behind an action, the reason the action was taken.

But this isn’t the complete picture.  We have to ask more questions, for better understanding: Why does acting selflessly make us feel happy? Because our brains are wired that way, through either genetics, or cultural upbringing (i.e. social values) Society will punish  those who don’t act selflessly to some degree. Selflessness involves personal sacrifice: you’re sacrificing yourself to some degree, to help out the community. We will be given a title, that most of us would love: We are Heroes. We are worshipped, even if it is from one person only or from a whole nation. Society has also developed measures to reward those who act selflessly. But, it gives us something. An emotion. A status. Welfare, whatever the reason is, it gives us something. And just by that, it is not a selfless act.

Dalai Lama, whom many considers a man of selfless acts, is according to me quite selfish as well. But he did have a very, very good point: “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them”

Point taken.

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—–:::—-:::—-:::—-:::—:::—

I come to speak for your dead mouths.

Throughout the earth

let dead lips congregate,

out of the depths spin this long night to me

as if I rode at anchor here with you.

And tell me everything, tell chain by chain,

and link by link, and step by step;

sharpen the knives you kept hidden away,

thrust them into my breast, into my hands,

like a torrent of sunbursts,

an Amazon of buried jaguars,

and leave me cry: hours, days and years,

blind ages, stellar centuries.

And give me silence, give me water, hope.

Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes.

Let bodies cling to me like magnets.

Come quick to my veins and to my mouth.

Speak through my speech and through my blood.

The Refugee Project

Brooklyn-based design firm HYPERAKT have created a beautifully rendered website for The Refugee Project and it’s centerpiece is a amazing interactive chronological map showing the waves of refugees and vital statistics and facts related to their diaspora. Apparently the site took over 500 volunteer hours to produce and it clearly shows. 

Visit The Refugee Project here And you can read more about the creation of it here

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Hello!

It has really been a long time since I wrote here, for many reasons. The main one is that I just could not find time to write anything. Part of my everyday job is writing, writing writing. So I suppose, I got tired of writing. Or, i forgot how wonderful it feels to write, but only the kind of writing that you choose yourself. Enough about that now.

So, it is february, 2014 and so many things has happened during 2013. I will not write so much today, since it it pretty hard to try to cover a whole year in one blogpost. It has been a a crazy year, filled witch challenges, both professionally and private. Every day is a challenge, but a challenge that makes me grow as a person.

long time (seems like) has passed since I moved to Kosovo to work with Human Rights (more specific, LGBT rights). The organization has developed in so many ways. I am deeply proud, first and most of my partner who had the strength and the courage to work with this organization for over 10 years, and also for her activist heart that has influenced me. Every day I see challenges, that I did not face in Sweden where life was quite easy, secure, ordinary and many times (oh so often) boring. It is the reverse here in Kosovo. Things are happening so fast, in all aspects. Life is dynamic and many times stressful. There has been moments where I have almost had a breakdown, hit the wall. But I got lifted up, first from my partner, but also from my new friends here. Friends that challenges society every day, just by being who they are. I must admit, that i deeply miss Sweden, my friends (very much) and all my things: my apartment, my books, my bike, the nature of Sweden )and all those things people take for granted once they have them available and close. But at the same time, I know that the time will come when I move back, and I will look back at this time in Kosovo with a smile on my face and a heart filled with love and laughter. It is amazing, it is just wonderful.

But enough about that now. It is february, and thank god it is short, cause soon it is march, and before we know it, the sun shines and I can wear shorts and get a tan. Look normal, and not way to pale.In three weeks I will go to Slovenia for a whole week. I am SO looking forward!

So, my day today has been like this: I have a terrible cold. Went out to have a macchiato with my friends, to then go and protest against some evil dude that is not appropriate as a professor at the University of Pristina (don’t have the nerves to go into more details). But there was no protests today, it is tomorrow. So, I, of course want to get rid of this evil dude. So I have contributed to society, and most important, the brilliant students of Pristina deserves all the rights possible. Being a student, with so much limited resources as they have, is hard. And it is even harder, when an asshole is corrupted, uneducated idiot with a post he got trough having the right contacts and friends. So, let´s see what happens tomorrow.

Now I will just rest, so I can go back to work tomorrow. It is going to be some very busy months ahead.

Te jesh femer dhe lezbike ne Kosovë

(Tash ne shqip. E kam shkru edhe ne gjuhen anglisht. Teksti eshte ma poshte)

Të jesh lezbike, shpesh nënkupton të mos ekzistosh fare. Ti nënkupton një fjalë të keqe, një fjalë fyese, një personazh apo trillim. Të jesh një femër që i donë femrat, ose një femër pa dekor të duhur (një mashkull) që të të qëndroj mbrapa, shpesh nënkupton që ti jeton me frikë.

Në Kosovë (dhe në shumicën e vendeve tjera), femrat vlerësohen mbi atë se çfarë burra kanë. Nëse femra vendos të jetojë në mënyrën që ajo e do dhe dëshiron (le të jetë një femër beqare apo femër lezbike), kjo nënkupton se ajo është duke e ndëshkuar vetën me një betejë të pafund për integritetin e saj. Askujt nuk i shkon ndërmend që femra pa mashkull mund të jetë një femër  lezbike. Lezbiket këtu nuk janë lezbike – ato janë femra beqare dhe si një femër beqare përballesh me forma të shumta të diskriminimit. Një femër beqare nuk bindet, ajo është zgjidhja e dytë për punë sepse gratë e martuara janë ato që zgjidhen të parat. Gratë e martuara konsiderohen se kanë mësuar të binden dhe ta respektojnë autoritetin. Pse të rrezikosh për një femër beqare?

Femra beqare ballafaqohet me vështirësi të shumta. Duke filluar me gjetjen e një banese të denjë për veten; qiradhënësit do ta dyshonin moralin e saj. Femra beqare vihet në ndërrime të punës që askush nuk pranon sepse ajo nuk ka kurrfarë obligime familjare. Femra beqare nuk duhet të del vetëm dhe vonë; nuk ka njeri ta mbrojë nga keqtrajtimi dhe dhunimi në rrugë. Nëse ajo është viktimë e dhunës atëherë ajo e ka merituar, çka bënte ajo natën vonë në rrugë? Një femër beqare kurrë nuk mendohet të jetë vetëm sepse vendosi të jetë në këtë mënyrë. Ajo gjithmonë shikohet dhe konsiderohet si e gjorë, e braktisur, e çmendur, e paaftë për ta gjetur një mashkull, e shëmtuar ose e paaftë që të ketë fëmijë. Dy femra që jetojnë bashkë mund mos të shikohen si çift lezbik, por gjithmonë do të jenë objekt për dyshimet nga ana e fqinjëve të tyre.

Izolimi shoqëror është ajo me çka ballafaqohen lezbiket. Sidomos lezbiket që jetojnë në vendet e vogla dhe fshatrat. Të jesh një femër beqare në Kosovë nënkupton të jesh me shenjë sepse nuk përshtatesh me modelin e “gruas së kombit”. Stigma që i ngjitet homoseksualeve shpesh mund të vështirësoj që lezbiket ta marrin edukimin. Si dhe vështirësitë për t’u avancuar në jetë  (në të gjitha fushat).

Situata ekonomike në Kosovë është e ulët dhe e dobët. Personat beqar shpesh detyrohen të jetojnë me prindërit e tyre. Ta ndajnë vendin me vëllezërit dhe motrat. Në veçanti, femrat ballafaqohen me këtë më shumë sepse nuk mund të përballojnë të jetojnë vetëm apo si çift. Zakonisht të ardhurat nuk janë të mjaftueshme për të mbuluar shpenzimet elementar të jetesës dhe varen nga vullneti i mirë i prindërve të tyre. Prandaj kjo të çon në situatë ku familjet mendojnë që e kanë të drejtën të rregullojnë jetën si dhe gjërat e tjera të anëtarëve të tyre të familjes. Shumica e lezbikeve i bëhet shantazh me kërcënimin që orientimi i tyre seksual do të zbulohet familjes dhe të afërmve të saj. Dhe në rastet kur zbulohet orientimi i tyre, ato humbin edhe atë pak mbështetje financiare që e fitonin nga familjet dhe të afërmit e tyre. Lezbiket paraqesin turp dhe kërcënim për nderin dhe prestigjin e familjes.

Dhe çfarë në lidhje me kujdesin shëndetësor? Shumë lezbike i shmangen vizitave tek gjinekologu për shkak se ata supozojnë të femrat janë seksualisht aktive me meshkujt. Lezbikeve i duhet shpesh të gënjejnë gjë që shpie në sëmundje që nuk do të zbulohen me kohë dhe ndoshta asnjëherë.

Qendra për emancipim shoqëror (QESH) (ku une punoj) që është themeluar në vitin 2005 dhe është riaktivizuar në vitin 2011, punon në çështjet që kanë të bëjnë me LGBT si dhe me çështjet që lidhen me femra në përgjithësi. Ne duam t’i afrohemi femrave. Ne duam t’i afrohemi meshkujve. Duam t’i ndihmojmë vajzave dhe djemve që jo vetëm përballen me diskriminim por gjithashtu me keqtrajtim fizik dhe psikologjik. Duam ta ndërrojmë ligjin e familjes, duam që gjinekologet të jenë profesional, duam që policia të merrej me rrahjet e gejave në mënyrë serioze dhe të respektueshme. Edhe pse unë nuk mund t’i ndryshojë njerëzit dhe botëkuptimet në një ditë apo në dekada, të paktën mund të sigurohem se mbrojtja e tillë ekziston. Është më lehtë të jesh ajo që më të vërtetë do të jesh nëse e dinë që të paktën je i/e mbrojtur me ligj. Që nuk rrahesh nga ata që sipas Ligjit, detyrohen të të mbrojnë.

Being a lesbian in Kosovo (and everywhere else)

To be a lesbian often means that you dont exist at all. You are a bad word, an offensive word, a character or fiction.  To be a woman who loves women, or any woman without the right accesory (a man) to stand behind, often means that you live in fear.

In Kosovo (and most of other countries) Women are validated by their husbands.  If a woman decides to live as she wants and wishes (let it be as a single woman or a lesbian woman) it means she is condemning herself to an endless battle for her integrity. It does not cross someones mind that a woman without a man could be a lesbian. Lesbians aren´t even lesbians here – they are single woman, and as a single woman encounter many forms of dicrimination. A single woman does not obey, the are the second choice for a job, since the married woman are the first choice. The married women are seen as thoose who have learned to obey and respect authority.  Why take a chance on a single woman?

A single woman faces many difficulties. Starting with finding an decent apartment for herself; landlords will be suspicous of her morality.  A single woman is put on shifts at work that no one else will take, beacuse she does not have any family obligations. A single woman should not be out alone and out late; there is no one to protect her to be harrased or raped on the streets. If she is an victim for violonce then she asked for it. What did she do alone on the streets late at night? A single woman is never thought to be single beacuse she decided to be that way. She is always seen as a poor, abandoned, crazy, unable to find a man, ugly, or unable to have children. Two woman living together might not be seen as a lesbian couple, but they will still be an object for their neighboors suspicions. 

Social isolation is what many lesbians faces. Especially the lesbians living in small towns and villages. Being a single woman in Kosovo means being marked beacuse you dont fit into the pattern of ”woman of the nation”.  The stigma attached to homosexuals can make it difficult for young lesbians to obtain an education. And also difficulties to advance in life (in all areas)

The economic situation in Kosovo is low and poor. Single people are often forced to live with their parents. To share space with silbings. Women in perticular are faced with this more often, beacuse they cannot afford to move out and become independed. Very few lesbians live alone or in couples. The income is usually not hight enough to cover the basic costs of living and they are depended on the good will of their parents. And this leads to that families feel they have the right to regulate the private life and all other things of their memebers. Many lesbians gets blackmailed, with the threat that their sexual orientation will be revealed for her family and relatives.  And in cases it is revealed they loose the little financal support they gain from their families. Lesbians are seen as a disgrace and a threat to the families honor and prestige.

And what about healthcare? Many lesbians avoid to visit gynecologists beacuse they assume that all women are sexually active with men. Lesbians are often forced to lie. Which leads to diseases that will not be discovered in time or even at all.

I work at Center for social emancipation (QESh), which started in 2005 and got re-activated again at 2011. QESh works with LGBTQ issues but also with “Womens issues” We want to reach out to women. We want to reach out to men. We want to help the young girls and boys who faces not only discrimination, but also pshyichal and psycologial abuse. We want to change the family law, we want gynocologists to be professional, we want the police to handle gay-bashing in a serious and a respecting way. Even if I cant change peoples opinion and view over a day, or even in decedas, I can at least make sure that the protection exists. It is easier to be who you want to be if you know that you are at least protected by law. That you at least dont get beat up by the ones who are forced to protected you by law.

 

All steps, are big steps!

Gender and Books.

Some years ago a novel came out  called Dirty Weekend (I think it’s called Dirty week?). The novel is about a woman who wakes up one morning and knew she  had enough of everything. She had enough of the  creepy stalker who looks through her window every night,  she was sick of getting calls in the middle of the night by this man where he described what he would do with her if he got hold of her. She simply had enough of being threatened and persecuted. The character in the book (the woman) argues that as a woman (as a human being) you are either the lamb or the butcher, murderer or victim. So she takes the matters into her own hands and plans a bloody revenge for “a fucking weekend”. This book created enormous reactions and created feelings of disgust from the male public. The author was called insane, deranged, and a man described the book as a sick, ridiculous fantasy that should not be taken seriously. So, a female author writing fiction about a woman who killed a handful of men gets the male critics furios. They saw red. At the same time, this same genre (thriller) is the genre that sells millions and millions of books every year. Every day a new book comes out where murder, unsolved crimes etc are making us read. I work in a bookstore so I know what sells the most and there are also statistics. Millions of books are written each year with exactly the same theme. The only difference is that men kill women. A man (or men) killing women sells. Women killing men is considered to be “sick and creepy”. Think about it …Just think about it.

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