Sunday, 3 November 2013

"Go Home."

Home. It is an interesting concept. Home can be a house where one grew up, a community, a city, a country. Some people know home as the one place throughout their lives where they can return for comfort and healing. Some people, like me, know many different homes, each particular to its place and time, but none the less comforting.

I have lived in various countries throughout my life, and I have always loved the enriching experience of travelling, of immersing oneself in a new culture. It's almost like being born again into each new life.
However, as I grow older, I have begun feeling hurt at expressions of negativity towards immigrants.
I have always migrated legally, and my family has always moved from one country to another for generations, so we have family in many countries. These facts deeply affected me in two profound ways. The first, I do not have an ounce of nationalism. I always viewed the whole world as my community, growing up surrounded by people who themselves had not lived their entire lives in one place. For me, other countries are homes in the making, and for the longest time I could not imagine how one could live their entire life in one country without getting bored, without itching to explore more.
The second, I never really considered myself an "immigrant". In most of the countries I've lived, I have ancestors and living relatives. My family's everyday activities are a mix of cultural traditions from various places, so although I've always had a few quirks, I was never easy to identify as a specific foreigner. I made by wearing my "weirdness" as a "cool".

But time passes and experiences accumulate, and these days I feel hurt if I read a phrase such as "go home" or the awful, awful "go back to your country".
The idea of one having a country is pretty strange to me. How can one own something just from being born, or be doomed to live in war and strife for the same reason? What if one is like me, a dual-nationality person who has lived in various countries for a few years at a time? Which country is -my- country?
It may be naive but I believe the world belongs to all of us. I understand that this is not practically possible in the current societies we live, but I don't accept that this gives us an excuse to treat others as if they're worth less, as if their mere presence is an offense. No one is offensive just for existing on a particular place.

I also don't understand how far back one looks into one's ancestry in order to know whether one has a right to be in a country or not. The whole Israel-Palestine is just the most famous current expression of the long process of country ownership claims. Really, each race and tribe and culture has owned different lands at different times and by now, with how much historical knowledge we have accumulated, we should know better.
I am willing to concede that only simple-minded people and those who have yet to catch up with the modern views of the majority would utter such nonsense, but to do so would require evidence from the general population that they find this behavior unacceptable. The evidence is not conclusive yet.

I guess the issues involved in this discussion are simply too complicated to fit into this blog, but I want to say this: try to understand me. When I live here and you tell me, "go back to your country!", I honestly do not know what you mean. I live here, I work here, I am part of this community and I contribute to it, so I don't see why this country is not mine. If one is reminded all the time that in this place one is a tenant and not an owner, should you then be surprised to find that the tenants hold no sense of duty or responsibility for the country? That they care little for it's fate? After all, the tenant can always move to another home and it is the owner who is ultimately responsible.
The way I see it, all of us who live and work in a land are responsible to maintain it, and by our shared experiences naturally form bonds to the community and the landscape which becomes our home. There is no need to break this sentiment with divisive comments.

Besides, just because a person was born in one country doesn't mean they consider that country their home. Home is that place where one grew and became a person, a place one holds dear, the people one holds dear. Don't tell foreigners to go home, they might already be there.

Friday, 11 October 2013

You owe me respect because I am a human being.

And that's the end of it.

Our fundamental human rights are ours from birth (and even arguably before then), and they are only conditional on our humanity.
If this seems obvious, let me assure you, it is not obvious.
As a young female adult living in Amsterdam, I am constantly surprised to find that the reality of European female freedom and emancipation is completely warped.
Once I was by the milk aisle at the supermarket and an old man (senior citizen) came up to me and my sister and asked if he could take a picture of us. Naturally, given that this man was a stranger (who brings a camera to the supermarket...) we declined, and he grumpily grunted a few words at us before we made our move to another aisle. However, as I was bagging my groceries, I turned around just in time to see the man taking a picture of me. I could barely turn my face to avoid it, and I was so dumbfounded (I assure you I am in no way a celebrity or anything of the sort) that I didn't even know how to react other than finishing my shopping.

When re-telling this story to acquaintances, their reactions are even more dumbfounding than the rude Dutch old man's behavior. One person asked if I was wearing a particular headband, reasoning that that might be the reason the man wanted a picture. Others commented I should be flattered.
No, I was not flattered that my express wish NOT to be photographed by a complete stranger was ignored. And no, my headband does NOT somehow and magically remove my humanity so that my express wishes can be easily disregarded by members of my community.
I am owed the same respect as any other person on this country, and that right is not based on whether or not I am female, young, or wear certain items. You do not have to respect people only when they wear clothes you approve of, you have to respect all the people all the time.
And I sincerely resent people who try to say that I deserved this complete disregard due to wearing a specific headband, or that I should be flattered to be receiving unwanted (and creepy) male attention.
I resent a society that tells me I deserve to be treated as a child and be disrespected unless I conform to each person's specific demands about the way I look.

Another time, during a particularly chilly winter, I was waiting at a metro station wearing a Sakun breathing mask. A middle-aged man approached me as we were the only ones at the station, and signaled me to remove the mask. When I refused, he signaled to remove my headphones. When I yet again refused, he loudly asked me why I was wearing it. I told him it was to protect my breathing from the cold and the moisture of the environment, but I deeply resented having to give him an explanation in the first place.
I don't care if you're curious- I do not owe you an explanation for the things I'm wearing, or any other aspect of my appearance. And if you think I'm making a big deal about this, then what if I was hiding a scar or wound I was self-conscious of? What if I had just come out of a surgery? What if my religion didn't allow me to show my face?
My point is that if you are curious about my clothing choices, that is your problem and not mine. Just think for yourself what kind of reasons a person might have to wear such things, and suddenly the question doesn't seem so pressing. Why do I wear colorfully patterned jeans? Because I like them just as much as you like your boring light wash. So there. Now you all can stop asking, unless you're also about to go asking every man in a suit or metal band t-shirt why they chose that particular item.

For every man that has felt the right to approach and harass me for my clothing, there is a woman who tells me it's my fault for wearing such clothes. I tell you, no. I will not accept that my humanity is based on my clothes, and that any man can remove it from me if they so choose. Am I alone here? Are there more women feel the way I do, that we do not owe men our time nor a specific physical appearance, and most of all, that we do not owe them an explanation of who we are?
Speak up. It's them, not us.

Friday, 21 June 2013


I was reading this lovely post about how gentlemen are to handle affairs of the sexual kind with ladies who do not put much resistance to those affairs.
I don't think I need to say anything about it, really, the piece speaks for itself but it did bring up some recurring thoughts about the way men see themselves.

I find the author's views puzzling, although not uncommon. The way he speaks of the slut, it would seem he is disgusted by her. Yet, he shares  saliva, sweat and other bodily fluids with her. This man does not seem to value his own body very much as he doesn't mind sharing it with the slut.
What, in his mind, makes the slut such a disgrace? The slut doesn't respect her body because she shares it easily with various men. Furthermore, she is adventurous and knowledgeable in bed. The fact that the slut enjoys sexual relations also makes her disgusting.Of course, really, what makes her disgusting in his view is simply the fact that she is a woman. The author himself is guilty of every single thing he seems to despise the slut for.Perhaps the author is projecting a suppressed self-loathing, or perhaps he lacks any self-reflection.As much as I believe the author has plenty of reasons for self-loathing, the fact that he thinks he deserves a person who is better than himself in his own views points to the latter as the likeliest reason.
Men, I say to you, stop pointing your fingers at women. It's time for some male self-reflection.After all, no self-respecting woman wants to be with a man who doesn't respect himself, nor have her children born from his"polluted" semen. For every slut that is a female there is a slut that is a male, and it's time the slutty males of the world wake up.You are what you despise.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

I want to be loved, but not more than I want to be.

If you change to adapt to the perceived preferences of others, what can be achieved?
Rather than loving you, you become what they love- but it's warped and misconceived.

Whatever experience you attain by compromising your self is compromised and becomes distorted.

Before you can be anything, you must be.

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Observer

Don't deny reality, however many there might be. Don't be afraid of experiences. A story is just a story, hearing a story won't harm you. Information should be processed and digested. There is no good information nor bad information. Your mind corrupts the experience, distorts it and transforms it into a memory. Not one experience can corrupt you if your mind is clear- then you will know the truth in every experience.  The truth is neutral in whatever experience it may come.

Don't be afraid of experiences. Not one experience can corrupt you.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


"So I guess this is what it is- freedom. When you accept that whatever happens is what happens and is the only thing that could/should have been, because it is. Then, you are free."
"What does it feel like?"
"It doesn't feel like anything."

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Parallel Realities

There are indeed parallel existences in our world. There are people who exist on Earth that in effect, don't exist to me outside of a concept. For example, Kazakhstan (which I had to Google to spell correctly) is very much a real country with real people leading very, very real lives.

However, to me, they exist outside my own reality. They are only real to me as a concept of "Kazakhstani people" which is an empty concept as I know nothing of their culture or even exactly where they are (I will learn as soon as I finish typing this).

The point is, that they exist in a parallel reality to mine. To them, I am not real, and neither is my life. Our lives evolve simultaneously, and to some degree I am sure affect each other, yet our realities are not the same.

A concept of something, or someone, it's not the thing or person itself.