Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Jesus Has Been Kidnapped


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Five Day Lunar New Year Festival starts Feb 13

2013 Lunar New Year Extravaganza:
Feb 13-17, 2013
5 day event Feb 13-17 ($90 for all 5 events):

Weds Feb 13th,  7:30pm
"Cultural Gathering" Tea Culture and Tasting Demo with Tranquil Resonance $22adv./$25 door

Thursday Feb 14th,  6:30pm & 8:30pm
"Lovers' Soiree" An evening of wine, appetizers and romantic Asian/Western music by Diana Rowan (harp) and Winnie Wong (guzheng), with poetry by Laura Glen Louis $30adv/$40 door (2 seatings)

Friday Feb 15th, 8pm
 "Cross Cultural Concert" Diana Rowan and Winnie Wong present an evening of Irish and Chinese Culture through harp and guzheng, with special guest violinist Colm O'Riain $15adv./$17 door

Saturday Feb 16th,  8pm
"Suzuki Piano Demonstration and Asian Musicians from the Bay Area" $15adv./$17 door

Sunday Feb 17th, 1-5pm
 "Family Fair" Arts, crafts, food, instrument petting zoo and performance by China's Spirit Music Ensemble. Adults $10adv./$12 door, children under 11 $5adv./$7 door

Garden Gate
2911 Claremont Ave , Berkeley 94705

A five day celebration of the Bay Area's rich Asian culture as it interfaces with all our communities
through music, art, poetry, food, tea, crafts and more.  Each day has a special theme to delight the desires of all.  Co-produced by Garden Gate ( and China's Spirit Music Ensemble ( as a benefit for both arts organizations.

Names of participants:
Diana Rowan (co-founder of Garden Gate, harpist & pianist)
Winnie Wong (founder of China's Spirit Music Ensemble)
Tranquil Resonance Tea Ceremonies & Cultural Gatherings
Laura Glen Louis, poet
Colm O'Riain, violin
Becky Trujillo, Suzuki Music Teaching Specialist, co-founder of Garden Gate
China's Spirit Music Ensemble
The Watercolors of Mabel Lim, also available for purchase (no website; her work is on the poster)

Prices vary for each event, and there is a package deal as well.
Tickets can be purchased online search for "Lunar New Year"

Garden Gate website:
Rebecca Trujillo 510-472-2834
Diana Rowan 510-717-7148

Garden Gate opened its doors September 2012 and has already become a Bay Area destination for
 quality arts of many disciplines.  We feature weekly Jazz Thursdays, Listen for Life present Music
of the World Fridays, Classical Saturdays and Dance & Celebrate Sundays.  In addition we host fine art
 exhibitions one a bimonthly rotation plus many special events such as our 5 day Lunar Year Extravaganza,
classes, workshops and much more!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2nd Annual Love Show at Gray Loft Gallery Feb 8-23

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Exhibition Title: 2nd Annual Love Show
Gray Loft Gallery, Oakland, CA
Exhibition Dates: February 8 – 23, 2013

Artists’ Reception:  Friday, February 8, 6 – 9 pm  -- in conjuntion with 2nd Friday Oakland/Alameda Esturary Art Receptions
Wine tasting:  Saturday, February 9, 3 – 5 pm  Rock Wall Wine Company
Gallery Hours:  Saturdays, 1:00 to 5:00 pm, Sundays by appointment
Location: Gray Loft Gallery, 2889 Ford Street, 3rd floor, Oakland, CA 94601

This event is free and open to the public.

Contact for more info & images: Jan Watten, founder/director, 510-499-3445

The Gray Loft Gallery celebrates its first anniversary with the 2nd Annual Love Show, which will feature artwork by more than 25 artists. 
On display will be photographs, paintings, collage, sculpture, jewelry, textiles and handmade cards – which reflect love, passion, lust, hope, romance, broken hearts, true love, and hearts in many shapes and forms.  
This is not a Hallmark Valentine show, but rather a visual dialogue about love in its many incarnations and interpretations that reflect a diverse theme of love.

Saturday, February 9, Rock Wall Wine Company will be having a wine tasting of their current releases from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. 
Join us for a delightful afternoon of art and wine in Jingletown.

The Gray Loft Gallery celebrates the phenomenal achievements of emerging and established artists, with an emphasis on those who live and work in the 
Bay Area, in a non-traditional art space.  The mission of the gallery is to provide exhibition opportunities for artists in a setting that is an alternative to the traditional gallery model.  The one-year old Gray Loft Gallery is a unique venue located on the 3rd floor of one of Oakland’s oldest artists’ work/live warehouses in the historic artist district Jingletown

Weekend events will include wine tastings and artist talks. Check our website for updates.

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Contact: Jan Watten, founder/director
Gray Loft Gallery
2889 Ford Street, 3rd Floor, Oakland, CA 94601
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013


A girl wore bracelets that jangled

a pug found a shoe he mangled

a bookworm found participles that dangle

Dangling Participles.
Adjectives ending in -ing (and sometimes -ed) are called participles and must be used with care. Consider the following sentences:
The robber ran from the policeman, still holding the money in his hands.
After being whipped fiercely, the cook boiled the egg.
Flitting gaily from flower to flower, the football player watched the bee.
If you said the last sentence to the football player's face just the way it's phrased above, you could end up a bloody lump of pulp lying on the astroturf, because he might conclude you think he "flits gaily," a thing most people in his profession don't do, at least in public.
The grammatical problem here rests with the -ing and -ed words used in these sentences: "holding," "being whipped," and "flitting." They are all participles, a type of verbal form that modifies nouns. The antecedent—that is, the noun to which the participle refers—must be clear to the readers in order for them to understand what's being said. Otherwise, an action may be subscribed to the wrong player, such as "flitting" to athletes. That's called a "dangling participle," because it's left "dangling" without a clear antecedent.
Just as with compound subject-verb agreement when "or" links two or more subjects (see above, #9), proximity shows the link between a participle and its antecedent in English. In other words, the participle goes with the noun closest to it, either directly preceding or following it and the words which go with it in the sentence. In the example above, "flitting" is clearly intended to go with "bee"—bees, after all, naturally flit—but because the closest noun to "flitting" is "the football player," the sentence seems to suggest that the athlete is doing the flitting, not the bee. The sentence should read "The football player watched the bee flitting gaily from flower to flower." Can you see how to correct the problems with the dangling participles in the other two examples?
In academic writing, dangling participles can cause serious misunderstandings, which is why I dwell on them here. Consider the following sentence: "After winning the Peloponnesian war, Athens was ruled briefly by the Spartans." By juxtaposing "winning" and "Athens," the sentence implies that Athens won the Peloponnesian War, which is wrong. The Spartans won the war. The sentence should be rephrased so that the participle is closer to the Spartans than to Athens: "After winning the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans ruled Athens briefly." Or, you can just rewrite the sentence and not use a participle: "After the Spartans won the Peloponnesian War, Athens was briefly in their control." Remember that precision is at a premium when writing history!"—or better, "when you're writing history."

NOTE on "considering" and "focusing."
Difficulties frequently arise from the misuse of two common participles, "considering" and "focusing," which often end up dangling. Consider this: "Considering the Assyrians' brutal policies toward foreigners, their catastrophic fall in 612 BCE comes as no surprise." What exactly is the writer of this sentence saying? "Considering" means literally "thinking about." So, who is doing the "thinking" in this sentence? Because "fall" is the noun nearest "considering," the sentence implies that the "fall" is doing the "thinking." But that makes no sense. "Falls" can't think; they just happen. Clearly the writer means to say that we (i.e. historians) are "considering." Thus, the statement needs to be rephrased: "Considering the Assyrians' brutal policies toward foreigners, we cannot be surprised by their catastrophic fall in 612 BCE." Now, we are "thinking," which is always good.
Another participle often entangled in similar trouble is "focusing." This example is taken directly from a student's paper I read: "While still focusing on the Greeks, the Persians were also a major civilization in antiquity." Do you see the problem here? As the Persians built their civilization, do you think they were "focusing" on Greece? That is, were they "looking at" the Greeks when they were building Persia. "Looking at" is, after all, what "focusing" literally means. So, 
can you correct this sentence in such a way that the participle isn't "dangling"?*

*Here's one way to repair the participle. Clearly the writer means we—that is, historians in general—are doing the "focusing," so "we" needs to be introduced into the sentence, just as was done before: "While still focusing on the Greeks, we must admit the Persians were also a major civilization in antiquity."
from"Writing Skills"

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I slept with an AK47

Yes. I did sleep next to a AK47. I only touched it once, lightly.
 It wasn't, however, one of the weirdest adventures in my life.
I will blog more of those later.

 I am just gonna be real brief here and say the the AK47 event also involved
 stockings with seams, satin ribbons, and red high heels. It was not my gun, by the way.
I can recall the white sheets and sunlight contrasted with the gun.
 By itself, the firearm looked more like
a toy. I knew it was not!

 I will leave the rest up to you, dear reader.
Someday I will fill in the details but
they are too much for me right now--and for you too..
I also got to hold a Beretta. And was told just to point and shoot if I had to!

 The crazy things redheads get into.

@2013 all rights reserved

Friday, January 18, 2013

f3 Art Event in Jingletown Celebrates The Wolf Moon

Mike Taft, F3 President

“Full Wolf Moon” F3 at the Cotton Mill
Community Art Event

Friday, January 25, 6 to 10 p.m.

Cotton Mill Studios
1091 Calcot Place
Oakland, CA 94606


The beautiful and historic live/work Cotton Mill Studios, located in the Jingletown Arts District in East Oakland, will be exhibiting artwork of resident and guest artists for its eighth F3 event, with the "Full Wolf Moon" theme. Artwork consists of various media, including painting, sculpture, photography, fashion, mixed media, jewelry, furniture, and more. Artists include Haejin Chun, Michael Coy, Peter DeLucchi, Christie Goshe, Jessica Shackelford Hutchinson, Lauren May, Nite Owl Studios, Meredith Snow, and Susan Tuttle. Vendors in the Design Bazaar include Citizen Snap Designs, CuriOhs Handmade Jewelry, Dawn Kathryn Diskowski, Diamond Dazed, Esoteric Brewery, Give Fleece A Chance, Haej.Co, and Protea. Meet the artists and enjoy live performances, unique artwork, and delicious food in this thriving arts community!

The Clock Tower Studio/Gallery is an exhibition venue on the fourth floor, created by multi-disciplinary artist Larissa.
FLOAT Gallery, located in the Cotton Mill building, will be open from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring paintings by Darwin Price and sculptures by Christopher

Other venues include the Fourth Floor Gallery and the Design Bazaar, featuring artwork of guest and resident artists. Some of the Cotton Mill Studios' resident artists will open their studios. The Champagne Bar and the Wolf Den provide additional places to view art, purchase items, and enjoy the community. Live performances will include a dance by Jatara Sehart, an acoustic performance by Gina Glover, spoken word by Michael Ting, Joy Sledge, Wulf Losee and Epiphany Castro, as well as the bands Jukebox Nightmare and The Wyatt Act.

Food trucks will be on site. Get Goes Mobile Cafe is a family-owned and -operated business -- locally roasted and always fresh. Featuring Ruby's Roast as the house decaf and Get Goes Special Blends for everything else, each cup is individually dripped.  Look for them in your neighborhood! Get Goes mission is to pamper the hard-working employed and unemployed people of Oakland. They hope to add more trucks as they grow -- creating jobs for our community. Mobile wood-fired gourmet pizzas get their smoky flavor from almond firewood, and the garden ingredients help keep things local and sustainable!  James Whitehead hauls in his mobile oven and offers a wide variety of tastes for all appetites.  From the simple to the seasonal and sublime, enjoy a hearty, personal-sized pie made custom to your order.  James will be offering a meat selection, a vegetable selection, and possibly a vegan selection, too!

Free BART shuttle transportation will be provided to and from the Fruitvale BART station to the Cotton Mill Studios from 6:00-10:30 p.m. Look for the F3 logo on three SUVs. Please use public transportation or park at the station, since parking at 1091 Calcot is very limited.

Mike Taft, F3 President
F3 at the Cotton Mill website:
Twitter: @f3oakland
For additional information:                      

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have You Ever Been In Love~With An Orange? Cara Cara Mia Mine.

Each time we part my heart wants to die
Darling hear my prayer
Cara Mia fair
I'll be your love till the end of time

I was introduced to my new love yesterday.At Raley's grocery store in Turlock, California. To me, all oranges taste the same so I didn't even know the delights of Cara-Cara navel oranges.  So I just grabbed oranges from the top of the heap under a sign that said 99c.

When I came home with my bags of groceries, my in-house food expert and chef extraordinaire, my daughter Alexandra,  announced "Oh, this is a Cara Cara orange" as she was peeling one.  Then she handed me my slice. I popped the pink/orange bit into my mouth. And-voila! This was the best little orange I had ever had--no seeds, super sweet taste with notes of raspberry and mandarin, no icky white strings. Plus it is beautiful. That was it. I was hooked immediately!.

I am going to go back to Raley's and get some more of those luscious Cara Caras. I'd better hurry since this variety of navel oranges has a short season. I can't wait.  I miss my new love already.

Cara Mia why must we say goodbye?
Each time we part my heart wants to die
Darling hear my prayer
Cara Mia fair
I'll be your love till the end of time

Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine

Cara Mia why must we say goodbye?
Each time we part my heart wants to die
Darling hear my prayer
Cara Mia fair
I'll be your love till the end of time

Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh

Each time we part my heart wants to die
Darling hear my prayer
Cara Mia fair
I'll be your love till the end of time

Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
Cara Mia mine
 -Jay and the Americans

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Why Do They Hate Us? Mona Eltahawy's Fiery Article about Men versus Women in the Middle East

Why Do They Hate Us?

The real war on women is in the Middle East.


In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.

In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don't hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.Yes: They hate us. It must be said.

Some may ask why I'm bringing this up now, at a time when the region has risen up, fueled not by the usual hatred of America and Israel but by a common demand for freedom. After all, shouldn't everyone get basic rights first, before women demand special treatment? And what does gender, or for that matter, sex, have to do with the Arab Spring? But I'm not talking about sex hidden away in dark corners and closed bedrooms. An entire political and economic system -- one that treats half of humanity like animals -- must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.

So: Yes, women all over the world have problems; yes, the United States has yet to elect a female president; and yes, women continue to be objectified in many "Western" countries (I live in one of them). That's where the conversation usually ends when you try to discuss why Arab societies hate women.
But let's put aside what the United States does or doesn't do to women. Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt -- including my mother and all but one of her six sisters -- have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating "virginity tests" merely for speaking out, it's no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband "with good intentions" no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are "good intentions"? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is "not severe" or "directed at the face." What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it's not better than you think. It's much, much worse. Even after these "revolutions," all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian's blessing -- or divorce either.

Not a single Arab country ranks in the top 100 in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, putting the region as a whole solidly at the planet's rock bottom. Poor or rich, we all hate our women. Neighbors Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for instance, might be eons apart when it comes to GDP, but only four places separate them on the index, with the kingdom at 131 and Yemen coming in at 135 out of 135 countries. Morocco, often touted for its "progressive" family law (a 2005 report by Western "experts" called it "an example for Muslim countries aiming to integrate into modern society"), ranks 129; according to Morocco's Ministry of Justice, 41,098 girls under age 18 were married there in 2010.

It's easy to see why the lowest-ranked country is Yemen, where 55 percent of women are illiterate, 79 percent do not participate in the labor force, and just one woman serves in the 301-person parliament. Horrific news reports about 12-year-old girls dying in childbirth do little to stem the tide of child marriage there. Instead, demonstrations in support of child marriage outstrip those against it, fueled by clerical declarations that opponents of state-sanctioned pedophilia are apostates because the Prophet Mohammed, according to them, married his second wife, Aisha, when she was a child.

But at least Yemeni women can drive. It surely hasn't ended their litany of problems, but it symbolizes freedom -- and nowhere does such symbolism resonate more than in Saudi Arabia, where child marriage is also practiced and women are perpetually minors regardless of their age or education. Saudi women far outnumber their male counterparts on university campuses but are reduced to watching men far less qualified control every aspect of their lives.

Debating the War on Women
Yes, Saudi Arabia, the country where a gang-rape survivor was sentenced to jail for agreeing to get into a car with an unrelated male and needed a royal pardon; Saudi Arabia, where a woman who broke the ban on driving was sentenced to 10 lashes and again needed a royal pardon; Saudi Arabia, where women still can't vote or run in elections, yet it's considered "progress" that a royal decree promised to enfranchise them for almost completely symbolic local elections in -- wait for it -- 2015. So bad is it for women in Saudi Arabia that those tiny paternalistic pats on their backs are greeted with delight as the monarch behind them, King Abdullah, is hailed as a "reformer"  -- even by those who ought to know better, such as Newsweek, which in 2010 named the king one of the top 11 most respected world leaders. You want to know how bad it is? The "reformer's" answer to the revolutions popping up across the region was to numb his people with still more government handouts -- especially for the Salafi zealots from whom the Saudi royal family inhales legitimacy. King Abdullah is 87. Just wait until you see the next in line, Prince Nayef, a man straight out of the Middle Ages. His misogyny and zealotry make King Abdullah look like Susan B. Anthony.

SO WHY DO THEY HATE US? Sex, or more precisely hymens, explains much.
"Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently. "But they all seem to. It doesn't matter what country they're in or what religion they claim. They want to control women." (And yet Clinton represents an administration that openly supports many of those misogynistic despots.) Attempts to control by such regimes often stem from the suspicion that without it, a woman is just a few degrees short of sexual insatiability. Observe Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the popular cleric and longtime conservative TV host on Al Jazeera who developed a stunning penchant for the Arab Spring revolutions -- once they were under way, that is -- undoubtedly understanding that they would eliminate the tyrants who long tormented and oppressed both him and the Muslim Brotherhood movement from which he springs.

I could find you a host of crackpots sounding off on Woman the Insatiable Temptress, but I'm staying mainstream with Qaradawi, who commands a huge audience on and off the satellite channels. Although he says female genital mutilation (which he calls "circumcision," a common euphemism that tries to put the practice on a par with male circumcision) is not "obligatory," you will also find this priceless observation in one of his books: "I personally support this under the current circumstances in the modern world. Anyone who thinks that circumcision is the best way to protect his daughters should do it," he wrote, adding, "The moderate opinion is in favor of practicing circumcision to reduce temptation." So even among "moderates," girls' genitals are cut to ensure their desire is nipped in the bud -- pun fully intended. Qaradawi has since issued a fatwa against female genital mutilation, but it comes as no surprise that when Egypt banned the practice in 2008, some Muslim Brotherhood legislators opposed the law. And some still do -- including a prominent female parliamentarian, Azza al-Garf.

Yet it's the men who can't control themselves on the streets, where from Morocco to Yemen, sexual harassment is endemic and it's for the men's sake that so many women are encouraged to cover up. Cairo has a women-only subway car to protect us from wandering hands and worse; countless Saudi malls are for families only, barring single men from entry unless they produce a requisite female to accompany them.

We often hear how the Middle East's failing economies have left many men unable to marry, and some even use that to explain rising levels of sexual harassment on the streets. In a 2008 survey by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, more than 80 percent of Egyptian women said they'd experienced sexual harassment and more than 60 percent of men admitted to harassing women. Yet we never hear how a later marriage age affects women. Do women have sex drives or not? Apparently, the Arab jury is still out on the basics of human biology.

Enter that call to prayer and the sublimation through religion that Rifaat so brilliantly introduces in her story. Just as regime-appointed clerics lull the poor across the region with promises of justice -- and nubile virgins -- in the next world rather than a reckoning with the corruption and nepotism of the dictator in this life, so women are silenced by a deadly combination of men who hate them while also claiming to have God firmly on their side.

I turn again to Saudi Arabia, and not just because when I encountered the country at age 15 I was traumatized into feminism -- there's no other way to describe it -- but because the kingdom is unabashed in its worship of a misogynistic God and never suffers any consequences for it, thanks to its double-whammy advantage of having oil and being home to Islam's two holiest places, Mecca and Medina.
Then -- the 1980s and 1990s -- as now, clerics on Saudi TV were obsessed with women and their orifices, especially what came out of them. I'll never forget hearing that if a baby boy urinated on you, you could go ahead and pray in the same clothes, yet if a baby girl peed on you, you had to change. What on Earth in the girl's urine made you impure? I wondered.

Hatred of women.
How much does Saudi Arabia hate women? So much so that 15 girls died in a school fire in Mecca in 2002, after "morality police" barred them from fleeing the burning building -- and kept firefighters from rescuing them -- because the girls were not wearing headscarves and cloaks required in public. And nothing happened. No one was put on trial. Parents were silenced. The only concession to the horror was that girls' education was quietly taken away by then-Crown Prince Abdullah from the Salafi zealots, who have nonetheless managed to retain their vise-like grip on the kingdom's education system writ large.
This, however, is no mere Saudi phenomenon, no hateful curiosity in the rich, isolated desert. The Islamist hatred of women burns brightly across the region -- now more than ever.
In Kuwait, where for years Islamists fought women's enfranchisement, they hounded the four women who finally made it into parliament, demanding that the two who didn't cover their hair wear hijabs. When the Kuwaiti parliament was dissolved this past December, an Islamist parliamentarian demanded the new house -- devoid of a single female legislator -- discuss his proposed "decent attire" law.
In Tunisia, long considered the closest thing to a beacon of tolerance in the region, women took a deep breath last fall after the Islamist Ennahda party won the largest share of votes in the country's Constituent Assembly. Party leaders vowed to respect Tunisia's 1956 Personal Status Code, which declared "the principle of equality between men and women" as citizens and banned polygamy. But female university professors and students have complained since then of assaults and intimidation by Islamists for not wearing hijabs, while many women's rights activists wonder how talk of Islamic law will affect the actual law they will live under in post-revolution Tunisia.

In Libya, the first thing the head of the interim government, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, promised to do was to lift the late Libyan tyrant's restrictions on polygamy. Lest you think of Muammar al-Qaddafi as a feminist of any kind, remember that under his rule girls and women who survived sexual assaults or were suspected of "moral crimes" were dumped into "social rehabilitation centers," effective prisons from which they could not leave unless a man agreed to marry them or their families took them back.
Then there's Egypt, where less than a month after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, the military junta that replaced him, ostensibly to "protect the revolution," inadvertently reminded us of the two revolutions we women need. After it cleared Tahrir Square of protesters, the military detained dozens of male and female activists. Tyrants oppress, beat, and torture all. We know. But these officers reserved "virginity tests" for female activists: rape disguised as a medical doctor inserting his fingers into their vaginal opening in search of hymens. (The doctor was sued and eventually acquitted in March.)

What hope can there be for women in the new Egyptian parliament, dominated as it is by men stuck in the seventh century? A quarter of those parliamentary seats are now held by Salafis, who believe that mimicking the original ways of the Prophet Mohammed is an appropriate prescription for modern life. Last fall, when fielding female candidates, Egypt's Salafi Nour Party ran a flower in place of each woman's face. Women are not to be seen or heard -- even their voices are a temptation -- so there they are in the Egyptian parliament, covered from head to toe in black and never uttering a word.

And we're in the middle of a revolution in Egypt! It's a revolution in which women have died, been beaten, shot at, and sexually assaulted fighting alongside men to rid our country of that uppercase Patriarch -- Mubarak -- yet so many lowercase patriarchs still oppress us. The Muslim Brotherhood, with almost half the total seats in our new revolutionary parliament, does not believe women (or Christians for that matter) can be president. The woman who heads the "women's committee" of the Brotherhood's political party said recently that women should not march or protest because it's more "dignified" to let their husbands and brothers demonstrate for them.

The hatred of women goes deep in Egyptian society. Those of us who have marched and protested have had to navigate a minefield of sexual assaults by both the regime and its lackeys, and, sadly, at times by our fellow revolutionaries. On the November day I was sexually assaulted on Mohamed Mahmoud Street near Tahrir Square, by at least four Egyptian riot police, I was first groped by a man in the square itself. While we are eager to expose assaults by the regime, when we're violated by our fellow civilians we immediately assume they're agents of the regime or thugs because we don't want to taint the revolution.

First we stop pretending. Call out the hate for what it is. Resist cultural relativism and know that even in countries undergoing revolutions and uprisings, women will remain the cheapest bargaining chips. You -- the outside world -- will be told that it's our "culture" and "religion" to do X, Y, or Z to women. Understand that whoever deemed it as such was never a woman. The Arab uprisings may have been sparked by an Arab man -- Mohamed Bouazizi, the Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire in desperation -- but they will be finished by Arab women.

Amina Filali -- the 16-year-old Moroccan girl who drank poison after she was forced to marry, and beaten by, her rapist -- is our Bouazizi. Salwa el-Husseini, the first Egyptian woman to speak out against the "virginity tests"; Samira Ibrahim, the first one to sue; and Rasha Abdel Rahman, who testified alongside her -- they are our Bouazizis. We must not wait for them to die to become so. Manal al-Sharif, who spent nine days in jail for breaking her country's ban on women driving, is Saudi Arabia's Bouazizi. She is a one-woman revolutionary force who pushes against an ocean of misogyny.

Our political revolutions will not succeed unless they are accompanied by revolutions of thought -- social, sexual, and cultural revolutions that topple the Mubaraks in our minds as well as our bedrooms.
"Do you know why they subjected us to virginity tests?" Ibrahim asked me soon after we'd spent hours marching together to mark International Women's Day in Cairo on March 8. "They want to silence us; they want to chase women back home. But we're not going anywhere."
We are more than our headscarves and our hymens. Listen to those of us fighting. Amplify the voices of the region and poke the hatred in its eye. There was a time when being an Islamist was the most vulnerable political position in Egypt and Tunisia. Understand that now it very well might be Woman. As it always has been.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Love, Unity and Freedom-Art Show by Salma Arastu at Expressions Gallery in Berkeley


Love, Unity and Freedom

Show Runs: Saturday, January 19 – Friday, March 15, 2013
Show Opening Saturday, January 19, 6-8pm
Join us and the Artists for our show opening with music by Lawanda Ultan and Greg Pratt and a guest musician who plays various Persian instruments. Refreshments served.

Expresssions Gallery A Fine Arts Gallery in the Ashby Arts District in Berkeley, CA.
2035 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, California, a quarter block from the Ashby Bart Station between Adeline and Shattuck
Gallery Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, Noon-5pm, Sunday 12-3pm and by appt.
Phone: 510-644-4930, E-mail:

The current show entitled: “Love, Unity and Freedom”  is a show about Art and Poetry. Our Featured Artist is Salma Arastu was inspired to create art from the poems of 13th Century Persian Sufi Poet, Melvana Julauddin Rumi She calls her work Poem-Paintings Salma is a Bay Area Artist in pursuit of peace and positive interfaith dialogue through the arts. She creates peaceful and trancelike imagery conveying messages of Love, unity and freedom. Her new exhibition is supported by a grant from the East Bay Community Foundation through its “Fund for Artists.”
In addition to her work, we have invited other artists and poets to contribute to the show. Some  artists are both poets and artists, some are artists inspired by other’s poems and some are poets whose work is inspired or interpretive of other artists works.
Featured throughout this show are a number of  Free Events:
Friday night Literature and Poetry Readings and Open Mike:  The Third Friday of each month from 7-9 PM we have Literature and Poetry Readings and Open Mic:
January 18 , 2013
Featuring: Jennifer Arin and Janell Moon
February 15 , 2013
Featuring: Eliot Schain and Richard Silber
March 22, 2013
Featuring: Gary Turchin and Wulf Losee  

Expressions Gallery is expanding to an additional and new site at 371 30th Street in
Oakland, Ca. between Telegraph and Broadway across from Summit Hospital
Our first show there is called  “Artistic Expressions”. The show opens as of January 23 with hours of 11 AM – 4 PM. Wednesdays - Sundays and runs through March 24, 
Lots of gifts and fine art to light up your life or that of another. 
Other Off Site Shows:
“The 4 Rs: Reuse, Recycle, Redo and Re-purpose” Runs till – February 20, 2013, Mondays – Thursdays from 9 – 4 PM except on holidays at: City of Berkeley, Planning and Development Dept, on the first, 2nd and 3rd Floor 2010 Milvia St. after that“Celebration,Excitement and Joy” will be at the City of Berkeley Planning and Development Dept at 2010 Milvia Street from Feb. 25th through June 26th, 2013  Artwork is displayed on all three floors and access is Mondays through Thursdays from 9 – 4 PM.
“Youth Spirit Artworks”: Runs through February 4th. Inspired artwork by at risk youth 16 – 25 who are part of Youth Spirit Artworks, a local non-profit organization passionately committed to empowering and transforming the lives of these East Bay Youth through job training and community art making.1947 Center Street Lobby Gallery, Berkeley, Ca. Open Mon -Thurs 9-4 PM 
Art Classes for Children and Adults
We offer classes for children and adults in your home, your school, your organization or senior center, at the artist’s studios or here at the gallery. See our 
flyer for more info about classes and to sign up. Contact our Educational Coordinator, Marge Essel at 510-548-2617  for more information. 

We also offer seminars by accomplished teachers and artists in the field and classes for Artists who need to learn how to take, process, size, attach and send digital images of their artwork. We have classes and equipment for your use through or non-proft Arts and Educational Center. Care to support our Educational Center, you can donate or shop for goods you would normally buy on line at All proceeds go to support Expressions Gallery Arts and Educational Center:

Come on by:
Whether you are a serious collector, someone interested in learning more about art, or just browsing, you are sure to find something of interest at Expressions Gallery.
Expressions Gallery, is more than a gallery, it strives to be an integral part of the community and an arts center dedicated to supporting all forms of art.