Yes, the title of this post is almost certainly controversial! It should be.
I will explain the reason I chose the title towards the end of the post – and respect to you if you can guess it earlier. First, however, let me introduce the actual topic:
image by Richard Potts
image by sejanc
It is called meninism, neo-masculinism, anti-feminism, MRA (Men’s Rights Advocacy) and a lot more. To be clear, all these titles carry different implications for those involved, which means the movement is by no means unified, but all actors share a certain belief in the wrongs of feminism.
This week, out of a sudden, my social media was trashed with antifeminism, a topic which I had banned from my mind for the last few months, after I handed in my Masters dissertation in September. One of the leading activists in the US, and founder of one of the websites I analysed for my dissertation, made it into all kinds of different newspapers: Roosh V. Given the recent rumble around one of the websites I analysed in my dissertation, in this post I want to share a glimpse of my analysis with anyone interested in a discussion of the topic that goes beyond: “these people suck” (be it directed at MRAs, men, women or any other kind of social or not so social group).
We heard so much about it – yet it all comes down to the straw.
And the people you love.
I really love this poem, Hermann Hesse wrote 1941 and think it’s still worth considering although it has whiskers. It is neither a travel nor a cultural poem. He wrote it after a longterm disease, reconciling thoughts about death and life.
Wie jede Blüte welkt und jede Jugend As every blossom fades
dem Alter weicht, blüht jede Lebensstufe, and all youth sinks into old age,
blüht jede Weisheit auch und jede Tugend so every life’s design, each flower of wisdom,
zu ihrer Zeit und darf nicht ewig dauern. attains its prime and cannot last forever.
Es muss das Herz bei jedem Lebensrufe, At life’s each call the heart must be prepared
bereit zu Abschied sein und Neubeginne, to take its leave and to commence afresh.
Um sich in Tapferkeit und ohne Trauern courageously and with no hint of grief
in andre neue Bindungen zu geben submit itself to other newer ties
Und jedem Anfang wohnt ein Zauber inne, A magic dwells in each beginning,
der uns beschützt und der uns hilft zu leben. protecting us, telling us how to live.
When I arrived in Kyrgyzstan I was prepared for the ultimate shock that would strike me at one point in the next months. And with Hesse I was counting on the magic that would help me endure it. But there’s more to that subject than mere (always helpful and great) poetry: Science! As I studied the phases you go through, (predicted by scientists of I don’t know what subject – travel-psychology supposedly) I found different models that are of course all kind of idealtypes and are to be individually adapted but that now in hindsight offer the possibility for interesting thoughts.
Lenin on a square in the centre of Bishkek
November 7 was a national holiday in Kyrgyzstan celebrating – the Bolshevik Revolution. Well, every post-soviet country has a different way of dealing with its past. While in most of them every single Lenin statue has been torn down, this is not the case in lovely Kyrgyzstan, where my Latvian flatmate is still shocked and disgusted whenever she sees Lenin on a street corner, friendly standing opposite the national hero Manas. Neither in Latvia nor Uzbekistan or Georgia could bronze Lenin survive his empire.
But for somewhat more contemporary reasons I want to talk today about Russia. Although Lenin can also be found in Russia, apparently the country has developed another way of dealing with its memory.
Nationalist demonstration in Russia under the old flags, pic by valya v. (flickr.com)
On November 4, Russia celebrated “Unity Day”, a holiday established in 2005 to commemorate the unification of Russia against a Polish-Lithuanian occupation force in the beginning of the 17th century. It is also said that the day was mainly installed to replace November 7.
However, “Unity Day” somewhat seems to be the opposite of unifying today. In several marches all over the country it showed to be mainly anti-gay, anti-muslim, anti-migrant, xenophobic and racist (“Russia for Russians”, “White Russia”).
Everyone is talking about health care these days. The US government was shut down due to trouble with the Tea Party Republicans about the health reform “Obamacare”. Okay, it’s basically two different things – the US household and Obamacare – but you see: one can link anything to health (or anything else that suits the Conservatives)…
Anyway, recently random American people were asked about their preferences regarding the health care system and didn’t know that there is no difference between the affordable health care act and its nickname “Obamacare”. See the video here. Still, I guess we shouldn’t be too ready to make fun of them (like we Europeans often are), because, I, being asked about the health care system in my country, probably couldn’t explain how it works in detail either. And if we don’t know about our own country, what then about other countries we have been to due to globalization?
Abandoned health care. A surgery room in an old hospital in Beelitz, not far from Berlin. (pic by Grabthar – flickr)
Recently, I’ve had the unwanted opportunity to get in touch with the Kyrgyz health care system and made some research about it additionally. Of course my experiences (in italic) are not to represent the system but only picture the tiny impression I could get during one week of coping with labs, doctors, nurses and pharmacists of the Kyrgyz Republic. So here’s what I learned: