Thehena: joy despite negative circumstances

anarchist-manning

There’s a nice Láadan word for the thing I am increasingly resolved to find: thehena, joy despite negative circumstances. I need to learn that language better.

Certain sites like Facebook and Twitter want to depress us as much as possible so we remain there in a constant negative feedback loop. There is no denying that things are really bad and that they’re going to get worse. But they’re bad enough without mentally dwelling on them, and they’ll be worse enough without waiting in terror.

There’s good reason to be pessimistic – I am extremely pessimistic and don’t intend to stop being like this – but they’re taking enough from us without taking our spirits, by which I mean our will to fight as much as our general ability to enjoy each other and ourselves regardless of what’s happening. Our ability to find joy amidst the horror, and to appreciate our ability to do this, is sometimes the only thing we have.

They are terrorizing us because they are afraid that we are destroying their world by boldly claiming our place within it. They’d rather destroy the world than let us be equal to them. We must continue to claim our place within this world, continue to fight them, continue to make them irrelevant, continue to show how their view of the world is antiquated and dying in favor of something more beautiful, no matter how much they resent that. Elisa Chavez put this in much better words than I could.

I’ve started a daily practice of doing 200 jumping jacks, in sets of 50. This is because I’ve gotten out of shape again, and I want to be in shape so I can be ready for anything that comes. Jumping jacks are where I’m starting. I’m no fitness nut but I’ve gotten back in shape enough times at this point to be able to remember that the initial constant general soreness is temporary and if I keep pushing through it I’ll get to a good place.

A mantra for me has become: I shouldn’t have to do this, but I do, and if I do it, I will be in a better position to ensure that others will not have to. I’m not really talking about exercise or self-improvement when I talk about this. These are good things no matter what. I’m talking about fighting fascism and building a better, more sustainable world, as well as getting ourselves out of the huge hole dug by past generations. If it’s worth doing then we have to try.

I’m fortunate to have wonderful people in my life. They could be gone at any time. I am resolved to find thehena both with them and without them.

Lingua Franca Nova article

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I am not promoting LFN anymore owing to issues with its small community being infiltrated by reactionaries, as can be seen at its Wikipedia, where a user who has written an article about “Cultural Marxism” in bad faith is currently a sysop. Their original article on the subject was pushing an antisemitic conspiracy theory about the Frankfurt School, and their current article treats the antisemitic conspiracy theory as having equal validity as verifiable reality. What’s more, they have abused their administrative powers to protect the article, which, at such a tiny Wiki as LFN’s Wikipedia, makes it nearly impossible for all but a few users to edit, and was not done in response to any vandalism.

Until these issues with its very small community get sorted out, I cannot, in good faith, continue to argue that it is an “LGBT-inclusive romlang.” Quite the opposite is true; there are people with power and social capital in its community who want to see LGBT people dead. I would also be cautious about romlang communities in general, as there seem to be no small number of reactionaries who learn these languages due to their “Westernness,” due to the fact that they were not created by a Jew like Zamenhof, and/or due to them not pushing a “globalist” ideology. I have seen such people in the Interlingua community as well, though they are not dominant.

bóod el ne zholheth

Hey you – yeah, you.

We must be loud. We must be louder than we have been. Don’t just save your noise for protests. Wear your political activism out there. SHOW that you don’t approve of these people who want to take away our rights, to discard the rights of people seeking asylum, and the rights of every human being – citizen or not. You dissent.

Take care of those who are vulnerable, in need, and who cannot fight. Fight for them, and take care of them. Take care of yourself.

We’re not out of the storm yet, and it’s just going to get worse before it gets better, and it’s going to take years – decades – to repair the damage done, and the damage that will still come to pass. There is no “safe”, we have to work and we have to work now.


“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

“Knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

“The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves.” – Barbara Corcoran

“If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.” – Erica Jong

“You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on tiptoe.” – Leymah Gbowee

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” – Audre Lorde

“Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay.” – Simone de Beauvoir

“I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said.” – Thuli Madonsela


Quotes from Native Tongue by Suzette Haden Elgin

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“Any beginning is also an ending, you know. You can’t have just the one.”

“Women are valued to the degree that they serve the needs of men.”

“The language we use to describe and operate in the world affects the way we understand the world, our place in it, and our interactions with one another. Changing our language changes our world.”


Quotes from The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

“The moment of betrayal is the worst, the moment when you know beyond any doubt that you’ve been betrayed: that some other human being has wished you that much evil”

“I want everything back, the way it was. But there is no point to it, this wanting.”

“We lived, as usual by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”

“Sanity is a valuable possession; I hoard it the way people once hoarded money. I save it, so I will have enough, when the time comes.”


Perhaps I seem a bit over-dramatic, looking to dystopian books like Native Tongue and The Handmaid’s Tale, but with Lhayunewithid (bad-orange-man) having the power to appoint two supreme court judges in the U.S. – it is very likely that they will be working to repeal Roe v Wade (right to abortion) AND Griswold v Connecticut (right to access to contraception). Their intent is very much to control the bodies of people-with-a-uterus. I am scared, and you should be, too.

gvatkapitalismo (poema traduko)

kion-vi-pensas

Traduko el la angla de poemo afiŝita en Mastodon de @lifning@cyber.space:

ruĝas la rozoj
violoj bluecas
en gvatkapitalismo
poemo vin legas

kaj montras reklamojn
de florobutiko
kaj minas la klakojn
sen ia ĉesiĝo

ne gravas difekto
de privateco
ja verdas la mono
el vend’ de homgrego

bluas Fejsbuko
cejanas Tvitaro
vi kaj l’ amikoj
estas la varo

Le utilitate de linguas construite

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Recentemente un troll esperantista entrava in un canal de IRC re Interlingua pro demandar proque nos parla un lingua inutile. Io replicava que io ha nulle illusiones re un lingua international construite. Etiam si il es possibile, il non es le cosa le plus importante in le mundo moderne. Le activismo debe concentrar se al problemas le plus importante in le mundo, e hodie illo non es le problema linguistic. Il ancora ha homines sin homes in tote le paises del mundo.

Totevia il me place le linguas construite, como Esperanto e Interlingua, pro le opportunitates que illos me da in le vita presente. Per exemplo, distraction ab le problemas plus seriose. Totos ha necessitate de distraction, necuno pote semper molestar se per cosas urgente/practical. E qui semper se applica solmente al cosas practical, derelinque un parte essential del humanitate. Il es practical distraher se, quia il es bon pro le sanitate.

Le esperantistas troppo enthusiastic pensa que le parlantes del majoritate de linguas construite sole valutar iste linguas excessivemente, mais illo non es ver. Nos correctemente valuta nostre linguas, humilemente. Il es iste sorta de esperantista qui valuta su lingua excessivemente.

Oni ne devas mensogi pri Esperanto por disvastigi ĝin.

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Esperanto estas jam sufiĉe valora, ke oni ne devas kovri ĝiajn problemojn por varbi komencantojn, nek mensogi pri ĝiaj valoroj.

Ekzemple, en la pasinta jaro, mia koramikino aŭskultis mian ĉagrenon pri diversaj aferoj, kiuj okazas en la Esperanto-movado, de la evidenta naziismo de iu SAT-ano, al kiu ties bulteno propravole donis spacon, ĝis la daŭra gastado de la kongreso de Esperanto-USA en Norda Karolino, kie eĉ municipaj protektoj, kiuj certigus la rajtojn de transseksuloj, restas nevalidigitaj kaj nefarebligitaj de la ŝtato. En januaro ni decidis ke ni havu kaŝlingvon inter ni du, do mi ekkonstruis unun. Sed poste ŝi demandis, “Hej, Beka, kial ni ne simple lernu Esperanton? Vi jam scias tiun lingvon.” Do ŝi eklernas kaj mi helpas ŝin laŭeble plej bone.

Alia ekzemplo: amikino mia lastatempe demandis al mi, “Kion vi pensas pri Esperanto? Ĉu valoris la penon laŭ vi?” Mi respondis, “Nu, Esperantujo, la komunumo, havas la samajn difektojn ol la cetero de la mondo, kio verŝajne ne mirigas vin, sed bedaŭrinde estas sento en la movado, ke la problemoj de la cetera mondo neniel ekzistas tie, nek povas ekzisti. Tamen, ĉar ĉia homo estas en la movado, oni facile trovas homojn kun similaj interesoj kun kiuj oni povas praktiki la lingvon. Kaj la lingvo mem ja estas facile lernebla kaj tial eble precipe taŭga ponto al aliaj lingvoj por iu, kiu sentas sin nekapabla lerni lingvon, kiel mi sentis min antaŭ ol eklerni Esperanton. Krome, ĉu vi konas nian kunamikinon Anjo? Ŝin mi renkontis per Esperanto, kaj tiel mi venigis ŝin al nia babilejo, kie ni ĉiuj helpis ŝin tra tre malfacilaj okazoj. Hodiaŭ ŝi fartas multe pli bone, do laŭ mi jes, pro tio Esperanto valoris la penon.” Kaj mia amikino ne perdis la intereson.

Pri tio mi skribas nur por diri, ke oni ne devas esti nerealisma pri Esperanto, nek agrese varbema, por disvastigi la lingvon. Laŭ mi estas eĉ malutile mensogi, ĉar se oni mensogas, komencantoj rapide elreviĝos kaj perdos la intereson.

Esperantujo estu la avangardo de socia justeco anstataŭ lukti por adapti al la mondo.

Mi ne povis trovi taŭgan bildon, do ĝuu mian katon Viki.

Tonjo del Barrio prave skribis, ke Esperanto estas normala lingvo. Mi devas konfesi, ke la problemoj, kiujn mi vidas en Esperantujo, estas similaj al tiuj de la cetero de la mondo. Tamen, Esperantujo ne devas esti tia. Esperantistoj povus stari en la antaŭfronto de la luktoj por socia justeco. Esperanto povus esti elstara ekzemplo de kontraŭsubprema konduto. Kaj tio ne ŝajnas okazi.

Temas nek pri raŭmismo, nek finvenkismo, ĉar la sama interna ideo estas aplikebla al ambaŭ. Raŭmistoj nomas ĝin “kontakto sendiskriminacia” dum finvenkistoj parolas pri homa emancipo. Ĉiukaze la ideo estas, ke Esperantujo estu pli bona mondo ol la mondo ekster Esperantujo. La malsamo estas, ke finvenkistoj volas etendi tiun mondon al la tuto.

Bedaŭrinde, mi plej ofte preferas esti en aliaj soci-justecaj rondoj, ĉar laŭ mi tiuj multe pli bone praktikas konceptojn pri socia justeco kaj homa gefrateco. Tiuj aliaj movadoj ne nur estas aŭskultemaj kaj ricevemaj pri novaj ideoj, sed ili daŭre kreas kaj instruas ilin; ili gvidas la hodiaŭan soci-justecan mondon. Esperantujo tro rezistas novajn ideojn kaj donas ĉiam la saman informon; ĝi estas malnova kaj multasence konservema, kiel aliaj simile malnovaj grupoj. Por ke Esperantujo povu atingi kion ĝi celas, ne sufiĉus adapti al la mondo; ĝi devus esti pli bona.

Bonŝance, ĉu Esperantujo adaptos aŭ ne, malnovaj ideoj kutime postvivas en freŝaj movadoj kaj klopodoj. Oni vaste opinias ke Volapuko mortis, sed ĝia celo ankoraŭ vivas en pli bonaj formoj. Ankoraŭ neniu internacia lingvo plene venkis, eĉ ne la angla. Eble neniu lingvo venkos, sed la ideo daŭras kaj ne mortis.

Por multaj homoj la sveda, kvankam malpli facila, estas pli justa lingvo ol Esperanto, ĉar ĝi havas iusence oficialan kaj neofendan seksneŭtralan pronomon. Lastatempe tio iĝis vera ankaŭ pri la angla, kiam ununombra “they” finfine aldoniĝis al la Chicago-a Manlibro pri Stilo. Kial Esperantujo ne gvidas ĉi tiajn disputojn? Kial ĝi luktas por samrapidi?

Iuj dirus ke “ĝi” estas seksneŭtrala por neinfanoj kaj nebestoj, sed se tio verus, oni uzus ĝin. Se ĝi ne estus ofenda, oni ne vaste ofendiĝus pri ĝia uzo. Eĉ Zamenhof ne povis preskribi la kortuŝojn de aliaj, kaj certe ne povis priskribi la kortuŝojn de tiuj, kies spertojn li ne komprenis. Kompreneble neniu serĉas ofendiĝi. Sed ofte en ĉi tiaj disputoj mi vidas, ke Esperantistoj pensas, ke ni ja serĉas ofendiĝi. Kaj tia sinteno, kvankam sufiĉe ofta en la mondo, estas minimume konservema, maksimume reakciema. Ĝi neniel estas progresema aŭ justecema. Esperantistoj helpu ripari la problemojn de la mondo, ne imitu ilin.

Pri la elstara bildo: Mi ne povis trovi konvenan bildon, do ĝuu mian katon Viki.

The Shoe Doesn’t Fit: How Centrists Maintain Oppressive Power Dynamics

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There is a theory that political beliefs are best arranged as a horseshoe rather than a straight line, where extremists are on the left and right sides of the horseshoe at the bottom, and moderates are at the top and middle. This theory says that extremists on both sides are more similar to each other than they are to moderates.

As a trans woman, the worst part about transition for me, so far, has been the horror of learning that most of the enemies of trans people are not extremists. It’s never pleasant when extremists show up to troll us anonymously or commit violent acts against us (I’ve personally been a victim of at least three physical assaults at their hands that were directly related to my being trans), but without the moderates who enable this, it would not be possible. Moderates enforce their oppressive agenda more subtly: splaining, tone policing, false equivalence, playing devil’s advocate, free speech fetishism, denial of our lived experience, etc..

Even worse, once the extremists have put the humanity of a marginalized group up for debate, our assertion that we are human becomes just one side of a “two-sided debate” in the eyes of moderates. And you can always depend on moderates to police us in any debate, telling us not to get angry, saying we’re being too emotional over the matter of whether we should be allowed in public, etc.. You can count on them to treat “the two sides” as being equivalent. Without moderates, the far right would have no real power.

Recently I learned that Esperanto-USA’s land congress would be held this year in Raleigh, North Carolina, and I found this to be a typical example of how the Esperanto movement makes no effort whatsoever to be accessible to marginalized people, preferring to pat itself on the back over its inherent righteousness and goodness for “la tuta homaro.” A “debate” over the exact same issue on Reddit originally led me to leave the UEA and Esperanto-USA. Still, I felt like I had to say something, and I don’t know why. Why allow the movement to occupy even more of my time as I’m worried about bigger things than constructed languages? But I thought that maybe I was the one being unreasonable, and maybe if I would just say something, they would immediately say “oh, we never thought about it that way!”

Instead I found myself once again being dismissed and tone-policed by a cisgender man, this time from North Carolina. As is almost always the case, if not always, the man who was dismissing me and tone-policing me claimed to be on my side. Despite my initial complaint pointing out that the pseudo-repeal of HB2 had no impact on trans people, and my follow-up showing that there was widespread consensus on this, he repeatedly insisted that HB2 had been repealed, as though a nominal repeal invalidates any practical complaint. When I said he could not possibly understand the situation of a trans person, he responded by telling me that I seriously underestimate the empathy of other people. The fact that this argument was happening at all shows, to me, that I was overestimating it by ever raising the issue to begin with.

At another point in the argument, he said that the fears of “both sides” were exaggerated. To me, it’s statements like this that are mainly responsible for our continued dehumanization. “Both sides” are not the least bit equivalent, and this false equivalence leads to our basic humanity becoming a legitimate “issue of political debate.” The fear of trans people being harassed in bathrooms is real and substantiated; trans people of color make up the vast majority of victims of hate crimes nationwide, and unlike “male sexual predators invading women’s restrooms,” many instances of violent crime against trans people in bathrooms have been reported:

Apart from these official reports, 1% of trans people reported being sexually assaulted in public restrooms in the 2015 U.S. Trangender Survey, which was taken before trans bathroom rights were in the news. 1% reported being physically assaulted and 12% reported being verbally harassed. Transphobia disproportionately affects people of color and disabled people. I doubt Raleigh is special in this regard.

The fear of “male sexual predators invading women’s restrooms” is scaremongering by so-called religious conservatives, a cynical way to get out the vote to elect the candidates they want, based on zero evidence, zero reports, nothing whatsoever except their hunger for power and the maintenance of their careers. Trans people in North Carolina, and elsewhere, are the prey of these psychopathic political predators.

But these politicians are never the ones who do the footwork of dismissing our concerns; they have no interest in our opinions. It’s always “moderates” who end up falsely equating them with us in order to pat themselves on the back for how reasonable and empathetic they are. And in doing this, they practically become the principal instrument in the maintenance of oppressive power dynamics. Their “supporting us” and “not being transphobic” is purely abstract, and its material consequence is the exact opposite of their alleged beliefs.

(Rachel edit: Changed the URLs to links and bulleted them to make it easier to read)