Saturday, December 10, 2011

Piercing Winds

it’s not easy

facing the strong winds

pushing, grabbing, moving

tears - from the fears, the pains

of rejection

of Not knowing What or Why

I can only
do my best

caring and supporting

as best I can

taking care of myself
so I can be there

the winds singe, pierce
and whirl by – teasing ....

but not so far – telling
a clear truth – an answer
…. Will come In time
patience isn’t easy

good morning – and good night

December 10, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another Anniversary

November 13, 1964 - 47 years ago - tomorrow as I write - my brother and I were awakened by our mother with the words: "Daddy died this morning" (or similar) - Now at age 60 - I reflect - thinking again of the father I wish I could (continued to have) had.

At that time - as an immature boy of 13 - I didn't cry, though I certainly felt a huge loss. Now - I can be sad - and cry easily, feeling my loss.

I've been very lucky to have had 60 years of living in good health. I've been lucky to still have my mother and others in my life who mean a lot to me. I'm very lucky to have a wonderful son who hopefully will make a lot less mistakes in his life than I've made. I'm lucky to have a lot of memories and a history to look back at.

I'm not "owed" anything more that I'm aware of. I appreciate the opportunities I have to live and make choices in my life that are both important and trivial. My life has for the most part been good.

I'm appreciative of so much! Thanks!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Rojo - Feelings - Etc.

Rojo, our Labradoodle is a cute, crazy 5 year old dog. Until the last month or so he was "ridiculous" in his extreme exuberance - getting extremely (overly) excited around other dogs and oft times people in public - particularly around men (though sometimes women) that he liked.

When Rojo is outside - those who understand dogs at all find him harmless and loveable, while those who don't know dogs at all and/or fear them, can be scared of how aggressive he seems to them. They don't see his wagging tail and silliness.

Roughly a month ago Rojo seemingly injured himself.

His vet - had x-rays done and I was told that he had and will have increasing difficulties with both hips for the rest of his life. As his condition develops - at some point he will need pain medication for the rest of his life.

I am very attached to Rojo! I first saw him as a 10 pound puppy who was about 8 weeks old and have been his primary caregiver over the five years since then. It is difficult, particularly for me, to see how he adjusts to his changed life, where his walks are shorter and controlled and his lifestyle in general is different.

Rojo - rests and sleeps more than he used to do, and has increasing periods of "moans" and other sounds (he's a very, very expressive - noisy dog)- that reflect both the pain he obviously is in at times as well as simply his slowing down and being more passive to cope with his changing body.

A part of me feels like I've been sort of "cheated" - as the innocent (and he was certainly an "innocent") carefree "boy" that I knew - is moving into being prematurely "older". It also feels to me like his carefree happiness - is in part gone forever - though he certainly handles it much better than I do.

I also reflect upon how this again, is an example of how I take things for granted until they are lost - with my sweet dog.

I am crying now - overly emotional yes - but I do feel sadness here. It is also a reminder of my own aging - though not "extreme" - as things in much smaller ways get harder as I get older.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reaching Men (more)

Brie, (and cc:d to Stacey Bellem – see below)
(note: see: http://brieakins.wordpress.com/

I’ve been reading some of what you’ve written recently related to your August 31, 2011 blog entry and the issues central in it.

I’ve never worked in primary prevention, hence at times I may miss some of the nuances related to it.

I agree with nearly all that I have read of your writings in these areas.

I would like to add several things, related to men, that I think are important to consider related to what you’ve written about.

Simply put the issues relate to

1.) Male responses to trauma and abuse – best in my mind approached by Stacey Bellem - and The Unifying Center – http://theunifyingcenter.org/ (website: currently very limited for good reasons),
2.) Male – involvement – in general, and
3.) Bringing about – Major substantive change with Men – Changing – Masculinity related to it
---------------------------------------------------------
As Stacey states much more effectively than I can, men respond to being hurt by abuse as well as trauma , which can come from many things (violence around one, deaths of relatives and friends, serious failures in schools, major illnesses or injuries, etc.), with either (or a combination of) “manning up” (e.g. stuffing oneself – reacting silently) or responding with anger and lashing out generally at others.
Men and boys – oft times including both male abuse survivors and perpetrators of abuse and other violence – commonly need an openness to, an availability of and actual use of serious therapeutic help.

Unlearning – much of “masculinity” and how it imprisons men is an important part of the therapeutic help that is necessary.
--------------------------------------------------------
Male involvement in ending violence issues is grossly small both in relation to the involvement of women and related to how men are deeply tied into the issues.
I’d estimate (and there is no way to really estimate the “correct” figure) that men have done and continue to do well under 1% of the total work done on violence issues. There is a small, but very committed, dedicated community of men such as David Lee, Chad Sniffen, Steven Botkin, Byron Hurt and others who do various important ending men’s violence related work. There is a second small community of male activists (in some cases they could be included in the first group) who focus upon their own oppressions including survivors of various types of abuse and Gay/Bi/Trans activists.

Men tend much more than women (in my estimation) to focus serious energy only upon issues that they see as being “my issue now”. A good example of this is looking back at the participation in HIV-AIDS support work in the 1980’s and 1990’s – the one group that is notable for its Non-participation was – Het identified men. While homophobia certainly limited such involvement, it also was because we Het men didn’t see a relevancy and importance of such work to our lives.

While some men complain online a lot about how there are few agency resources for male survivors of abuse, men who were not abused rarely seek out volunteer work and paid employment related to these issues. While working full-time, I was a volunteer tutor in public schools for six or seven years. I never saw another man under about age 70, doing regular volunteer work in the schools I volunteered in. I believe this was because fathers of young children are generally too busy to do such work, and that other men don’t see such work as being relevant to their (current) lives.

Violence is to me a serious “male” issue. Besides the issues of rape, domestic violence, and stalking - of women (which are very important issues to me), we have serious issues of violence directed at men and boys.

Besides the fact that men and boys are raped and are victims of domestic violence (from women), men and boys also face violence and the threat of violence from other men and boys. Such violence includes rape, domestic violence, sexual and non-sexual child abuse, bullying and the threats of and actual fighting that may occur through “normal life” as well as gangs and similar.

While there is some focus upon ending teen male violence primarily focusing upon poor, Boys of Color, in general there is relatively little focus by men upon violence issues as they relate to boys and men.

I believe that there is a general lack of awareness amongst most men related to masculinity and how it is difficult for us.

http://noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz.wordpress.com/ - is the blog of a young woman (with less writing by a male ally) “Ozymandias” – who, when she focuses upon masculinity – has amazing insights relating to men and women – feminism, male violence and similar. While at times I believe that she overly sympathizes with us men – and views things as: “men and women have it equally tough” (and a corollary – “men and women are equally oppressed”) which I do not agree with, I admire her insights. (Other writings of hers about her sex/social life better reflect that she probably is about age 19-20 and not fully “mature”.)

She and her fellow blogger have had their blogs infested with men who are constantly criticizing “Feminism” as opposed to the statements of particular feminists. O – herself – critiques feminist related issues, but doesn’t simply directly attack “Feminism” or “Feminists” (as a “Boogyman”).

I believe that in addition to the anti-Feminist men – who I tend to not empathize or sympathize with, there is also a substantive group of men who (as is common amongst men) do not “get it” related to various issues related to both – “masculinity” and feminism in general.

I know that despite thirty years of feminism influenced life, I can easily feel – “hurt” and shut down in response to what I feel. If I had learned as a child and young adult to process issues and discuss my issues with peers (particularly men), it might be different. I think that most men I know of do not have a men’s support group, as I have (I got it started some years ago). Even with my support group, it still isn’t easy for me.

I suspect that many of the men – who self-describe themselves as supportive of significant parts of what they see “O” – as supporting, find it important or necessary to attack feminism or feminists - related to their inabilities to deal with their issues related to masculinity particularly When words may hit “too close to home”. I think that they rush – emotionally – to seeing themselves as being Specifically Attacked – and lash back using the only “weapon” they see relevant to what is going on – scapegoating feminism and feminists.

Unfortunately I see such reactions to insights that are on the whole both reasonably balanced and extremely insightful as being a or the common “natural” response to a significant percentage of men being challenged (or feeling challenged when they aren’t being challenged).

I have a difficult time perceiving how it will be possible for there to be substantive change in ending violence (as well as in bringing about positive change which in general will be life affirming and supporting of people in general) until and unless:
Men – become involved – at least minimally comparable to how Women are involved in the causes and issues that exist.

I’m Not talking about 50/50 involvement! IF – one presumes that Male Involvement in these causes is 1% of the total work done, doubling that involvement will still only mean that there is 2% of the total involvement. One could try to draw a parallel – with the participation of Women in electoral politics. Is it significant now – that there are 17 women in the US Senate? I don’t know – but it’s a lot different than when it went from 1 to 2.

The involvement of men in these issues is Not a simple concept. There’s a big difference between the number of men – who were involved in Men Stopping Rape and how many of the men involved continued their activism long-term related to some of the important issues we worked on. While some women obviously similarly – leave serious causes, at least as of today, there is much more of a reminder – day-to-day – of rape as an issue based upon things such as the street harassment that younger and not-so-younger women face that reminds them of rape as an issue in ways that far less men will have similar reminders .

While in some ways there has been Dramatic Change in past decades related to gender related issues, there still are reminders that there’s a long way to go – for many issues. It is rare when women stalk men and then kill them, while men, far too frequently, stalk and then kill female ex-partners - for example.

While I heard several days ago –from a woman – posting in Prevent-Connect stating that in her state there are more Male complaints of Domestic Violence from Women – than vice versa (at least amongst youth), I find the basic part of that hard to believe. Individual men are certainly abused by individual women. I hear of relatively few situations of Men murdered by women in domestic violence cases – except when the Man has nearly killed the woman previously. Far more women are killed and I would guess threatened with and facing serious and often escalating levels of violence from their partners.

It is certainly necessary and important for there to be increased emphasis upon programs reaching both boys and girls as they grow up in schools and elsewhere to help seriously cut back upon violence. Such programs need to address both the concerns of survivors and potential survivors of violence as well as helping prevent abuse from abusers and potential abusers.

I think that it is na├»ve to believe that efforts such as I’ve alluded to in the paragraph above will be sufficient, by themselves, in reducing violence directed both at women/girls and men/boys to the degree that they won’t remain as very serious issues that continue to need additional attention.

While differences certainly exist, there are useful parallels in comparing the Civil Rights Movement related to Black People and ending violence issues related to women and men. In period of the mid-1960s into the early 1970’s the foci related to Black People and Civil Rights changed substantially from changing oppressive laws which limited Black People and favored White People to blaming (primarily Poor) Black people (e.g. “welfare queens”) and similar. There was almost no serious focus upon the need to change the attitudes of White People and to focus upon racism perpetrated and perpetuated regularly by White People.

As the modern Women’s Movement moved beyond some early successes there was a similar “pushback” which oft times singled out Women of Color and Poor Women for blame for various things. There was and is relatively little focus upon violence and its perpetration and prevention. It is rare when there is serious focus upon the highly significant percentage of people who are Abusers – Rapists, perpetrators of Domestic Violence and perhaps most seriously the Abusers of Children.

I cannot imagine how there will ever be serious success in greatly reducing violence until such issues are taken much, much, much more seriously by a significant percentage of men (and boys). Today violence of boys against boys is commonly seen as an issue limited to poor, generally Of Color Boys – in gangs and similar. Relatively few men see the significance of the percentages of men who are abused as boys as a Major Issue, yet alone seeing the importance of male violence directed at women and girls.

It remains problematic for me to see how men and boys will focus upon violence issues seriously and be strongly committed to working to end such violence. Ending violence issues currently and in the future seem likely to remain peripherally important to the vast majority of men as long as they don’t see such issues as being Very Important in their immediate lives.

Oft times where violence issues are important to some men, such as survivors of childhood or other abuse they face two different types of issues in coping with what they face lacking the:
1.) tools to deal with their abuse as per the first section of this writing and
2.) support and potential support of others – particularly of peers who both may not have had similar abuse and where they have been abused, are not likely to talk about it.

I believe that efforts of women to end violence over recent decades have been amazingly strong and oft times quite successful, given the lack of substantive support and involvement of men. My sense is that such efforts will continue to have some areas of limited success as well as some failures until and unless their issues become “male issues” that deal with core issues of “masculinity” – what it is and what it should become.

Bringing about – Major substantive change with Men – Changing – Masculinity related to it remains the basic issue which I’m concerned about.
How men can be reached related to violence issues remains problematic. One can debate the lack of a serious societal concern with issues related to men and violence and “blame society” for why violence continues to be a “female problem” largely in the minds of many.

I have witnessed the growth of the Modern Feminist Movement in my lifetime (I’m 60 years old). The growth of a relatively strong movement of women working to end: rape, domestic violence and child abuse seems obvious to me.
Parallel to the growth of the Modern Feminist Women’s Movement has been “The Men’s Movement”. Beginning in the 1970’s there have been multiple, occasionally overlapping movements of men, with female allies in some cases. I would separate such movements as follows:

1. Men’s /Father’s Rights
2. Self Actualization including Mythopoetic
3. Gay/Trans Men
4. Pro-Feminist

Men’s/Father’s Rights advocates have become increasingly vocal in proclaiming the need for men to find themselves commonly blaming women (or some women) for the primary problems that men face. Where there has been a focus on violence issues within this Movement it has largely been one of proclaiming that violence of women against men is equally prevalent and important to violence of men against women.
While peripherally this may help increase awareness given to men as victims of violence, commonly the vitriol expressed towards women in general makes serious efforts to end violence questionable.

Self-actualization advocates may help some men deal with their own victimization and possibly help some men end their own abuse of others or prevent it from occurring. My general impression of such movements is that they tend to involve men who are privileged economically. They largely limit their effectiveness in working to end violence because their efforts are largely limited to helping small number of peer – men who have had and will continue to have common experiences with these men.

Gay/Trans men may in some cases do effective work within the Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans community. It is difficult for me to discern precisely how effective they are in such work. Their effects beyond the GLBT community are certainly generally negligible.

I am most familiar with the Pro-Feminist Men’s Movement having been involved in it off and on over the past 30 years. It appears to me that it reached its peak success in the 1980’s or early 1990’s and is relatively insignificant in its overall societal impact today despite the impressive efforts of a dedicated core of men committed to serious work for positive change.

The most important reason I believe that most men do Not get seriously involved in violence issues and work for positive change (such as through the Pro-Feminist Men’s Movement) relates to how such issues are not seen as currently Important in these men’s lives. A majority of men do Not see violence issues impacting upon their lives except in distant and abstract ways. Where they may fear armed violence such as men with guns around them, it is likely a different issue such as “crime”, “poverty”, “Black/Latino gangs” or similar – not: “Men” or “Masculinity” or “Violence Issues” for them.

Where men are seriously impacted by violence issues, they commonly focus most of their energy responding to such issues trying to cope with whatever they face. Male survivors of abuse and trauma commonly are either silenced and carrying a lot of weight inside themselves or lash out at others using their fear and anger in the only ways they know how to cope with their feelings. Some Male Survivors do reach out to others and build from their experiences. It is difficult for such men, though, to get support and connection with fellow Survivors and even more difficult for them to reach other men, who commonly may not relate to their issues (or even be open to hearing about them at all).

Efforts by men in the Pro-Feminist Men’s Movement over the past 35+ years have oft times brought men in for the short-term either in reaction to things such as divorces or because they connected to an issue such as domestic violence or rape. A significant percentage of these men become less involved as their issues and priorities change over time.

Efforts by both Feminist Women and Pro-Feminist Men to get men connected with violence issues out of empathy and “doing the right thing” and similar seem to attract only a limited number of men, and to keep them connected commonly for only the short-term.

I believe that serious change amongst men is unlikely to happen until a significant minority of men see how traditional “masculinity” hurts us in a variety of ways and are significantly motivated by such insights to push seriously for societal change. Such efforts will recognize how male socialization hurts us in a wide variety of ways.
Ways we oft times are hurt by our male socialization include:
1.) higher death rates particularly when we are teenagers and young adults from accidents such as driving at high speeds or otherwise acting recklessly, 2.) higher successful suicide rates when young, 3.) fears of being bullied or otherwise physically assaulted by male peers, 4. ) (partially at least) greater difficulties in school and lower grades than female students on average, 5.) seeking medical assistance less readily resulting in increased likelihood of preventable deaths from illnesses and injuries, 6.) significant emotional loneliness and excessive emotional dependency upon female significant others – most notably perhaps among men living after the death of a long-term female partner.

It is, of course, not obvious how we can seriously reach a significant minority of men and help them see how traditional masculinity hurts them to the degree that they will work to significantly change it for the better.

I think that reaching a lot more men in these ways will require both efforts that involve both men and women (and boys and girls) as well as particularly effective efforts of men reaching younger men and younger men working with their peers to build a more effective, positive movement of men.

I would argue that though such a path is difficult, it is the best way for men to help to bring about serious, societal change leading towards a world where violence will be much, much less common and where true peace will be possible.
While the support of women is obviously important, such change will Not occur until and unless a lot more men get motivated and involved in working to make it happen. I believe that only then will a really significant proportion of men begin understanding how Feminism and supporting women is really important and a positive force in their lives.

In none of what I say do I wish to imply that work with women and girls is not also very important. It is entirely self-defeating for efforts to reach boys and men be at the expense of work with girls and women.

I believe that serious work with boys and men will take the time and serious commitment of many of us. To the degree that we look for simple or quick fixes we will not effectively move forward. I hope that more men will learn much more from the failures of men of my generation as well as the relative insights and successes of parts of the modern Feminist Movement.

We men do need to work hard and struggle as well as to learn to laugh at ourselves and be happy, more self-sufficient, more effective loving and caring people. Thanks!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Masculinity - to Vice President Biden

(sent separately via email)

Dear Vice President Biden,

Your efforts on behalf of women related to domestic violence and other related violence against girls and women has been greatly appreciated by many women and men!

At the same time I wonder when you will recognize a Huge problem we have in the U.S. and indeed worldwide that I might label "The Masculinity Epidemic". We, males, die at higher rates than females do from birth on. Strangely though, the rates of difference peak as we become teenagers and don't let up until we are past our mid-20's and move towards "middle age".

It should be noted that we learn to be violent in disproportionate numbers and direct our violence at women (as you've ably noted), but also at other men and boys as we learn to "be a man" in so many ways.

Our problems undoubtedly begin in the home as we learn to keep our feelings to ourselves and be independent of others. In school we disproportionately have learning problems and commonly adapt to the structure of schooling with more difficulties than girls have.

As teenagers we learn not to seek help for our issues and besides being aggressive we also are too commonly suicidal. As we grow into manhood we continue to avoid finding help for our problems, whether they are personal or medical issues.

A significant percentage of men carry scars from trauma or abuse. Stacey Bellem of The Unifying Center (http://theunifyingcenter.org) is one of the few people I know of who is seriously attempting to reach us as men to help heal us.

We should continue efforts such as you are making to societally support female survivors of abuse! We should not make efforts on behalf of boys and men at the expense of efforts for women and girls.

I have created a website: http://www.AMensProject.com - A Men's Project - to try to encourage positive, affirming efforts to help men and boys.

I hope that you will both continue your efforts on behalf of women and begin to also reach out to help boys and men in a variety of ways. Each effort will help support the other.

Thanks!

George Marx

p.s. - I'd be most happy to help in any area related to what I've written above now or at any time in the future

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

More on Masculinity

What follows is a slightly abbreviated part of a lengthy email response - in correspondence with another man Jack.

I see one basic issue - which I do not have a clear answer for which is extremely problematic for me.

Let's assume for example, that:

a. Man 1 - is a survivor of childhood abuse,
b. Man 2 - is Gay and his Gay identity is extremely important to him,
c. Man 3 - is the father of a young child - partnered with a woman and
d. Man 4 - is heterosexual, childless, and somewhat career driven

Man 1's issues of abuse in today's world would oft times be silenced out of shame. He might be "functional" or "dysfunctional" in various ways. If he does seek out and find support (particularly locally), it likely will come primarily from women in agencies that deal primarily with women. (He might find male contacts on the internet.)

Man 2 - might relate to Man 1 - if issues of abuse were highly relevant to him. Otherwise, most likely his world(s) will focus upon his identity - and what is important within his worlds. IF he is a father by choice - he may have some things in common with Man 3, however his circles of attachments related to fathering and parenting are more likely to be with Gay (and possibly Lesbian) parents. Various - other worlds - may appeal to him based upon his identity and interests,

Man 3 - is most likely overwhelmed focusing upon parenting and his work (assuming he also works at paid employment). His support network, if any, is likely to relate to couples with young children - through common daycare connections and other ties through the parenting.

Man 4 - is likely not significantly connected to any of Men 1-3. His world(s) relate to his career, his primary relationship (if he has one), and his friends - who likely share some commonalities with him. He may have some friends who are fathers, however most probably the friendships are fleeting both because of his interests and how little time the father(s) have to spend with him.

When my son Ben was several months old - I noticed how easy it was to interact with women outside our home - who were most helpful as I struggled to shop and similar. These women - varied in many ways - could see me more than completely superficially - and reached out to try to help me. Men - that I saw - would help where it was obvious that assistance - was "polite" - such as opening a door for me, but otherwise didn't really see me in a sense.

I was immediately struck- by the understanding - that a few months earlier - even days before Ben was born, I would have been exactly like these other men.

We men - seem to focus our energies upon - what is "right in front of our faces". If we are disabled, we may see disability issues as important. If we are able bodied (including mentally), we are unlikely to connect with or volunteer time towards issues of the disabled (unless we have a close family member with such issues - where we will in a sense have that connection to which I'm referring).

AIDS support work - had women who were Lesbian, Het, Bi etc. - women saw the importance of the work - back even when AIDS was a "Gay Men's Disease". We het or hetish men - were barely on the horizon of the issue, because it wasn't "our issue".

As young children we face both biological issues as well as societal pressures which encourage us to be the one who:

1.) Plays parallel to or obliviously around - others (boys generally),
2.) Is generally not responsible for younger siblings - though a big sister may be responsible for us,

We rarely learn to socialize with both girls and boys - of varied ages unless we lack any other playmates.

We are pressured to - be with peers - and conform to the norms of our peers - "packs of boys" (our own age, and generally of similar backgrounds).

I had an excellent conversation several days ago with Stacey Bellem, whose organization (under development - website deliberately very limited now) of The Unifying Center - is going to focus substantially upon how many boys and men are wounded (e.g. childhood abuse, living around constant gunfire, growing up fighting with other boys and/or being bullied, etc.) - and how masculinity - is a prime "culprit" (my word). She sees the need for significant mental health intervention and outreach to connect to males - so that we won't remain silent - and anger focused for example.

I have no problems with women such as Stacey - trying to do work reaching out to men and boys. They can be a huge help to us men!

I do have problems with some men (not you) - who take a "we're all in this together" approach - which on the surface reaches out to younger men and women with equal focus. In such situations the women commonly respond much more and the men can be easily sucked up into the positive attention from the women. Again the men and boys in part due to how we are - remain oft times not reached.

I both agree and disagree with you in some of the important areas we deal with. Stacey spoke with me of how her father was abused emotionally by his mother and how this hurt him as a man, distrusting women. I certainly agree that such abuse is not rare.

I think that our separate discussions of issues of racism vs. gender issues are telling in how we see things differently. I would certainly agree with the first part of your discussion where you note that there were (and probably still are) no substantive advantages to being Black.

I would argue that racism remains a major societal problem today as a result of what happened in past decades. White People generally believed that the passage of the Civil Rights Legislation of the 1960's completed the necessary work on Racism related issues. The repeated emphasis upon foci on either radical extremist White People (e.g. David Duke) or upon blaming Poor Black People for their perceived problems really did not get at the core problems of Racism as a "White Peoples' Problem". The issues that remained were viewed as "Black Problems" that were the responsibility primarily of Black People.

I agree that men as a gender - have major issues and that being "male" can be as difficult or more difficult than being "female" can be.

I can not, however, see that our issues are similar in Very Important ways to the issues that women face.

Related to gender issues I've gotten a lot more support over the years from girls and women - in general than from men and boys. The pressures I've felt to "be male" have come subtly from women in some instances and steadily from men and boys in varied ways, sometimes blunt, direct, and scary.

I have been held up at gunpoint twice in my life. That is the closest experience I've had which might help me understand emotionally the fear that women and girls can face from men and boys. The fears that I have from men are limited and relate to a fear of being held up, not being assaulted. I do not have flashbacks or direct associations to my past experiences and these were limited to several months after the second holdup.

While there certainly are women who do not have fears of assault from men, the fears are quite common. I honestly don't know how men who've been abused and assaulted feel in similar circumstances. I would guess that particularly where they were assaulted by strangers in public they may have similar issues.

I can not imagine the experiences of being "hustled" and similar that (particularly young) women commonly face, sometimes related to their "appearance" and sometimes simply being perceived as being female of a young enough age to be "desirable" and thus justifiably being pursued.

It would be so simple to try to point the problems as being "the system" or "women" or indeed "men".

For me to seriously change masculinity - requires us to see that we have both:

1.) Privilege - that women and girls don't have - and see a lot of what this is as well as,
2.) Oppressions - in "masculinity" and a recognition - that it is a core part of a system that includes: Class, Race, and other factors.

The Parallel with race as an issue is important to me. One - great example - is Little Rock, Arkansas - related to its integration of public schools under Governor Faubus in the period of 1956-1958 - and leading into years beyond then. Working class Whites - were manipulated by business interests - Whites with Money - and pushed to oppose the Blacks. The battles - were not in the upper-middle class White High School - but in the high school where the poorer Whites predominated - Central High School. Class - was used as a weapon - to pit Poor Whites against the Blacks - when in a best of world they would have worked together to confront the oppressions of the wealthy White People.

Men - are manipulated by a system - that disproportionately has power - within Wealth - White, often Male White Wealth. Men have natural allies in some Women - in opposing Masculinity. Not all women, of course, are the potential allies.

As long as men - Don't Recognize - the "class power" of masculinity - in perpetuating and supporting the system through men, I don't see how men - beyond a relatively powerless minority, can seriously change masculinity. Recognizing that we have "male privilege" and that it is real, need not trap us in feeling that we want to continue in support of masculinity.

It is important to me to recognize both our potential power - because we are men, as well as how it is and will continue to be easy for men to not "get it" thinking that they will lose more than they will gain by giving up traditional masculinity.

We, of course, will always be "male" and have something that makes us different from those who are "female" that likely will be well beyond our genitals and related body differences.

I can't define seriously what we should in a sense become beyond several factors and clear things that we Don't want. We clearly need to learn the importance of relating to others in ways that deal with our feelings. We need to not focus upon things and material based communication such as is common in evaluating sports figures statistically and "qualitatively" and their teams. Sports and indeed competition need not be eliminated, however the vicarious participation and serious parts of the big name sports seem suspect to me.

I would guess that as male children we will in serious ways need to learn a lot that we don't learn now which will make it easier to relate to others. Part of this must relate to living with serious communication with others who are "different" from us. While this will of course include girls, it also will include relating to and being in relationship with others who are not our peers - older and younger children (and adults). While I don't think that a 1 year old boy will developmentally be able to relate tremendously to a diverse people world around him, I'm very, very aware that as young children we learn from much around us.

When my son B was celebrating his second birthday, a neighbor friend gave him a large plastic bat with a large plastic baseball. My (first) wife thanked her for the gift and said that she didn't think he'd know what to do with it. B picked up the bat and whacked the ball. He'd observed older kids, probably mostly boys, and had a clear understanding of elementary baseball. Girls - in many home settings lack the chance to live as boys often do as they are socialized to be caretakers of younger children as well as "homemakers".

I'm not naive enough to believe that the differences between genders are all related to how we are socialized. I'm also aware that we make decisions in our socialization efforts which greatly affect both boys and girls. Girls also need to be raised in more effective ways. I prefer to limit my focus primarily upon boys and men.

Changing socialization is not simple, nor obvious as to how it can best be done.

It is obvious that boys need to learn options in how they can develop that go far beyond what we can possibly imagine today. We need to help support behaviors which allow boys to be more like girls in some ways as well as doing the opposite with girls.

Until and unless - men in far, far, far greater numbers become far more involved in focusing upon masculinity and the difficulties that both boys and men face related to it, expecting substantive change seems problematic to me. Women have created a substantive feminist movement over the past 40+ years to focus upon their needs.

While the modern feminist movement has certainly had difficulties of its own related to racism, classism and heterosexism (at a minimum), a significant percentage of feminist women have been forced to face serious issues related to gender oppression and discrimination. Where they may deny such issues, reality can get in their way bringing such issues back to them.

I have a hard time seeing where men have had a comparable experience related to our difficulties as a gender.

We certainly face a variety of issues!!! At the same time, I can see little that has evolved in terms of men working with other men to confront the problems that we face related to masculinity.

The foci upon masculinity from my perspective has three very primary reactions from men:

1.) Apathy and non-recognition - the most common approach,
2.) Anger in general against others as well as primarily against women and against feminism - as in Men's Rights Advocates.
3.) Self-Actualization Models including:
a. Gay - Guppie Based - "let's prosper and enjoy ourselves" approaches,
b. Generic - cushioning - that some upper-middle class men have found - which allows them to feel good about themselves and to live a comfortable life - apart from most of the major problems that surround them in much of their lives,
c. A portion of the Mythopoetic Movement - which allows its adherents to live comfortably and avoid the deeper societal problems - at least at a deep level.

All of these models in my mind avoid dealing with the core issues that many, if not most of us, men face in terms of really working seriously to help others - including seeing the issues of sexism, racism and classism as well as heterosexism.

I see two very basic issues related to what I've discussed above:

1.) As men - we need to learn new ways of reaching beyond ourselves and being holistic in seeing the worlds around us as needing our support beyond our initial needs to feel good about ourselves, and

2.) We live in a "class based" world which includes: class, race and gender as primary factors in how we perceive things and move ahead in our lives.

I certainly feel that being "male" is Not giving us "privilege" in some key ways. We are more frail in terms of our survival as a gender. We are more likely to fail in school. We are much more likely to successfully kill ourselves as teenagers - due to the pains that we feel being male.

To the degree that men are victimized through sexual or other abuse as children in particular I see us as hardly, if at all, privileged. Anyone who is seriously hurting, due to major trauma can generally not realistically use most of the privileges that one may otherwise have.

I would argue, though, that a majority of us are not abused or otherwise traumatized. Particularly this is most common amongst those who are not poor, are heterosexual and are White, though some of those of us in such groups are certainly survivors of abuse and trauma.

Such men, and I would include myself within this group, in my mind have a responsibility to try to help others around us.

We face a changing world which increasingly contains fewer privileges than our fathers and grandfathers may have had, if they weren't hurt or contained by others with class privileges and similar.

At the same time I still see strong potential advantages in being male. I can not ignore that realities that are stated such as:

"I think I am even more driven because my abuser still lives at home with my parents, he was never punished and he walks around like he got away (which he did). My parents support him as do my mother’s extended family."

It may seem extreme to hear the words of a woman from the Caribbean referencing the man who has clearly repeated assaulted her and is protected within her culture.

I have never faced living in a world where others might follow me - because of my gender.
I have never faced living in a world where others might comment upon my appearance - because of my gender.
I have never felt scared of others - that they might anonymously in a sense - sexually assault me.

I'd like to come back to some of your words from your last email:

"We should not be surprised that many men are resisting changes that would take them into territory they have been shamed -- and some might say tricked, not just by women but by the culture in the aggregate -- into avoiding.

Moreover, I would say that the past forty years have seen a significant focus on Male Shadow and Female Virtue. Now it's time for the rest of the story -- so we can get this thing right. I acknowledge that there is much that can rightly be said about Male Shadow and Female Virtue. I wonder if you can acknowledge there is much to be said about Male Virtue and Female Shadow. That would create a bridge that could carry a lot of helpful traffic."

I am not clear how we've been tricked by women in substantive ways. The major shaming that I've seen has:

1.) Come from Men primarily -in issues relating to "being a man".
2.) Had parts that certainly had "enforcers" who were commonly our partners and ex-partners - related most commonly to ways that we really have failed to act responsibly.

Where we men are fathers, I've known of relatively few situations where it is not either:

1.) Difficult for both the man and his partner - because parenting and working and living together are difficult or
2.) Clearly problematic because the woman is working, parenting and maintaining the household and the man is carrying well under 50% of the load.

I'm not particularly familiar with other situations which obviously exist - where:

1.) The man is working at paid employment - as the sole breadwinner in the family,
2.) There is serious conflict between the partners

My general impression is that more commonly where the man is the sole-breadwinner - the roles are chosen by both partners (traditionally obviously) - and things work for both partners however they evolve.

Much more commonly, I believe, both partners work either out of choice or more likely out of perceived economic necessity.

I'm really not familiar with the male shadow and the female virtue. I see few people lauding women in general for most anything. I see complaints coming from men about women. I see complaints from children resenting their authority - and where there is divorce oft times having the "good parent" the father who buys the love of his children, during his weekends with his kids, and the "bad mother" who of necessity is the disciplinarian. I see complaints from women about how they feel trapped without options as well as criticizing other women for their choices.

Some women have it good in various ways. Some may financially have it “good” to the detriment of their ex-partners or even current partners. My sense is that this view is oft times biased by the unhappiness of the male, whose perspective is distorted by his pain and anger. Other women have it much better than the men because they develop support systems amongst other women.


I think that there has been a tremendous amount of focus culturally upon men. Indeed I think that we men oft times focus upon men in general. We are oft times caught up in our local sports teams and focus far, far, far too much upon the “greats” of baseball, basketball, football and hockey in the U.S. We may argue about other men such as President Obama.

We certainly don’t focus much upon ourselves and our fellow men and boys around us in substantive, emotional ways. When I parented my son, I faithfully went to his sports practices and games. He was an excellent athlete and cared about sports. In that sense I did far better than my parents ever did with me. At the same time I totally missed being “with my son” in terms of where he was at emotionally. I also missed being with him when what he was interested in seemed “beneath me” in various ways. My wife (ex-wife now) was the one who listened to him and really was connected to him.

I’ve also found that throughout much of my adult life, I’ve not reached out beyond my immediate world(s) to help other men and boys. In some ways I’ve done more than most men, as in having been a volunteer working within the public schools tutoring (rare amongst men) from when my son was in the 3rd grade through 7th grade at least, as well as an additional year more recently. Except for the most recent year, this was done while I was working full-time.

I don’t see us men – building structures – to encourage our visibility in necessary, helpful ways. We do certainly work to build some useful things for boys such as sports teams and the like. We do far less, though, at building the listening and caring for those boys who are having problems in school as well as in many other areas in their lives.

Most commonly the complaints come from our female partners and ex-partners seeking help for their sons. We are surprisingly apathetic unfortunately towards “men’s issues” until and unless we are directly connected to the issue. Prostate cancer is not an issue for men who are not aging. Gay marriage rights are rarely an issue for most het men.

I’d have more sympathy for us men if I didn’t see so many examples as to how we do really focus upon our perceived needs which are different from much of what seems important to me. Early in the 20th Century there were the relatively poor (married) men who found outside pleasure with poor prostitutes. Today we have many ways of escaping through the internet as well as outside our homes.

Obviously, individual women are not without fault in how they treat particular individual men. Some women buy gender roles and push and otherwise encourage men to “be a man” in various ways. Women with money may seemingly “oppress” poorer men in various ways as their “class” interests are seemingly more important than gender in terms of their power and priorities.

Most commonly I see women doing bad things not out of malice, but rather out of ignorance.

Obviously men and boys also to a significant degree make what I would call “mistakes” out of ignorance.

I would like to see many men really work on our issues and get to the point where we could honestly move positively towards a healthy masculinity and then work with women related to necessary changes in both our gender roles as they relate to women and in our relationships in general with these women.

I think, however, that it will be difficult for most of us to successfully do this until and unless we begin doing serious work with men first. Such work of necessity will go well beyond what nearly all of us have done in the past.

We have a tendency, when we see the desirability (and necessity) at all, to want change(s) to occur right away and relatively simply.

To really bring about serious change I see a need for responsible varied efforts from:

1.) 1.) Older men such as you and I both working with our peers and helping share ideas with younger men and boys as well as being visible and available for them,

2.) 2.) Young (adult) men roughly from college age into young adulthood (roughly into their early 30’s) largely working with their peers age wise including helping build new models – using social media and much more to reach out to others,

3.) 3.) Young men increasingly supporting the efforts of other young men building allies.

I don’t see the efforts of any of these groups of men and boys succeeding substantially unless they:

1.) 1.) See and understand how they are in some ways favored by being male, as well as how being male can be difficult,

2.) 2.) Recognize – how they face issues of being played off against others – and seeing how gender, race and class as well as homophobia get in the way commonly and must be confronted and dealt with, and perhaps most importantly,

3.) 3.) Learn how they need to initially deal with whatever traumas and deep hurts they may have – and Then – begin to Move Beyond what I would call the “small I and We” and see others around them – finding common ground as well as celebrating differences – confronting the forces that are trying to stop them.

While women can provide substantial support, I think that in the end the efforts of the men and boys will always be both the greatest strength and weakest link in what happens or doesn’t happen. Where we may “fail” I think that we need to own our failures. Where we succeed I think that we need to recognize both how we have built the successes and how much we owe to many others who’ve helped us in building our successes.

IF we do what I think that we need to do, we will learn a lot from men and boys who are increasingly diverse and are largely not “older White Men”. Our Youth –are our future.

I do not believe that what I am saying necessarily disagrees with much that you believe in. I believe that its emphasis is rather different though.

I’ve had a hard time putting this together and it still doesn’t feel “great”, but is the best that I can do.

Thanks for listening to my words!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sad Metaphor - on Rape - and These Times

I have no idea of whether the former IMF Head is guilty or not - of the rape accusations of the immigrant housekeeper in the luxury hotel in which he was staying.

It is telling, however, that the inconsistencies of the purported victim are explored in great length, while (now) little or no attention in the media is paid to the patterns and inconsistencies of the alleged assailant.

1.) Why would she want to have "consensual sex" with him? Did he entice her with promises or was he somehow highly attractive to her?

2.) She was working on the job. Did she have time to "play around" and still get her work done?

3.) He has a history of sexual affairs (at best) with other women. Have their been similar episodes in his past? If so, were they similar "consensual" all the time?

4.) What is the "power imbalance" between a Wealthy White Man and a Poor Woman of Color?

5.) Is it somehow reasonable for this man to "seduce" or "be seduced" in such situations in non-coercive ways where he may be "the victim"?

6.) Is it reasonable to believe him and not her based upon their respective pasts?

I don't believe that we should believe the story of the alleged rape victim as the "absolute truth". I also believe that we should recognize the power imbalances here and try to give balanced coverage now on the issues recognizing the situation as it is.

It seems so relevant to the exploitations of poor and not wealthy people by powerful people in general in the US today seems to grow so expodentially!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

On Maleness

Oxymandias has a Most Excellent blog posting entitled: “Who Cares About Men’s Rights?” at:

http://ozymandias3.blogspot.com/2011/06/who-cares-about-mens-rights.html

that is insightful, well-thought out and just incredibly good!

I’m guessing that she is a relatively young woman. Being male and 60, my vision is different I think in some small, but perhaps significant, ways.

I think that we are in agreement about most of what is said in such a clear deep way.

As a man I grew up learning that it was a “mens’ world”, but fitting in with that world was inevitably tricky. Conformity to norms I didn’t clearly understand was enforced as a relatively young boy by the threats of getting beaten up by three older boys, who probably were getting beaten by their fathers. In school there were pressures that I never understood, growing up in an atypical household and being an awkward loner. As I grew up I still lacked the social skills to see beyond the upper-middle class, White, Jewish male goals of academic achievement and intellectual success.

Some years ago I saw a small group of young girls (with several younger brothers in tow) playing in the courtyard of our townhouse complex. They were acting out together “a verbal fight”, discussing how things should go in the “play fight”. They were cooperative in a way that astounded me. My son Ben, when their age, was playing with things such as toys and balls and similar with and around other boys. He was not engaging in dialogue as part of a social world based upon active, substantive (in my mind at least) discussions.

The “community” that I’ve experienced amongst White Men largely focuses upon shared experiences relating to areas such as spectator sports and similar. Commonly we are in a world of peers where our foci generally are within our own generally narrow boundaries. As Het Men in the 1980’s we did not focus upon AIDS because it was a “Gay Issue” and thereby not relevant to us. Before we become parents (if we become parents), we commonly have little significant concern and involvement with fathering issues.

Where there are significant “men’s issues”, we care about them when they seem relevant to our lives, but otherwise have little connection to them. Most upper-middle class White Men have little connection to the issues of poor, young Men of Color who are incarcerated, killed and seriously wounded in great numbers. Support and advocacy work for male survivors of childhood (sexual and non-sexual) abuse, who are estimated to be at least one in six of us, are generally left to the survivors themselves or support services staffed and oft times aimed more at women. Prostate cancer can be a big issue for many of us as we are in our 50’s and 60’s and older, but seems ignored by most younger men.

As Oxymandias so amazingly described, we have plenty of reasons to be concerned about both ourselves and other men. What is not explicitly stated, though many causes are noted is that we men are “the weaker gender”. From birth onward, males have a higher mortality rate than females do. While it’s easy to see the differences peak when we are roughly between the ages of 15 and 30 – when “maleness” seems most a handicap to our survival, we die more readily as babies as well. (See my blog entry of November 10, 2008 at: http://geoisphere.blogspot.com/2008/11/growing-among-men.html for specific data – for the U.S.) .

While I do Not believe that most men are rapists or batterers or abusers of children, I do believe that we tend to be “infested” with “maleness” which is harmful to our general health. I think that the biological differences that we have are compounded by socialization which harms us both physically and mentally.

In terms of physical violence, we clearly injure and kill far more men, boys, women and girls than women do. Psychologically I would argue (though some might dispute this) that the pressures to conform to norms of our “maleness” come disproportionately from male peers and older males as well.

Women commonly have reminders which make denial of their “realities” difficult, if not impossible. Menstrual cycles, pregnancy and the threat of various sexist violence from male peers and older boys/men can be reality checks that are difficult to ignore.

The worlds of boys trying to fit in and grow up have their own complexities and traps. Commonly they relate to “maleness” whether it is potential gang violence or the needs to be “the best” in competition in various areas.

Some of us attempt to help other men change in positive ways through our connections to feminism (as well as through our understandings of racism, classism, heterosexism, etc.).

Despite our efforts in recent decades, the positive changes that have occurred have oft times been matched or exceeded by scary negative changes. The internet has ended the emotional isolation of many, while also endangering others’ lives and well being for example.

I find it hard to believe that Major positive change will occur in both:

1.) Ending – rape, domestic violence, stalking and other related violence of boys and men and:

2.) Boys and Men – succeeding (substantively more) in various ways spoken of and alluded to by Oxymandias

until a significant minority of men understand that “maleness” is harmful to us as men. It will then also be necessary that such men are motivated to work to change what being “a man” is for all of us men. Men will need to start seeing how we can be happier and healthier, and how we can live longer, happier lives through positive change.

IF – we can move to such a dramatic change from current reality, men are likely to really be able to take in the positive teachings of feminism (and hopefully of racism, classism, …etc.) and really relate to and support the struggles that women and girls have been through for a long, long, long time.

A far easier path which is a trap is for men to take a “best of” approach, rejecting the worst of “maleness” while being narrowly “self” focused. One example might be that while plenty of devotees of Robert Bly and the Mythopoetic Movement are wonderful, evolving Men, it is relatively easy for White, Upper-Middle Class, generally Heterosexual Men to self-segregate with their drums and rituals in a world which does little to connect them with others who may be substantively different from themselves. (Lots of White “liberals” somewhat similarly Did Not continue the Civil Rights work of the 1960’s into the necessary Anti-Racism work amongst White People into the years and decades beyond the times proximate to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr’s deaths.)

I see the problems of “gender” being primarily a “maleness” problem. Women have struggled and done a lot of excellent work related to Male Violence, gender roles and much more from the 1960’s through the present. While individual men and a few groups of men have done some incredible work, their numbers and influence have been far, far too small to bring about substantive change. While women can certainly support men in serious efforts they may make, they can‘t do the work that the men need to do (and aren’t responsible for waking us men up).

I am trying with: A Men’s Project - http://www.AMensProject.com - to help men find useful resources to allow for easier networking and building of positive change. Other men are doing far, far, far more than I am in the actual work of helping to change “maleness” and ending the violence and pain.

Thanks!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Palestine - Again

from the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

Bassem Tamimi, the subject of an action alert by Jewish Voice for Peace, speaks up for freedom on the 44th anniversary of Israel’s Occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, June 5th, 2011.

Tamimi’s full statement:

Your Honor,

I hold this speech out of belief in peace, justice, freedom, the right to live in dignity, and out of respect for free thought in the absence of Just Laws.

Every time I am called to appear before your courts, I become nervous and afraid. Eighteen years ago, my sister was killed by in a courtroom such as this, by a staff member. In my lifetime, I have been nine times imprisoned for an overall of almost 3 years, though I was never charged or convicted. During my imprisonment, I was paralyzed as a result of torture by your investigators. My wife was detained, my children were wounded, my land was stolen by settlers, and now my house is slated for demolition.

I was born at the same time as the Occupation and have been living under its inherent inhumanity, inequality, racism and lack of freedom ever since. Yet, despite all this, my belief in human values and the need for peace in this land have never been shaken. Suffering and oppression did not fill my heart with hatred for anyone, nor did they kindle feelings of revenge. To the contrary, they reinforced my belief in peace and national standing as an adequate response to the inhumanity of Occupation.

International law guarantees the right of occupied people to resist Occupation. In practicing my right, I have called for and organized peaceful popular demonstrations against the Occupation, settler attacks and the theft of more than half of the land of my village, Nabi Saleh, where the graves of my ancestors have lain since time immemorial.

I organized these peaceful demonstrations in order to defend our land and our people. I do not know if my actions violate your Occupation laws. As far as I am concerned, these laws do not apply to me and are devoid of meaning. Having been enacted by Occupation authorities, I reject them and cannot recognize their validity.

Despite claiming to be the only democracy in the Middle East you are trying me under military laws which lack any legitimacy; laws that are enacted by authorities that I have not elected and do not represent me. I am accused of organizing peaceful civil demonstrations that have no military aspects and are legal under international law.

We have the right to express our rejection of Occupation in all of its forms; to defend our freedom and dignity as a people and to seek justice and peace in our land in order to protect our children and secure their future.

The civil nature of our actions is the light that will overcome the darkness of the Occupation, bringing a dawn of freedom that will warm the cold wrists in chains, sweep despair from the soul and end decades of oppression.

These actions are what will expose the true face of the Occupation, where soldiers point their guns at a woman walking to her fields or at checkpoints; at a child who wants to drink from the sweet water of his ancestors’ fabled spring; against an old man who wants to sit in the shade of an olive tree, once mother to him, now burnt by settlers.

We have exhausted all possible actions to stop attacks by settlers, who refuse to adhere to your courts’ decisions, which time and again have confirmed that we are the owners of the land, ordering the removal of the fence erected by them.

Each time we tried to approach our land, implementing these decisions, we were attacked by settlers, who prevented us from reaching it as if it were their own.

Our demonstrations are in protest of injustice. We work hand in hand with Israeli and international activists who believe, like us, that had it not been for the Occupation, we could all live in peace on this land. I do not know which laws are upheld by generals who are inhibited by fear and insecurity, nor do I know their thoughts on the civil resistance of women, children and old men who carry hope and olive branches. But I know what justice and reason are. Land theft and tree-burning is unjust. Violent repression of our demonstrations and protests and your detention camps are not evidence of the illegality of our actions. It is unfair to be tryed under a law forced upon us. I know that I have rights and my actions are just.

The military prosecutor accuses me of inciting the protesters to throw stones at the soldiers. This is not true. What incites protesters to throw stones is the sound of bullets, the Occupation’s bulldozers as they destroy the land, the smell of teargas and the smoke coming from burnt houses. I did not incite anyone to throw stones, but I am not responsible for the security of your soldiers who invade my village and attack my people with all the weapons of death and the equipment of terror.

These demonstrations that I organize have had a positive influence over my beliefs; they allowed me to see people from the other side who believe in peace and share my struggle for freedom. Those freedom fighters have rid their conscious from the Occupation and put their hands in ours in peaceful demonstrations against our common enemy, the Occupation. They have become friends, sisters and brothers. We fight together for a better future for our children and theirs.

If released by the judge will I be convinced thereby that justice still prevails in your courts? Regardless of how just or unjust this ruling will be, and despite all your racist and inhumane practices and Occupation, we will continue to believe in peace, justice and human values. We will still raise our children to love; love the land and the people without discrimination of race, religion or ethnicity; embodying thus the message of the Messenger of Peace, Jesus Christ, who urged us to “love our enemy.” With love and justice, we make peace and build the future.

Background
Bassem Tamimi is a veteran Palestinian grassroots activist from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, north of Ramallah. He is married to Nariman Tamimi, with whom he fathers four children – Wa’ed (14), Ahed (10), Mohammed (8) and Salam (5).

As a veteran activist, Tamimi has been arrested by the Israeli army 11 times to date and has spent roughly three years in Israeli jails, though he was never convicted of any offence. He spent roughly three years in administrative detention, with no charges brought against him. Furthermore, his attorney and he were denied access to “secret evidence” brought against him.

In 1993, Tamimi was falsely arrested on suspicion of having murdered an Israeli settler in Beit El – an allegation of which he was cleared entirely. During his weeks-long interrogation, he was severely tortured by the Israeli Shin Bet in order to draw a coerced confession from him. During his interrogation, and as a result of the torture he underwent, Tamimi collapsed and had to be evacuated to a hospital, where he laid unconscious for seven days.

As one of the organizers of the Nabi Saleh protests and coordinator of the village’s popular committee, Tamimi has been the target of harsh treatment by the Israeli army. Since demonstrations began in the village, his house has been raided and ransacked numerous times, his wife was twice arrested and two of his sons were injured; Wa’ed, 14, was hospitalized for five days when a rubber-coated bullet penetrated his leg and Mohammed, 8, was injured by a tear-gas projectile that was shot directly at him and hit him in the shoulder. Shortly after demonstrations in the village began, the Israeli Civil Administration served ten demolition orders to structures located in Area C, Tamimi’s house was one of them, despite the fact that it was built in 1965.