Usually, it being Monday, today would be 'serial day'.

It is far from a normal Monday, though, and going on like nothing happened feels, if not wrong, definitely out of place.
I feel bewildered, stunned into silence, and I believe it is time for silence, meditation and prayer.

 I'll be back before or on next Monday.

As of yesterday Pe'Sla went back to its rightful caretakers.

Rapresentatives of The Great Sioux Nation and the Reynolds family signed the contract, the deal is done, Pe'Sla is safe.
It has, in many ways, but no matter what some Western businnessmen may think (I've read people complaining in earnest about 'Those troublemaking NGOs from Hong Kong badmouthing the PRC'), the one thing that hasn't changed is the absolute supremacy of the party.

And so, Monsignor Thaddeus Ma Daqing, the 44-year old auxiliary bishop of Shanghai has been held under house arrest for the last three months, even since he has had the courage ('the gall' according to Beijing) to distance himself in public, during the mass for his ordination, from the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association.

Bishop Ma, has been living in solitary confinement in the Shanghai seminary, the students have been forced by the governement to return home and, according to news agency Uca News, the bishop's closest helpers are undergoing a 12-hour a day re-education course.

The only remaining link between Bishop Ma and the outside world is his blog , his most recent post is dated 21st of September. Is he still there? If not, where is he?
A Chinese cartoonist's opinion on the ongoing anti-Japanese demonstrations in China .

For obvious reasons the author of Hexie Farm is known only through his (her?) alias 'Crazy Crab'.

Patriotic turtles
A nice summary of the Pe'Sla situation in Q&A format

Both the petition and the fundraiser are still going on, the petition in particular seems to have slowed down a bit.

Although the auction has been cancelled, Pe'Sla isn't safe yet.
The auction has indeed been cancelled (my guess is that they didn't want to face an outcry, in particular after Professor Anaya's words), but Pe'Sla has not been taken off the market.

The effort to secure it as a sacred site open to all the tribes who want to pray there is still going on, the petition is still open (and above 45,000 signatures as of now) , so is the IndieGoGo campaign , steadily approaching the 300,000 $ mark.

The risk now is that people believe that the danger is past, letting Pe'Sla slip into the shadow of 'past news' and abandoning the Oceti Sakowin to fight alone.

If you have any way of bringing the plight of Pe'Sla to the attention of the media (national or local, it doesn't really matter), please do so. I've just written to 'my' newspaper, if enough of us do this, Pe'Sla and the Oceti Sakowin won't be the next victims of public forgetfulness. 
From the latest update on the IndieGoGo campaign page :

The auction scheduled on August 25, 2012 for the acreage called Reynold’s Prairie, also known as Pe’ Sla to the Oceti Sakowin (Great Sioux Nation), has been cancelled on direction of the owners representative, according to Brock Auction, Co., Inc:

The owners are not commenting as to why the auction has been cancelled. At this time, Lastrealindians, Inc. is consulting with Oceti Sakowin Tribes and attempting to find out more information. Updates forthcoming.

I'm almost afraid of believing it, and at the same time I feel like singing and dancing tonight.

The IndieGoGo campaign is still going, at the moment it has raised 211,168 US $.The promoters have decided to extend the fundraising deadline to try to reach their 1 million dollars target, but as of now the auction is STILL scheduled for this Saturday. If you have been thinking about contributing, now is the moment.

In other news the Rosebud Sioux tribe has allocated 1.3 million dollars to buy as much of Pe'Sla as possible (I'd like to point out that the Great Sioux Nation doesn't have a casino-based economy, setting apart that much is seriously going to hurt).

There might be some light in the distance: the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya “urged today the United States Government and the local and state authorities in South Dakota to address concerns expressed by the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota peoples about an impending private land sale in the Black Hills region of the central-northern state, that will affect a site of great spiritual significance them” (quoted from the campaign updates), read more here

The auction, though, has neither been suspended nor delayed

If you can't do anything else, spread the word, please.

There is also this online petition I found today, asking that Pe'Sla be designated as historical landmark or nature preserve.
There are 61 hours left in the IndieGoGo campaign to save Pe'Sla from 'development', at the moment the funding is at 147,719 US $.

I found out that there is a petition on-line asking the present owners of the land to  allow the Great Sioux Nation more time to raise the money to buy Pe'Sla, it's a road worth trying in my opinion.

Sign here

My 'save Pe'Sla' auction is still open:

Lot 1   Customs of Old Shanghai

Lot 2  Splendid Slippers for Lotus Feet

Lot 3 Auspicious Patterns for the New Year

Lot 4 Auspicious Paper-cutting Patterns
Since I first read about it a few days ago I've been following the 'Save Pe'Sla' IndieGoGo campaign, honestly with very mixed feelings:

Donations and support messages keeps coming in, true, but where is the public outrage at people scrambling to buy land that was stolen from them in the first place?

Where are all the advocates of religious freedom?
Where are all those guys and gals who went out of the movie theaters after seeing 'Dances with Wolves' declaring loudly that 'It is a shame how they were treated' and 'If it were for me...'?
Where are all the armchair warriors for minority rights?
Where are all the film-makers and writers that made millions off Native history and culture?
Where are all those who go 'Oh, their way of life and beliefs are so great, they are SOOO connected to the Earth, you know, I admire them a lot'?

I've seen more than one crowdfunding campaign for a videogame get overfunded by more than one million dollars in a few days, is justice less important than a videogame?

If you can't do anything else, just spread the world, there is still time if everybody does a little something.

My auction for Pe'Sla is still going on, see the last 4 posts in my journal.
Here is the last 20-postcard booklet:

Auspicious Chinese Patterns (papercut)

cutout patterns

Auction runs till midnight GMT on Wednesday the 22nd

Please comment to place a bid

Payment via Paypal as soon as your bid is confirmed as the winning one.

The Pe'Sla Indie GoGo campaign

Auspicious Chinese Patterns for the New Year

Another booklet-set of 20 original Chinese postcards

New Year

Auction runs till midnight GMT on Wednesday the 22nd

Please comment to place a bid

Payment via Paypal as soon as your bid is confirmed as the winning one.

The Pe'Sla Indie GoGo campaign
This lot is a  20-postcards booklet called 'Splendid Slippers for Lotus Feet', photos of 20 different pairs of shoes for bound feet, from the Sung Dinasty to the early Republic


To place your bid please comment below.

Auction closes at midnight GMT on Wednesday the 22nd (meaning in the night from Wednesday to Thursday).

Payment: via Paypal as soon as your bid is confirmed as the winner

Shipping costs: none, I'll cover them myself everywhere in the world.

The Pe'Sla Indie GoGo campaign
As you might have heard, the Lakota Sioux are trying to raise enough money to buy as much as possible of land they hold sacred, which is going to be auctioned off on August the 25th.

They have a IndieGoGo campaign going, I've contributed what I can but I'd like to do a bit more, so I'm auctioning off 4 sets of themed, original Chinese postcards, the auction will go on till Wednesday, midnight GMT, payment accepted via PayPal only.

I'll cover shipping everywhere in the world, each 20-postcard set will be in a different entry in my LJ, to bid please comment on the relevant entry, if you'd like to help but can't bid, please boost the signal.

First lot:

"Customs of Old Shanghai" 20 black-and white postcards, reproductions of paintings of the late Qing dinasty

Here is a sample image:

old shanghai

The poscards are glued together on one side and can either be detached and used or kept as a mini-artbook.

Once again

Jul. 22nd, 2012 03:42 pm
A post from my friends' page provides food for thought, this post by [ profile] ysabetwordsmith, to be precise.

A few weeks ago I happened across another post mentioning trans-ethnicity (and fighting the notion in very strong, angry and almost abusive terms) it made me very uneasy and I just didn't dwell on it or the matter itself, the post [ profile] ysabetwordsmith writes helped me to think about it in a more detached way and here are a few thoughts, for myself first but also for anyone that might be interested in an 'outsider' perspective.
Why outsider? Because everything I've read on the matter has been written by US citizens, and I know perfectly well that anything dealing with race in the US, due to matters of history, law, tradition and culture, is extremely complex and sometimes utterly baffling to someone who doesn't share the background, when writing about it I've always the feeling that I'm walking a minefield in fog, but, at the same time I don't seem to be able to keep my mouth shut or my keyboard off, so ignore me, or read, or read, comment and discuss, whatever you see fit, so long as discussions and eventual disagreements are kept civil (a note I know is not necessary for anyone on my friends list, I love how you all manage debate).

Back on topic, both the anti- trans-ethnicity posts seem to view it as a cover for cultural appropriation by clueless caucasians, of course the potential for abuse is there, but I'd say that the potential for abuse is there in everything, does it deny the validity of the thing per se?

As [ profile] ysabetwordsmith  says, what about people of dual or multiple heritage who, for whatever reason, identify mostly or only with the side of their heritage different from their phenotype? What about immigrants or refugees who consciously decide to identify with the country they move to? What about adopted children who remove their life before adoption?

This is close home for me, my sister was Korean born and came to Italy at about three, there was the possibility for her to keep in touch with her roots, had she wished it, but she was always very uncomfortable when anyone mentioned her origins, to the point that, when referring to the beginning of her life with us, she never said 'When I arrived in Italy', what she used to say was: 'When I came back to Italy' .

Many years ago in my town, a group of parents, in cooperation with the junior high school and the Goethe Institut organized a course of German for students held by native-speaker certified teachers, my own was a family friend, mrs. S., she looked Southern Italian, had an Italian first name and a Southern Italian family name (her husband's, by the way), at one point she was confronted by a very aggressive student who more or less told her: "Stop telling lies, mrs. S. how can you be a native speaker with that look and that name?". She stared him down and answered: " You don't know anything about my life".
She happens to be the daughter of an army general from South Tirol, because of her father's posting she  grew up in Germany and always went to German schools, has always considered herself culturally German and the official German cultural institute agrees with her, what is it to anybody else?

What about Iron Eyes Cody , the son of Sicilian immigrants who always claimed Native American ancestry, and lived his life accordingly, always striving to support Native American representations in the media and Native American causes and for that was recognized an honored by Natives themselves?

What about the different existing traditions who accept that some souls belonging to their peoples may be incarnated in bodies of different ethnicities? Has anybody the right to tell them: "Hey, you're wrong, that guy doesn't belong to you, just look at him!"

From what I read, though, most of what I found labeled as 'trans-ethnicity' seems to be more 'trans-culturalism' to me, not so much as identifying with a human phenotypic variety as with a cultural spectrum usually associated with a given ethnicity. Identity between the two is not a given. No Caucasian I know claims to be a trans-ethnic Han or trans-ethnic Japanese, for instance, but a few claim to be more at ease in mainstream Chinese or Japanese culture than they are in their birth one, in my opinion that's their call, and their call alone (neither of these cultures is made by a single monolithic ethnic group, by the way).

Even more than the so called 'races', cultures grow and change, interact, borrow and yes, steal, from each other (and none of these goes in one direction only), cultural cross pollination is a fact, originated also, in part, by people who felt (or feel) out of place where they happened to be born and went out looking either literally or metaphorically.    
'Amara Terra Mia' ('Oh Bitter Land of Mine') is an Italian song written by Enrica Bonaccorti and Domenico Modugno, a poignant lament of a Southern Italian emigrant forced to leave his land and his love to find the means to survive.

Here is the text, with English translation.

Under the cut )

Italian group Radiodervish sings a bilingual version of the song in Italian and Arabic in this video

marina_bonomi: (sad)
On May the 20th Italy was hit by a 6.0 Richter earthquake centered between Ferrara and Modena, there were 7 dead and heavy losses both of monuments of historical relevance and of farms and factories (as usual here, often small and medium-sized family owned businnesses), the seismic swarm has been going on for the whole week.
Yesterday there was the burial of the last two victims, damages had been checked, people had started coming back to take what belongings they could and assess what rebuilding and repairing needs to be done, some went back to their houses after they had been certified safe, most people this morning went back to work.

And at 9.03 this morning the quake hit again, at an intensity of 5.8 on the Richter scale, the first shock has been felt as far away as Vienna, then we had two more shocks around 1 PM, one of those went on for 30 seconds.
Ten people are known to have died, seven more are unaccounted for or are being dug out from the rubble (one worker under the rubble of an industrial building was alive and talking to the rescuers over his cell-phone).

 Experts are speculating that this series of quakes is due to the formation of a new fault, most of us are just frightened.
Fascinating and moving video on BBC news, a tetraplegic lady taking part in a cyber-medical study drinks coffee on her own for the first time in 15 years.

See the video
From [ profile] kateelliott 's journal, very much worth reading in my opinion: And Pharaoh’s Heart Hardened



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