Monday, August 5, 2013

Whose Dabke?

Came across a picture yesterday.  A woman, sitting on the ground, breastfeeding her child.  In the background is an Enfamil booth at some "baby expo" disaster.  The woman in the picture said she was astonished and horrified that, while this "baby expo" had half a dozen formula company/bottle-feeding accessory booths handing out coupons, freebies, and "parenting advice" (ack!), there was not ONE booth for breast pumps, breast feeding advice, or even slings for nursing.

You know, it's no wonder women so often fail at breastfeeding--or worse, don't even try.  Even most doctors are abysmally bad at offering accurate advice and meaningful support to new moms looking to breastfeed.  Heck, most doctors (even pediatricians) have almost zero nutritional education under their belts, and have office walls plastered by posters and growth charts from formula companies.  And why do women struggle?  Why do they, so often, fail?  Well, the ill-informed docs aside, we have families with multi-generational legacies of formula feeding (like mine), so women can't rely upon their families for guidance.  In addition, no one can package or manufacture or rake in the bucks pushing breastfeeding, and therefor it's not marketed the way imitation milk is. And that's a damned shame, it really is--for all involved.

Worse than that was the response to the picture.  The number of women who squealed that it was insulting, that it shamed them because they don't nurse, that such things shouldn't be allowed BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT BREASTFEEDING.

Seriously.  Women said that.  "Your public breastfeeding makes me feel attacked for not breastfeeding."

That is absolutely ridiculous.  If the science of breast milk vs formula makes you feel insulted, if the reality of a woman breastfeeding makes you feel attacked, you need to look INWARD and figure out what's going on with YOU.  Because someone relaying the scientific reality of breast milk's superiority shouldn't make you feel attacked.  It's not an attack, not a verdict on the quality of mothering--it's science.  And the sight of a woman nursing her baby?  Well that's beauty from the beginning of humans.  If you can't see it, you've got something else going on.  I hope you fix it.


A story came across my feed yesterday.  One about an "Israeli Dabke" dance group performing in the States.

Are you familiar with the concept of "cultural appropriation by an occupying force?"  It goes something like this:

  1. Occupy the lands of others, forcing them into foreign exile, camps, or small, walled or fenced-in remnants of their homeland.
  2. Enforce apartheid laws oppressing the native population while raising up the occupiers to a higher legal and social standing.
  3. Accuse natives who protest or resist of "terrorism," utilizing blockades, bombings, arrest (of children as well as adults), and indefinite imprisonment without charges as punishments for resisting (or being related to someone who resists, or living in a town where someone might have resisted).
  4. Adopt the cultural heritage of the occupied/oppressed people, claiming it as your own.
  5. Claim the occupied people have no culture, nothing about them that makes them unique (because you've already appropriated it for yourself).

Welcome to Palestine, my friends.  Where the Palestinian Dabke has been appropriated by an Israeli dance group and is now being forwarded in America as something uniquely Israeli.  You know, same way hummus, tabouli, couscous, sambusa, and a thousand other things have been hijacked.

Here, here's this:

And then here's this:

Go out online, you will find hundreds of Palestinian and other Arab Dabkes.  I remember my first Palestinian party/dinner.  Out of the blue, a man stood.  And then another.  And then more.  And then my then-husband stood.  And they danced.  They stomped and leapt.  It was such an amazing, beautiful, energetic thing, and it really drove home to me that my husband had a whole world of experience that was completely foreign to me.  Experiences that were so very exotic and alien (to me).   He said Dabke is an expression of life, of passion, and that no one takes "dabke lessons," that children just learn by seeing and wait for the day they can join.  He said it's second-nature, like hopscotch or jump rope, only with a very real tie to home and land and culture and country.

That country would be Palestine.  There are some who would have us forget that Palestine is and was a culture of its own, a homeland before highrise eyesore settlements and concrete walls through Palestinian olive groves "made the desert bloom."  Not all Israelis support that cultural demolition, not all Israelis support oppression and occupation.  Don't make that mistake.  Some turn out in support of Palestine and her people, and they do so at some risk to themselves.

Thank goodness.


And now there's this.  Guys like this make it hard.  I always hear how this sort of thing is a rarity, but I've seen it more times than I can count--weaving in and out while speeding, popping "wheelies" in the middle of traffic, not signaling, traveling two and three to a lane, running up between lanes, between cars, racing along down canyon roads at near-twice the speed limit, riding 10 inches off the car ahead's bumper, racing down the emergency lane, stopping in the middle of the road to have a CHAT with their buds.  I see the "Start Seeing Motorcycles" stickers everywhere (and AGREE with them), but I'm wondering where the "START SEEING CARS AND OBEYING TRAFFIC LAWS" stickers are?  


Now, if I haven't managed to piss you off with this blog entry, give me a few days, I'll bet I can come up with something.  No, that's not my intent, but I find that my refusal to pat heads and mince words tends to upset people.  I do love America and her Constitution, even if her Congress is a wingnut cesspool these days. 

Ooops.  There I go again!

No comments:

Post a Comment