Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yet Another Book Give Away!

Hooray! This is also because I was a total failure when Blog Against Sexism day came around last week.

I have just finished a significant memoir by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She was born in Somalia, at a very young age due to her father's revolutionary politics her family became refugees. On and off living in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. She chronicles her personal journey.

One of the things that impressed me was how she managed when writing about her childhood she kept the simple clarity of a child. The impressions of Saudi Arabia are given through a child's perceptions.

Her journey continues until she flees to Holland. There, she lies to avoid an arranged marriage (she has already been subjected to genital excision by her grandmother) and receives first asylum, then citizenship. She is elected to the Dutch Parliament and journeys beyond the belief in Islam.

There are many controversial opinions. She derides the inability of most Muslim immigrants to the Netherlands to assimilate or even fully benefit from the openess and culture of Holland.

She has been disowned by her family. She has been under a fahtwa order of death ever since she wrote the film by Theo Van Gogh Submission. Theo Van Gogh was shot, his throat cut, and a note vowing the same for Ayaan Hirsi Ali was nailed to his chest with a dagger.

Over and over she, in a matter of fact voice, lays out the reasons behind her opinions. She never states them as a valid, unarguable truth, but that they are her beliefs and should be discussed.

She is currently living in the United States, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, she is still under protection, around the clock, from the Dutch Secret Service.

Again, this is a significant work. The passage that describes her excision is chilling in its matter of fact presention of something so horrific.

Now, to the contest.

Name a strong, woman in your life. One who showed courage and the ability to stand against traditions, social norms, or even God and gave you that same strength when you needed to fight a good fight.

Leave your entries in the comments. I will send a copy of Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali to the winner. I can't really say what the critera for this will be, I promise that it will be arbitrary and most likely unfair. Like art and pornography, I will know what the winner is when I see it.

big brass blog


Blogger Stephen said...

My Grandmother was born in 1915. It's a silly thing, but I'm proud of how she insisted upon staying a left-hander, no matter how many times her knuckles got rapped by the teacher.

In the 1940's my grandfather, a foreman on an oil-rig crew, started to develop crippling arthritis. It got to the point where he was also in a deep depression. After talking to the doctor, my Grandmother packed up her family, rented a truck and drove, all the way, from southern Kansas to Roswell, New Mexico, where she arranged their housing, getting her two daughters in school and taking a job until my granddad was well enough to work again.

She never went to high school. But she never saw a plant she couldn't identify. Same with birds and rocks. She has been a life-long Christian, but was the person who taught me never to accept something just because a pastor - or anyone else - told me to. Whenever I would spout off some nonsense about "the Bible says blah blah blah" my Grandmother would just give me her particular look, wait until I was done and merely ask, "Really?"

I've stayed up the entire night looking through the Bible to try and find support for what I was saying. Of course I never did, she was always right.

My Dad left us and my Granddad died in the same year. My mom and I were pretty much falling apart, when my Grandmother asked if she could come and live with us; running cattle on 65 acres just wasn't as much fun without her husband. Grandmother moved in and pretty much saved us. Sure, we helped her with her grief as well. But it was her steady presence that gave all of us a stable foundation. She grieved, she didn't hide what she was feeling, but she also showed us how to do that while still living.

Grandmother is the reason I'm a progressive. She's the one that helped me to withstand all the wingnut attacks on my politics, the one who showed me that a Christian should support Democrats.

I don't really care about a contest. I just like talking about my Grandmother. She's the smartest, strongest person I've ever known. I'll never repay her for what she's done; I just hope I can live up to her legacy.

9:25 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

oustanding! she sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable woman. i love the old western ladies. they understood things like liberation and equality long before the rest of the culture.

10:45 AM  
Blogger BlkTshrtXL said...

I was a scooter trash single father , who loved his children more than anything else in this world. My hip was broken by a left turnin crack head. I was crushed when I realized I could not go back to what I loved, to make a living. My children's love held me up, and I went for something different in life... Somewhere I read this qoute from Eleanor Roosevelt..."You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do. "

Two reconstruction operations later, I started to really invest in myself. Learned new skills, stood up at a club meeting and said I can't be a part of this down on women crap anymore.... and turned in my patch. I have watched my 3 daughters and my son grow into strong, gentle spirited and confident people. I carried Eleanor and her quote in my wallet for a long time and shared her with all my kids.


5:29 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

there's nothing like watching your daughters grow to turn a man into a feminist is there? being a single dad to my girls was a true joy.

8:27 PM  
Blogger pissed off patricia said...

I never had a strong woman to look up to in my life. My grandmother was great but not strong. My mother was weaker yet.

Once I left my parents home I had to figure out this strong woman thing all by myself. I was my own project. I had to undo what my parents had done to me and re-raise myself to be the person I could admire. I'm sort of a work in progress most of the time but I'm happy with what I see so far. When I need the guidance of a strong woman I look inside myself to my own strengths and experiences, they haven't let me down yet. :)

10:27 AM  

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