glimpses of zion national park. click each photo for the caption :)
I’m tingling & I’m only on the 5th page! It’s like I can see exactly how my life is about to change. #grateful :)
Presently at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The double rainbow is behind us :)
Listen, Colorado: I’ve always liked you and thought highly of your people. So, I really don’t understand why you needed to welcome me with THE most terrifying thunderstorm of my life. You have my respect now, too. Okay?! Gosh.
With that said, I am honestly more thankful for the gift of life after driving through & surviving that onslaught. So… thanks, I guess?
Day 1 of Pilgrimage to Lala. Virginia Beach w the Hummels <3
The world as it should be
in a how much better world we would live in if politeness was rewarded?
Why Animal Rights Activists Shouldn’t Applaud the IDF
by Drew Robert Winter and Missy Lane
On November 1, World Vegan Day, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) released a photo on their Facebook page illustrating their policy accommodating vegan soldiers. The measure includes faux leather boots, a stipend for purchasing one’s own meals and the right to deny immunizations in protest of animal testing. Our article is meant to illustrate why this must not be applauded by animal rights activists. Though appearing as a gesture of compassion, this measure is merely part of an ongoing, conscious marketing campaign by the Israeli government to soften its image and obscure the ruinous effects of its occupation of Palestine.
The occupation is segregation. It is apartheid. Throughout the region the separation by race of Israeli-only roads, schools, busing, jobs and housing are “legally” enforced by the might of the sixth largest nuclear power in the world. The separation wall further illegally annexes Palestinian lands, checkpoints are often sites of humiliation by IDF soldiers, and the visas and ID cards necessary for travel are frequently revoked or denied. This severely limits access to healthcare, work, school, and travel for Palestinians. It also affects the majority of non-Jewish Israelis within Palestine/Israel. Baleka Mbete, the National Chairperson for the African National Congress (formerly lead by Nelson Mandela) said last week at their International Solidarity Conference that she has been to Palestine herself and that the Israeli regime is not only comparable but “far worse than Apartheid South Africa.”
The conference voted to support the Palestinian civil society-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) against Israel.
In response to growing international pressure, the Israeli government has strengthened its efforts of marketing itself as a haven for left-leaning ideals.
“We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theater companies, exhibits,” former Israeli Foreign Ministry Deputy Director General Arye Mekel told the New York Times in 2009. “This way you show Israel’s prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”
Since then, other campaigns have sprung up, including the “pink washing” attempts to advertise its tolerance of the LGBTQ community.
While the thriving LGBTQ community in Tel Aviv and even the current anti-fur bill which will hopefully pass in the Knesset are examples of the successful work of progressive Israeli activists, they must be kept in perspective. Nazi Germany enacted extensive environmental and animal protection laws and was the first state to ban vivisection – for which they deserved no praise whatsoever.
Giving commendation for offering cursory animal-friendly options to an institution that is increasingly recognized for human rights atrocities merely serves to further the myth that animal rights activists are misanthropic and will overlook human misfortune as long as fewer animals are killed. Furthermore, the IDF’s trading of animals’ suffering like a bargaining chip in exchange for public approval is itself a form of the exploitation of animals for selfish gain.
Mirroring the fall of apartheid, support for the occupation is crumbling. Those who made public their support for the military that carried out such hateful oppression — and their justifications for it— will be derided as foolish and opportunistic.
As vegan activists who understand that all injustice is intertwined, we must not be bought off with tokens or soften our criticism of a murderous regime. Nor must we ever lose sight of how our liberation is also intertwined—human and nonhuman, the oppressors and those who are oppressed. If we truly believe in justice without prejudice, we must stand in solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian equality and the rights of nonhuman animals everywhere.
Drew Robert Winter is an activist and writer.
Missy Lane worked, studied and traveled throughout Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and has served as a human rights monitor during the olive harvest in Hebron. In 2011 she joined the international “flytilla” action in Tel Aviv and was a passenger aboard the US Boat to Gaza. You can follow her on Twitter: @missylane
if anyone out there can educate me on what i could have done better for her in the future, please let me know!
i sat with a trans woman this afternoon who had just been beaten by her husband. as i walked to meet friends at a rooftop restaurant on a gorgeous DC day, i saw her crying quietly in front of a boarded up business, bleeding from her forehead and eyelids. i acknowledged her crying and tried to see if she was open to sharing her pain with someone. i then walked over and knelt in front of her & touched her leg. i asked how she was doing and she just covered her face. she was disheveled and holding random clothes which i imagine is all she was given time to collect.
it was hard to decipher everything she was saying through her tears and accent. what i gathered was that she’d been w her husband for 10 years and that he beats her. she had a deep scar on her face from lip to cheek bone and other visible scars on her face from prior beatings. she said he called her a bitch and kicked her out of the house. she said other than him, she had no one. all of her family is in guatemala.
as we talked, it was clear that she could never receive the sympathy a “beautiful” woman would were she assaulted. she was born male and clearly couldn’t afford the surgery, counseling and prescriptions necessary to make the transition. as such, though she had clearly lived quite some time as female, her large frame, shaved face and self hatred made her so much more susceptible to abuse. it occurred to me how much her abuser is taking out his own self-hatred on her.
i’m hurting for her because i felt so utterly helpless and i have nothing better to give her than this hurt i have and this poorly written blog. sitting with someone through their pain isn’t worthless, but it damn sure doesn’t get her away from the jerk who makes her feel worthless.
she wouldn’t tell me her name, but if you’re reading this, will you please pray for her? luckily in dc, there is a growing awareness of hate-crimes against the trans community. hopefully, with raised awareness around this issue we’ll also increasingly become more equipped to combat domestic violence against trans women.
Complete: Lovely Level 1 of teacher training. I’m floating on a cloud! It’s been a whirlwind 3 weeks and tonight our little class took our finals! 33 hours of theory, history, anatomy and asanas. Joining with open and compassionate yoginis has been the first steps on this beautiful road to discovery. After our finals this evening (where each of us taught a portion of class!) we sat in a circle and offered something we’d learned in class and from another classmate. Such a beautiful culmination to the class.
I’m so blessed to be under the tutelage of truly impressive instructors. I’m so ready to dive into deepening my practice and taking on the rest of the 200 hour training! First, up though, I’ll take prenatal teacher training for a month in October - which your kind donations have already afforded me. Thank you!
If any of ya’s are willing and or able, I’m still raising the funds to afford the rest of TT200. I’m offering all sorts of goodies to folks who donate to or spread the word about my campaign! Check it out here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/217883/pledges/new