[Intelligence, they say, flows from the personal to the personal, it is known, experienced and lived through the personal, and enacted through the personal. It goes from this elephant, to that tree, to that bird, to that valley, to that river, to this land, to this sea. It is deeply personal to each of my white blood cells, to each of the trillions of bacteria in every gut, to every vein in every body, every enzyme in every gut, every tree in every forest, and every star in every galaxy.
Intelligence, they say, in fact, requires the personal, the beloved, and the rooted. It requires you and me.
The last thing we need to do, in this last hour, is prove or measure or debate it or put dollar values on it, or bottle it up for posterity. Just listen to your body.]
So I inadvertently wore some bloodstained pants to town today. Not bloodstained from killing some of the many people I does fantasize about killing.. Ha. Nah- just a lil menstrual blood from last month. My mental health doan be good all di time, see- I does go long long without cleaning di house, washing clothes, etc, esp since I aint got no washing machine and does have to do it by hand. So I wore these pants today, forgetting they were bloodstained and bopped all round town until my big woman fren from Berbice alerted me and told me I had to ketch house. But I din finish doing all that I come to town to do, I tell her. Nevermind- you got to go home! I din bother fight up with her, just said bye and hit the road. Out of her sight, I cracked up at the big bad power of di lil spot of blood on my bamzee. I mean, I’ve had paper cuts that bled more. Nosebleeds. Hangnails. But I guess because that blood came from my VAGINA it was somehow bigger and badder than all the other blood in my body. Lol. Nevermind that 50+% of the human population is female and menstruates/bleeds on a regular basis- without which, btw, the human species would go extinct/cease to exist, just fyi. But noooo, is still some shhhhhhecret apparently. Lol. I know a lot of people- girls to big women- have no clue about what’s happening when they menstruate. Hello inadequate sexual and reproductive health education! But even when you know, is still stress dealing with the fukkin patriarchy and respectability politricks that polices the shit out of what women wear, say, and do with our lives- esp/worse when the ‘police’ are other women/“sisters”. Luckily, the older and wiser I get, the less I’m giving a fuk. So I kept on bopping around town- went to buy food for my 4 legged chirren (thank the goddesses these are the only ones I have to deal with), then had a couple cold ones in celebration of my trans brother who just had a birthday. Because it’s just a lil dry blood and not like I killed anybody. #surviving. #thriving. Party on 😉
No, it’s not a style; is jus how my hair stay. NO- i’m not dyeing it. what’s that- you don’t like it? that’s not my problem 🙂 From now on, only small children will get polite answers from me about my gray hair. everyone else- beware!
Guyana-born Courtney Crum-Ewing
Political activist assassinated in Guyana on March 10, 2015
In memory of Courtney Crum-Ewing, Guyana-born political activist assassinated on March 10, 2015, I dedicate the poem “My Final Gift to Life” by Indo-Guyanese poet, Mahadai Das (1954-2003).
Like the other poems in her poetry collection My Finer Steel Will Grow, published in 1982, “My Final Gift to Life” was written at a time of civil rebellion in Guyana, culminating in the assassination of Dr. Walter Rodney, co-founder of the Working People’s Alliance of which Mahadai Das was a staunch supporter. Her awareness of the risk of overtly opposing the then autocratic government is evident in the opening lines of the poem.
Death would be my final gift to life.
Then: if I must die, I must.
In interviews and during the campaign the new Brazilian president Bolsonaro (PSL)declared that he will extinguish the Ministry of the Environment and the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio). He also publicly stated that he will grant “no centimeter of land” to natives and quilombolas.
Bolsonaro said today that allowing indigenous people to live in protected reserves is to treat them as animals in zoos, and added new criticisms against the demarcation of their ancestral lands.
Other intentions already expressed by Bolsonaro would be to remove Brazil from the so-called Paris Agreement, which provides for the limitation of global temperature increase below 2 ° or 1.5 ° Celsius. and to let the public freely buy guns.
Bolsonaro (PSL) promised to cancel 129 new demarcations of indigenous land that are currently underway.About 120,000 indigenous people live in…
Haven’t so many, particularly among the working classes, looked around and felt as Isabella Persaud, one of the appellants, said? “We are always treated like trash.” Their cause shares ground with Hindus, Muslims, Spiritual Baptists, Rastafarians, and poor Indians and Africans around the region who have turned to the courts for protection against being unfairly targeted or denied equality, respect and inclusion.
To quote the Hon. Mr. Justice Saunders, newly appointed President, “No one should have his or her dignity trampled on, or human rights denied, merely on account of a difference, especially one that poses no threat to public safety or public order.”
This line, and its logic, is one with which we all can agree, for it speaks not just to these four Caribbean citizens, but to each of us, and an ideal we surely must enshrine as necessary. Justice, however, isn’t only won in the courts. It’s also won in our nod to each other’s humanity in the streets. AS IGDS’ Angelique Nixon, acknowledged, “as important as laws are, we also have to do work to transform the culture to create more acceptance and tolerance” locally and regionally.
In the Caribbean, we have a way of dividing ourselves from each other, and from each other’s struggles. What if, instead, we thought that each of these struggles nurtured better chances for fair treatment for others. How might that make us invest in each other’s pursuit of rights, even when they seem at odds with our biases, fears or differences?
It’s a good question to ask in response to last week’s historic ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice. Four Guyanese transwomen, Gulliver (Quincy) McEwan, Angel (Seon) Clarke, Peaches (Joseph) Fraser and Isabella (Seyon) Persaud, spent almost ten years challenging a charge and fine for “wearing women’s clothing for an improper purpose” in a public place. They spent four nights locked up for this minor crime. They pressed on despite the prejudice of the trial magistrate who lectured them about being confused about…
In Guyana, Madam Justice Roxane George has interpreted its Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1995 to permit midlevel providers to deliver nonsurgical/medication abortion of not more than eight weeks. This now means that medexes (persons trained above midwives, but below doctors, who serve in remote areas), midwives, nurses and pharmacists can provide the abortion pill, provided they notify a medical practitioner. The Court Order of 15 January 2016 states:
“It is hereby ordered that the Family Planning Association of Guyana Ltd be and is hereby granted a declaration of its right on the true construction of section 5(1) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1995, Act No 7 of 1995 to enable the administration of treatment for the termination of pregnancy of not more than eight weeks duration by any lawful and appropriate method other than a surgical procedure on its behalf of medexes, midwives, nurses, pharmacists…
i woke up yesterday with a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach which may or may not have had something to do with the parakari i consumed the night before. it was world suicide prevention day- although when you’re a queer, mouthy womanist of Indian and Muslim heritage living in patriarchal Guyana- former suicide capital of the world (we remain in the top 3 still)- that’s pretty much every day ha. i didn’t feel like doing my morning yoga, but.. then i remembered the 5 minute perseverance trick which psychologists recommend to overcome depression, build your mental strength etc and pushed myself into downward dog. reading the news and social media bs afterwards threatened my fragile peace of mind though and i shut down the computer to go outside and romp with the puppy and cats, hoping that would help restore my tranquility. it did, but then the ground started shaking. it wasn’t another earthquake tho- just the roadbuilders arriving. i tried to ignore as best i could, but it’s not easy when chaos is directly infront of your eyes. almost 10 years of living in Guyana and i’m still struggling. i see them start digging and my heart skips a beat. there is a flambouyant tree nearby which has been there for several decades. at sunset, a roadside bar opens up beside it. sometimes the patrons play music too loud and bother me, but that’s not the tree’s fault. at dawn, before the roadbuilding project started, i used to see horses grazing under its shade. i haven’t seen them since the roadwork started though, not sure where they went.. i miss them. i peered from across the street, trying to see how close the workers and equipment are to the tree. the day goes on. i tried to concentrate on my tasks. but every half hour or so, to the window i went peeping, heart in my mouth. lunchtime came and i see the workmen taking a break, sitting on the benches under the tree to cool out. that’s a good sign, i think. but then they get up and start digging again. after all, you can’t get progress and development by remaining in corpse pose whole day, right. uh huh. progress and development. they’d already destroyed the sapling i’d planted by the roadside in front of my house in a spot where my neighbour had initially dumped a pile of sand. passersby had thought that the depression left there afterwards was someplace to dump their garbage; i got sick and tired of cleaning up after them and decided to plant a tree there instead, hoping that would stop the dumping. it did, to an extent, and i was happily watching it get taller and stronger each day. but then progress and development struck and before i could run out the gate with my shovel to rescue it, mr chinee man and his bulldozer had run it over and all i could do was shake my fist at them in impotent rage. the funny feeling in my stomach persisted. i started making plans. i would chain myself to the tree like the Chipko women! https://www.ecologise.in/2017/05/28/the-bishnois-indias-original-environmentalists-who-inspired-the-chipko-movement/i started writing a letter to the president rowing about the hypocrisy of “green” states that destroyed trees. a friend reminded me about the silk cotton tree in Mahaicony that they had to build the road around and advised me to tie some bottles and things on this one to try to convince people of its magical powers. (as if trees generating the oxygen which humans and other living creatures cannot exist without isn’t magical enuf..)https://www.architecturendesign.net/clever-buildings-whose-architects-refused-to-cut-down-local-trees/the more i thought, the more heated i got. it’s maddening indeed living in a country where people think picking up trash is being an environmentalist. where people think nothing of throwing their garbage into the rivers and waterways in the first place. where organizations allegedly dedicated to conservation and sustainability collect funding from oil companies that deliberately lied about climate change for decades. where folks talk about going green while sipping on plastic bottles of water. when more and bigger roads and vehicles on them are cheered as progress and development. when all the scientific data points to a sooner-rather-than-later environmental tipping point of no return but we still welcoming exxon with open arms and high hopes- best thing since colonialism! cha ching- bring we money! corpse pose here i come. before i collapsed on the ground however, i put on a bra and some non-holey pants and went outside. chinee man and i met halfway. uh, this tree- i said, pointing to it, not sure if or how much english he understood.. yes, yes? he looked at me inquiringly. “are you guys going to cut it down?” i blurted out. no no, he said, we stop before. work behind. is just one tree, a small thing in the grand scheme, but.. for me, twas the best part of my day.
can you make oxygen?
can you live without oxygen?
is it progress when it destroys the things necessary to maintain life? or suicide?
The letter was written before she committed suicide. In it she was resigned, angry, tired. Tired of fighting, tired of looking for help, tired of finding help only to see her trust betrayed. “Confidentiality” was a word that came up repeatedly. It seemed she couldn’t find much of it in “dog-eat-dog” Guyana.
Yet there was a chink of hope in there, that things might change after she was no longer here. Use my death as an impetus for change, she pleaded.
Extracts from the letter were read at the Guyana Equality Forum‘s observation of World Suicide Prevention Day. Arriving at Herdmanston Lodge I wondered why I was there. Was this going to be another talk shop? A photo op – with brunch? I chose not to take any food and see if something else would nourish me. I didn’t have much hope.