Sunday, September 14, 2008

mina muses innocence, and the loss of it

yesterday i was talking to Clever A who is going off to college in england and we got to talking about childhood toys and things (i think it led off from the fact that we were all watching spongebob with the twins), and the Evolution of Barbie- from only homemaker or teacher barbie, she now does everything. barbie is emancipated so that little girls don't get the wrong idea about what women can or cannot do. which makes sense- but from a grown-up perspective, no? this is what i began thinking: we grew up blissfully unaware of any subtext running through any of the toys we played with or the books we read, only to grow up and discover/be informed (because there is a difference) that enid blyton was a colonialist, racist writer and that barbie is the anti-christ of feminism for being an insipid, disproportionate representation of womanhood. does the average six year old know about that, or care if one explained?
"baby, barbies are bad because nobody's hips are that slender and nobody has that many clothes. and you can do ANYTHING you want in your life- that kitchen set is just a toy, although if you want to be a chef that's totally fine too"
of course, there is a lot to be said for the environment in which you bring up a child, and their perceptions of men and women and social roles have a lot to do with what they see their caregivers doing and behaving like. but at the same time, they're probably going to squirm and want to run off and resume dressing barbie for the oscars and brushing her hair into a big foofy mass with the annoying little plastic brush that never brushed their hair smoothly.

take golliwog in the amelia jane stories. i never, ever thought golliwog was anything but a very intelligent little black dolly with curly hair. of course, in retrospect i am faintly horrified that there were little black sambo dollies like that, but golliwog wasn't nasty (except for i think once, when another golliwog comes to the nursery and he was quite a mean thing) and he was always the one who came up with the intelligent and reasonable ideas to Save the Day. he was the Boss of the Nursery usually. what a bad name though- golliwog. wog. haw hai.

but again the point is: at age seven, i didn't know about any of that, and i don't know if it made a difference to my sensibilities as an adult. if anything, i'm a little put out that a cherished childhood story will never be the same any more because of some grown-up theory slapped onto it. i think kids should just be left alone to play and not fuss about whether little red riding hood is actually a story to discourage young women from leaving the house unsupervised lest some predatory man 'attack' them and just let the story BE. there's plenty of time when the grow up to be disabused of all notions of fantasy and make-believe. i know that one cannot, after a certain point, ignore subtexts and the connection of any story to a point in social history but i also know that one can sometimes just have a story or a toy for the pleasure of what one can make of it, and not have to tie it down to one thing or the other.

Mina at 2:29 PM


Saturday, September 13, 2008

this is for the best kids i know.
you have sat the most difficult test He could ever have set you- one that consumed your time, careers, emotional and physical health- and come through with colours that surpass 'flying'. you both are an example to us all of how selfless, devoted and loving two children can be. i didn't know your father, but you two are vivid evidence of what a wonderful man he must have been to produce such creative, compassionate and truly remarkably fabulous children. i am truly awed and humbled by how much you loved him, and how much he must have loved you to deserve that. we can't ever repay our parents for what they've given us in their lives, but i think you have, and for that i salute you. i'm so proud to be part of your lives.

Mina at 5:44 PM


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today Mina reads the News Online because S has put it on auto-load, so she reads it 'cause it's there, but what does it say jee? Read it and get really, really pissed off.

" Bush allows raids into Pakistan: US official

Updated at: 1105 PST, Thursday, September 11, 2008

WASHINGTON: US President George W. Bush has secretly approved orders allowing US forces to conduct ground operations in Pakistan without that government's prior approval, a report said Wednesday citing senior US officials.

A US daily reported that the July move allowing Special Operations forces to carry out assaults within the borders of a key "war on terror" ally marked a turn for the Bush administration, which has struggled with Islamabad over how to combat Al-Qaeda and a resurgent Taliban.

"The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable," a senior American official told the paper on condition of anonymity. "We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued."

According to the newspaper, US officials say they will notify Pakistan when the United States conducts operations on the country's territory, but that they will not ask for permission.

The newspaper reported that US officials have been debating for months whether to authorize such forays against Islamic militants in Pakistan, following US intelligence warnings that Al-Qaeda and other militant groups were consolidating their hold on northwestern Pakistan."

"Orders have been issued"?! Where exactly do you get off being 'more assertive' on the sovereign territory of someone else's country? Granted it's a particularly pernicious habit of US foreign policy, but let me say it quite slowly so you understand:

Got it? Not rocket science, is it? When O When are we going to tell these bastards to get the hell out of our butts and go hunt the Yeti/Bigfoot/Loch Ness legend that Osama's become somewhere else? How LONG will we have to put up with such indignities and colossal tragedy of innocent Pakistanis being killed for someone else's obsession with revenge?

Did a generation of people give up so much for Pakistan, only to have us move from under the British thumb to the American one? First we were a British protectorate and now we're an American one. What a miserable excuse of an Independent Republic of The People. I'm so angry.
I'm sick of being pushed around like this. I'm going to go march around with a big placard saying "Hands Off My Country!" or "Piss Off America". Depends on size of placard. Buss. Sub aajaein.

Mina at 11:56 AM


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

i'm thinking about zardari. i know he's corrupt and a daghabaaz and excessively chikna-gharra clever-pants. but maybe it'd be good for a change to have a chalaak person at our helm who, if used properly, could use that machiavellanness to get something good for pakistan? of course, the premise is precisely that the chalaak man wants something good for the country. i think i'm willing to give mister ten percent a chance to see what he can do. okay, you want your ten percent, but if you leave behind something solid and long-lasting and genuinely provide help and support where it is desperately needed, i might not even mind the ten percent too much. as long as people can have access to hospitals, clean drinking water, garbage-free roads, schools. maybe a smooth-talking, well spoken, unflappably clever person can do a better job than a bumbling blustering idiot. i'm going to wait this one out.

Mina at 2:35 PM