Monday, October 6, 2008

The Bruising of Our Hearts

So much happens that pushes at me--public things I am speaking of. In the "old days", I spoke of the push of my lover's hands; now I live in the storm of my times--Lepa's words from Belgrade and Sarajevo, Hannah and Dalia's imagined words from Haifa, the American politicians' words of dead hearted patriotisms, words carrying the bruised lesbian-queer body, the bruised generous Jewish self that sickens at the sight of Palestinians living behind caged balconies and cemented closed doors so that a few hundred settlers can have comfort while thousands of others are trapped in their homes, the bruising of the hopes of women in places where a bullet waits for a woman who has stepped out of line by serving her country--lighten up a friend says and I wonder if my living of these moments is self centered--but I must hear these words, and I must tell them--the stories of threats and resistances, the bruising of the human heart in my time. I though I would write every day--but sometimes the weight pushes me away from the little screen that opens to such a hugeness of human space--and so many of you are writing so smart, the keys flying under your fingers as you parse the imbecilities of power.

On Sunday, October 21, Lepa writes (after the beatings of gay people in Belgrade):

I was thinking non stop about the phase we are in, at least in this region in relation to our lesbian and gay bodies, about our queer politics and non-hetero decisions and lives.

Last night the party was well organized because
1: there was more police then before
2. everyone left in groups in taxis, because we don't have cars among us here, a mostly young population so safe organizing meant
--police protection
--organized returning (because they wait until we are finished to beat us up--this was the case in many towns in the last few years, after the parades, the events

So this morning woke up thinking, ok,that's what we need to do. Politicians when they go to their conferences also have police around them and enter their cars after their conferences, that's livable. It is not what we want, but that's better then broken bodies!
And I got a two pages of instructions for safety during the First Queer Festival in Sarajevo next week! They are so scared there, bomb threats have been announced, etc, etc, so we practically are not allowed to walk in Sarajevo during the festival.

You know, the first reading of any danger to lesbians I read in your butch-femme essay, I was so young then and did not imagine why it would be a danger at all--so reading those images how butches and femmes took the back streets to lesbian bars...was impressive, ah!
For my buba mara Bronx para siempre, Lepa

Sunday, October 5, 2008, 6:31 pm

Ah dear friend,
It was like this: before the Sarajevo conference, different journalists who wrote positively about the queer festival got threatening letters together with organisers--4 young lesbians who never organized anything similar. The threatening letters said that "they will not be safe in workplace, on the street nor in the family or when they are awake or in sleep" !!!
So of course, some women were too afraid and did not come to Sarajevo, from the lesbian guest list, and of course, the organizers could not sleep afterwards, but felt that maybe the "enemies" would appear through the door, the window, the help! then, they sent us the letter to inform us about his--and I read it before going to Sarajevo, and entered myself into fear for one entire day. I knew as a counselor that his is my old fear, and that this is a passing emotion, but nevertheless it took me some time to soothe it!

Then we travelled to Sarajevo, five of us, and talked in the bus in a good mood---there was an accident on the road in the beautiful rainy

1 comment:

Sublimefemme said...

Dear Joan, I have no idea why it has taken me so long to find your blog, but now that I have, I'm thrilled! I wanted to share a post from my own blog with you, "What Makes (Me) a Femme," which discusses the enormous impact you and other femme icons--I hope you don't mind the term--have had on my life and work.

I teach several of your essays in my women's and gender studies and queer studies classes. Keep up the wonderful work and writing!

L'Shana Tovah.