Tag Archives: Pakistan

The Importance of Ms. Marvel as Immigrant Literature

I can think of no better way to introduce this subject than with Stephen Colbert’s reaction to the news:

<this is where I would embed the video, if Comedy Central, Yahoo Video, and WordPress would just get along already>

Before I continue I want to point out that the original Captain Marvel was a Kree alien who actually went by the name “Mar-Vell”, and when taking that into account Darlene Rodriguez’s pronunciation actually has a fair amount of validity.

With that out of the way, let’s take a more in-depth look at the young Kamala Khan.

Easily one of the most fascinating aspects about this new character, at least from a writer’s perspective, is how she came into existence. It all began when Marvel editor Sana Amanat, who grew up as a Muslim, began recounting stories of her childhood with fellow editor Steve Wacker. The two moved forward from there, “[noting] the dearth of female superhero series and, even more so, of comics with cultural specificity.” Continue reading

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Will The Real Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Please Stand Up?

If you’ve read even a couple of my posts, you’ll probably be able to guess that yours truly is more than a little bit political.

The problem with having political views pretty divergent from the rest of the country is that I often get stuck between two (supposedly) diametrically opposed worldviews who flood my inbox with conflicting petitions. The group whose legalize gay marriage petition I signed fully expects that I’ll jump at a chance to demand a ban on assault rifles, and vice versa.

Today being both inauguration day and Martin Luther King day, the liberal and progressive groups I’ve signed with have naturally been rejoicing like kids on Christmas morning.

Me?

Not so much.

What ticks me off isn’t that Obama is going to be president for another four years (okay, that does tick me off, but no more than any other proposed candidate), it’s all these people attempting to draw lines between what happened earlier today on the steps of the capitol and what happened half a century ago only a short distance away.

Now this certainly isn’t the first time Obama and MLK have been thrown together, and as simple examples of key figures in African American history, there’s really nothing wrong with that. What gets me- what really gets me- is how the two men are imagined as being part of the same great lineage, and nothing could be further from the truth.

What is so often forgotten is that MLK wasn’t simply an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of advancing the cause of civil rights- he was an advocate of non-violence for the purpose of stopping violence. MLK despised conflict, and was one of the staunchest voices of opposition to the Vietnam war. But hey, don’t take my word for it, hear it from the man himself:

Strong words, eh?

Those sentiments of King don’t exactly overlap with those of Obama on the subject of drone strikes and decade-long military occupations. Heck, at 3:40, King straight up declares his views to be biblical- something that the neo-cons and religious right in this country would definitely take issue with. Can you imagine MLK living today?

Well you don’t have to- Aaron McGruder, creator of The Boondocks, already has.

Again- regardless of feelings about either MLK or Obama, you can’t deny that the two of them were/are integral figures in American history, but it’s there that the similarities need to stop. Guantanamo Bay was not King’s dream for the country. Same goes for drone strikes, indefinite detention, record deportation rates, and the White House’s inaction on the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.

I’m just speculating, but I imagine King’s reaction would look a bit more like this.

And not so much like this:

It’s just something to think about…

October 15: What’s Not Being Talked About In The News

For the most part, I try to keep my politics toned down here at CWR, but every once in a while, something comes along that straddles the line between ideology and culture that’d be wrong not to talk about.

I’m guessing you may have heard of Malala Yousafazi.

Young Pakastani girl known for being a women’s education and peace activist, shot by a reported Taliban assassin just short of a week ago and just today being flown to England to continue her recovery.

You may have seen this picture of her:

But the picture you may not have seen is this one here:

That’s young Malala wearing a hijab, a head-covering worn by many Muslim women as part of their understanding of modesty. Yep, Malala’s a Muslim– but that’s something you’re not gonna hear on the news or read in your paper.If Islam is mentioned at all, chances are, it’s in reference to Malala’s would be assassin- not her (or her friends who were with her). Why is that? How come the same frenzied media attention that is devoted to listing off every attack or offense on the part of “Radical Islam” utterly fails to note the Islamic element when it’s related to something positive. I can understand- maybe even overlook- the fact that the news doesn’t offer any attention to the millions of Muslims (the ones I grew up with) who just go about their day without doing anything to anyone. But the moment  a Muslim man or woman stands up for what he or she believes, even going so far as be nearly murdered for those beliefs and actions, religion disappears from the picture.

And while we’re at it, there’s another thing that’s been bothering me.

You remember Pussy Riot? Feminist Punk Band who got into trouble for playing anti-Putin songs in a historic Russian cathedral?

Why is it that when they got convicted of “hooliganism” and were sentenced to two years in prison (a term waaay disproportionate to the crime) the world united in outrage, and when Leah-Lynne Plante was arrested-

Oh.

Who’s “Leah-Lynne Plante”?

She’s an activist up in Washington State whose apartment was raided by FBI and SWAT Teams. See, back on May 1st, there was some vandalism that occurred in Seattle and Leah-Lynne was a suspect.

How many people who have vandalized walls or billboards actually have the police investigate them, let alone the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force? Of those people, how many have black clothes and books confiscated as “evidence”?

Obviously this has about as much to do with vandalism as Pussy Riot’s sentencing had to do with disturbing the peace. See, Leah-Lynne Plante is a self-proclaimed anarchist, and after refusing for a third time to answer questions before a grand jury. Considering the Grand Jury that’s investigating these and other alleged anarchist criminals was first created in March (two months prior to when she allegedly committed these crimes) doesn’t exactly reflect well on the whole “liberty and justice for all” element of the legal system.

But that’s all beside the point.

The point is, you probably don’t know about it. Your news has almost certainly never reported it, and considering the similarities between the two cases, doesn’t Leah-Lynne Plante’s case deserve your attention just as much as anti-government rockers off in Moscow?

Your media doesn’t think so.

And I think we’re being asked too much. I think we’ve had enough.

See, you can’t pick and choose- if the media want to take the violent or oppressive actions of Muslims as being representative of their faith, they have to apply the same logic to Muslim heroism as well. The same goes for equal air-time. The news can’t report on a bunch of women in brightly colored balaclavas for being broadsided by the state and then whistle Dixie while one in a black shirt has her home raided by men in kevlar.

Consistency- I’m not expecting that the news be factual (and considering it’s the news, that’s a pretty big thing to let slide) but they have got to be fair
or stop calling themselves reporters. If they wanted to pick and choose their battles, they should’ve become bloggers instead.