Tuesday, March 30, 2010

gypsies in Ontario

I found this photo in the online Archives of Ontario. The photo is dated 1926. The women and girls are carrying water on Humber Drive, in southern Ontario. I don't think Humber Drive looks anything as rural as this anymore as its been swallowed up by Toronto, I believe. The title of the photo is: "Gypsies carrying water on Humber Drive." I think these women are Syrian or Lebanese immigrants to Canada. At the turn of the century, Syrians and Lebanese (as well as Armenians, Kurds, and others) were considered Turks by the Canadian government. This polyglot of Arab peoples or other peoples from the Arab region were known as gypsies, I guess, to the anglo settlers to Canada. The archives have other racialized images. I wonder who put the captions on the photos?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Christian truth against occupation

The Western media never fails to focus on "clashes" and "conflict" in the Holy Land, making sure to frame their news in a suppposedly balanced way, but which is anything but. Western media routinely fails to place into the public mind Palestinian non-violent resistance to occupation. In this video, you can see Christian Palestinians' non-violent protest including prayer against the illegal building of Israeli settlements in the West Bank area of Beit Sahour, their home. What is the reaction to their legitimate and peaceful opposition? You can clearly witness the Israeli forces use of tear gas and concussion grenades against these unarmed people standing up for their legal human rights.

Christians of Palestine, KAIROS PALESTINE, have issued a statement, The Moment of Truth, in many languages, asking support from Christians around the world. "In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity". Here is part of their statement in its English language version. I will print it up for my mother, who is a devout Christian, to read:

"This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land."

please read the entire text in English here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

branding Guinness

Today, I invite you to visit the blog of my sister Katja, to enjoy the pictures she took while in Ireland last year. Her short photo essay captures a sense of place beyond typical tourist shots that strip context. We all know those photos; we've probably taken some ourselves. We go somewhere and try to capture the amazing breadth of spirit and place in which we are enveloped, but later when we share our photo with others, very little of the spirit of place transfers. Sometimes, however, magic happens. This magic is in my sister's photos of Ireland, and I think you will agree.

I thought that her starting her post with the runaway Guinness truck sets a humorous introduction! Of course, we're in the rain that makes Ireland so emerald. Of course, we are traveling in a vehicle, looking out of glass (3x--once through the windshield, second through the camera lens, third through our computer screens--and maybe even fourth if you are wearing glasses or other lenses). Since the invention of trains, the way we see as we journey across a landscape changed, as fast moving vehicles allow scanning of the environment in a way that was not previously part of how we see. It allows consuming the landscape as if outside of it.

The photo of the Guinness truck disappearing into the tunnel of trees that arch over some of the roads of rural Ireland really gave me a chuckle. First, it captures some of the quirky humour that the Irish are so famous for, and second, it calls up the idea of chasing the dream at the bottom of that tall glass of Guinness. For sure, what it promises is always illusive. When I was in Belfast a few years back, when I went out early Saturday morning to walk, I could not believe the number of empty alcohol bottles littered all over the sidewalks. It was like something quite wild had happened at night that I had no inkling of. I only saw the leftovers.

And, of course, my sister's photo captures the embeddedness of capitalism in landscape. There is no escape from it, even while in our tourist jaunts we seek some 'natural' place somehow untouched by the consumer culture we leave behind. The success of branding. The Guinness brand name has been imprinted in our minds as Ireland. Who has not visited Ireland, gone to a pub, and ordered a Guinness for an "authentic experience"? Seriously. If there is someone who has visited Ireland and not gone to a pub, I think that would be rare. Why do we equate jovial drinking in cosy places with Ireland? The Guinness corporation has definitely been incredibly successful at branding an experience, not just a beer; of making us believe in the promise of the swirling power and living magic of entering Ireland through drinking their beer.

Sorry, the link above does not go to the Guinness site because of age restrictions. Please visit http://guinness.com/

Thursday, March 25, 2010

red silk coats

Coats using silk materials from Palestine, late 19th, early 20th c. The first caption states the coat is probably Druze, the second caption states the coat is from Galilee.

The red brightness of the coats really contrasts with the black that today blankets the minds of many who imagine the women of Palestine. The image on the cover of Ilan Pappe's book, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, which I have a link to in the right margin of my blog, also shows the lightness of colour that was Palestinian women's dress before the traumatic changes brought in by the Balfour Declaration, the Nakba, the creation of the state of Israel, 1967, Black September, multiple sieges, the Apartheid Wall, dispossession, and other ongoing traumas, difficult to keep up with.

As I have been thinking about silk, the Silk Road, women, and the Levant, especially Palestinian and Lebanese women, while I was searching for books on a totally unrelated area, I stumbled upon the page above, from a book depicting silk clothing from Palestine. It's a page from the book Palestinian Costume by Shelagh Weir published by Interlink Books. A short overview of the book below:

"The product of over 20 years of serious research, this lavishly illustrated work discusses Palestinian textiles and men's and women's dress during the 30-year period of British rule prior to 1948. Weir also touches upon 19th-century and modern Palestinian costume while discussing pertinent cultural background and meaning behind changing design and styles. Particular emphasis is given to the wedding ritual and garments of Beit Dajan, a village located about 12 kilometers southeast of Jaffa. The great variety of costumes, illustrated in 200 color and 100 black-and-white photographs, and the excellent interpretive text contribute to a unique and valuable work that should be a part of most research, art, textiles, or Middle East collections."
-- Library Journal (reviewer Paula I. Nielson, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut)

my note: the 8 point rosette, which follows a red thread through Astarte and Ishtar to Inanna.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

the black silk of dreams

Homes for the Disembodied, 50 continuous yards of silk, 2000 by Mary Tuma

I was searching for the text of a spoken word poem by Nathalie Handal that she read at her performance at Arabesque at the Kennedy Center last year (type her name into Archives to watch it), which led me to an art exhibit that was held in the US in 2003, Made in Palestine.

Looking through the list of contributing artists, I randomly clicked on a female name, Mary Tuma, and found the above image of her installation. I find her visual text interesting to read on so many levels. It could be read as re-signifying the black abaya as seen from behind the Western gaze that homogenizes the diversity and wipes out the agency of women from the Middle East, Arab world, and Muslim world. It could be read as a comment on the silk industry that had been introduced to parts of the Levant, directing us to think about women's work within it, and how the introduction of the mulberry tree led to many new cultural forms (like making toot juice!), but also how the collapse of the silk industry lead to economic difficulties, struggles, migrations, and other social changes. What was women's role in the silk economy? How were their lives affected by the introduction of mulberry trees and silkworms? I do not know about the impact of silk in Palestine, but Tuma's use of silk provokes questions for further thought.

The dresses are tall, suggesting standing tall. The strength of Palestinian women to continue to persist, resist. Adapt to whatever life and occupation throws their way. Long dresses. A long time. 60 plus years of dark dreams.

That all the dresses are made from one continuous piece of silk, joining the forms, speaks of the connections between women; how taken together, these 'bodies' make a meaning beyond their individual forms. The dream of the collective -- yet in black, in mourning. Although the text beneath the image of the installation says that the bolt of silk is 50 yards long, in Tuma's artist's statement she states the dresses are made from one 48 meter long roll. That the black river of cloth streams for 48 meters may refer to 1948, the year of the Nakba, the catastrophe of dispossession and death.

Of course, the dresses have no bodies. They hang in the air like ethereal ghosts, wafting in the air. The installation is of Palestinian women specifically, of that there is no question. So, the forms are a haunting of bodies that no longer exist, of women who have been killed, murdered, dispossessed, expelled from neighbourhoods, exiled and forbidden to return, thrown into solitary confinement for years with no windows, no doors.

Women who we, the people of the Western world and of Israel, continue not to see.

Mary Tuma links her installation with the displaced of Jerusalem specifically as noted below in her artist's statement. Her work is prescient; what have 7 years brought the people of Palestine? The situation in Jerusalem is getting worse, Israeli encroachment into East Jerusalm through more illegal settlements displacing more Palestinians, sending the youth out into the streets with stones in resistance to their disappearance.

Homes for the Disembodied
This is a tribute to Palestinian women who provide strength in terrible circumstances, but who receive little recognition. A place for the spirits of those forced out of Jerusalem to dwell. The dresses are sewn from one continuous 48 meter length of fabric. Mary Tuma

The description of her installation states:

Mary Tuma’s dresses make notice of the absence of the human form, and by so doing, provide a metaphor for the status of a people who are known more for the shadow they cast on current events than for their own personalities and culture. Tuma teaches art at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

one of the images from the series Negative Incursion (2002) by Rula Halawani

One of the other names I clicked on was Rula Halawani. I was stunned to see how her words echoed the text of the poem by Handal that I had been looking for. In Handal's poem the line between dream and reality is ambiguous -- is her poem a reflection on a dream she once had? -- yet the nightmare of reality for the Palestinian people is unmistakably clear: it is negative.

Negative Incursion

"Ten years ago when the peace process first started, I like many other Palestinians was ready to give peace a chance. As the peace process developed, the events that followed filled me with worry: the worry of losing my city, Jerusalem, and the right of exiled Palestinians to return to their home land. The days went by and in my eyes things only got worse: more of the land was taken; more Israeli settlements appeared on Palestinian land, more killings.

On the 28th of March 2002 I was in Ramallah when the major Israeli Incursion happened, I was shocked; everything around me looked so different. Every street and square I visited was dark and empty; no one was in the streets that day except the Israeli army and its tanks. I felt depressed and cold. The only Palestinian I met on the road that day was an old man. He was shot dead. I never knew his name, but I had seen him walking around those same streets before. That night I could not take away his face from my memory, and many questions without answers rushed inside my head. It was that night that my hopes for peace died."
Rula Halawani

Here is the text of the poem by Nathalie Handal that I was searching for:


Secrets live in the space between our footsteps.
The words of my grandfather echoed in my dreams,
as the years kept his beads and town.
I saw Bethlehem, all in dust, an empty town
with a torn piece of newspaper lost in its narrow streets.
Where could everyone be? Graffiti and stones answered.
And where was the real Bethlehem--the one my grandfather came from?
Handkerchiefs dried the pain from my hands. Olive trees and tears continued to remember.
I walked the town until I reached an old Arab man dressed in a white robe.
I stopped him and asked, "Aren't you the man I saw in my grandfather's stories?"
He looked at me and left. I followed him--asked him why he left? He continued walking.
I stopped, turned around and realized he had left me the secrets
in the space between his footsteps.

About dreams and reality, for more about the exhibit, here are some excerpts from Santiago Nasar's
The Stuff of Dreams…The Stuff of Nightmares

It is said that dreams represent the mythology of the individual and that the mythology of a people in its different cultural forms, i.e., art, literature, and music represents the dream of the collective. This cannot be truer than in the case of Made in Palestine, a group show at the Station in Houston, Texas, comprised of Palestinian artists from across the world, currently the homeland of their Diaspora. True, but for an exception, and not a minor one at that. The exception being that the art presented in the show does by no means reflect the dream of the Palestinian collective. To the contrary, it reflects the nightmares of a people that have been disinherited and subjected to occupation and humiliation since 1948. 1948 is when the Palestinian people were uprooted from their land to make room for the European Jews to have a country of their own in the land and in the very homes of the Palestinians who had lived there from time immemorial.

The Palestinians call the events of 1948 Al-Nakba, the catastrophe. And can there be anything more catastrophic than waking up to find that you have no home, no country and no means for subsistence? .....

This dream is entwined with the nightmare of an occupation. An occupation that wants to make sure that, now that the land has been taken, the people and all that belongs to them, including their very way of life, cease to exist. ....

The world is divided into three camps: the active participants in the Palestinian tragedy, the zealous supporters and the silent majority. The show at the Station is meant for all three groups. Look into any of the works and you will see yourself somewhere. Whether you look away or you look down or you just stand there and stare through the work and into the vast space above or into a mental image of your grocery list, you are there. .....

We are there. We are here, on the web, looking at the dream/nightmare dresses hanging behind Emily Jacir's tent.

Monday, March 15, 2010

my friends, my name

The caption for this photo reads: my friends were killed while playing. I found this image on the Independent Jewish Voices of Canada website.

I was heartened to read that Jewish Canadians have spoken out in favour of the quashing of the federal motion that, like the provincial motion that did pass, was seeking to stop the use of the term apartheid in connection to Israel. From the Independent Jewish Voices of Canada website:

Progressive Jews Welcome Defeat of Motion Condemning Israeli Apartheid Week

OTTAWA, March 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), a national network of Jewish human-rights activists, welcomes yesterday's defeat of MP Tim Uppal's House of Commons motion condemning Israeli Apartheid Week.

"This shows courage to stand up to the Orwellian attempts by Israel's supporters to bully Israel's critics into silence," said IJV spokesperson Sid Shniad. "Apartheid", the term Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and former prime minister Olmert used to describe the occupation's effects, shouldn't be controversial.

"Whether or not you agree with the term 'apartheid', all Canadians should defend free speech and oppose limiting debate, especially considering these terms are part of the Israel mainstream debate," said Shniad.

IJV also commends Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath for her statement calling a similar provincial motion by MPP Peter Shurman "divisive by nature" and calls for the Ontario legislature to reject such motions in the future."

Founded in 2008, IJV-Canada is a large national organization of Jewish activists committed to social justice and universal human rights.

the caption of this photo reads: my name is Rachel Corrie. It's a theatrical play based on Rachel Corrie's emails

Tuesday, March 16 marks the 7th anniversary of Rachel Corrie's death. Find trial updates and press clippings with more information here. Her parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, who are currently in Israel for the civil suit they have brought against the state of Israel, are seeking solidarity in their call for conscience; Rachel's parents write:

20:00-22:00 – Memorial; Location TBA
March 16th marks the seven-year anniversary of Rachel’s killing. We hope to mark this day as a “Day of Conscience” with a large gathering that calls for truth, accountability and justice, in Rachel’s case and beyond. There will also be events in Gaza (at the Rachel Corrie Children and Youth Cultural Center in Rafah), possibly in the West Bank (TBA), and around the world.

If you are not with us in Palestine/Israel, please think about how you and your group/community can be visible/audible on March 16.

We expect this to be a challenging time, but we know the friendship we have felt from so many of you over the years will help us navigate the weeks ahead. Though the course and outcome of the trial are unknown, we welcome the opportunity to raise and highlight many of the critical issues to which Rachel’s case is linked. Thank you for your continuing support.

In solidarity and with much appreciation,
Cindy & Craig Corrie

The American peace activist Rachel Corrie, left, stands between an Israeli buldozer and a Palestinian physician’s house moments before she was run over March 16, 2003. International Solidarity Movement / Getty Images
She didn't expect to die that day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

this woman was wearing orange

In Rachel Corrie Family Finally Puts Israel in Dock, Jonathan Cook writes:

"Seven years after Rachel Corrie, a US peace activist, was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza, her family was to put the Israeli government in the dock today.

A judge in the northern Israeli city of Haifa was due to be presented with evidence that 23-year-old Corrie was killed unlawfully as she stood in the path of the bulldozer, trying to prevent it from demolishing Palestinian homes in Rafah.

Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy, who arrived in Israel on Saturday, said they hoped their civil action would shed new light on their daughter’s killing and finally lead to Israel’s being held responsible for her death. They are also seeking damages that could amount to millions of dollars if the court finds in their favour.
An internal army investigation was closed shortly after Corrie’s death, exonerating both the bulldozer driver and the commanders who oversaw the operation.

Before she was murdered, Rachel Corrie wrote a series of emails to her family, and she explained that:

"no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can't imagine it unless you see it - and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I'm done."

Behind the Lines: Poetry, War & Peacemaking writes:

Suheir Hammad's "On the Brink Of (for Rachel Corrie)" is an elegy for an American activist who died when an Israeli bulldozer crushed her to death as she knelt, trying to stop yet another house demolition. The IDF driver of the bulldozer was acquitted of wrongdoing, ostensibly because he said that he did not see her. Never mind that she was wearing an orange vest and held a bullhorn in her hands.

In transit on her fateful journey to Gaza, Rachel wrote about death, death not as a metaphor, but a reality

Thursday, March 11, 2010

notes on diaries of girls who run with wolves

One of the books I bought recently is Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond edited by Tina Chang, Nathalie Handal and Ravi Shankar. The book is captivating, a treasure trove of so many writers. It is divided into 9 sections, representing, as the editors note, "an entire cosmology of planets that, when taken together, offers a glimpse into the complex array of voices that make up these regions' poetry."

Each section has a title from a poem in that section, one star in the constellation of poems that make up a section. The following comes from the section Buffaloes Under Dark Water, the section which, as the editors note, "contains mysterious, shrouded duende-tinged luminescent bursts of lyric that resist the notion of taxonomy, even as they inhere together like shadows."

Bhanu Kapil, from The Wolf Girls of Midnapure:

"A working note: In 1920s colonial India, a jungle missionary, Reverent Joseph Singh, found two girls suckling a mother wolf. He killed the wolf and brought the feral girls, Kamala and Amala, to his Mission orphanage in Midnapure. Here, he kept a diary of their adaptation to human life, which was published in 1942 as Wolf-children and Feral Man, coauthored with the anthropologist Robert Zingg. In the excerpts that follow, I [Bhanu Kapil] have rewritten this colonial account to include the undocumented voices or versions of the wolf girls themselves; the wolf mother; the Reverent Singh's wife; the Mission's Muslim cook, Assi-ma; and the 'sorcerer,' sent by the girls' original, human mother, who tracks the wolf girls to the Mission, then is asked to heal the youngest girl, Amala, who is dying. She dies. Kamala lives, constantly resisting efforts to turn her 'into a human being again.'"

"...I ask the rain the rain to soften the earth so my life may come back to me, upward.

The younger, I fear,

her life turned into a snakebird; flew up into the blacking sky, a migrant. By now to the south and east, grazing in a lush swamp grotted with basic lilies. Perhaps it is for the best.


A girl was a speck on the ground, so the wolf-wife picked her up in her hairy beak and flew off into the trees.

When the girl was found in the milky cave, they shot her mother and tore her out of her hair.

Because she urinated standing up, they wrapped her pelvis in white cottons. Because she keened over her bowl of sugary tea, they spoke English, enunciating."

children's book When I Met the Wolf Girls

"In an excerpt from The Diary of the Wolf Girls of Midnapure, [Banu Kapil] Rider’s ‘Working Note’ provides important context for the arc of her project:

I am interested in those subjects — nomads, immigrants, cyborgs, wolf girls — who are segmented and seeking: a woman, for example, re-attributing herself or unfolding to a set plane upon command. What does the shape of her body and her mind look like as she moves through the world? (A woman who, in the narrative, precedes and follows her own birth. The whole body has the same tone, thus no ellipsis, no separate commentaries or asterisks.) That is my experiment: to make the line travel towards a confused origin — hyper-organic, splitting the skin, still livid. (HOW(ever) v. 1, 5, 2001.)"

Canadian Timber Wolves

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rest! How can I rest...

Sumergete/Submerge Yourself/Handless Maiden by Wild Cherries, inspired by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

"Have you ever seen a woman work like the devil had hold of her big toe, only to suddenly collapse and go no further? Have you ever seen a woman hell's-a-popping about some social issue only to one day turn her back and say "Hell with it." Her animus has worn out...The woman whose idea or energy has waned, withered, or ceased altogether needs to know the way to this old [two-million-year-old] woman curandera, healer, and must carry the tired animus there for renewal...

Whatever their idea is for respite, even though they're speaking from abject tiredness and frustration, I say that is a good idea, it is time to rest. To which they usually screech, "Rest! How can I rest when the whole world is going to hell right before my very eyes?"

But in the end, a woman must rest now, rock now, regain her focus. She must become younger, recover her energy. She thinks she cannot, but she can, for the circle of women, be they mothers, students, artists, or activists, always closes to fill in for those who go on rest leave. A creative woman has to rest now and return to her intense work later. She has to go see the old woman in the forest, the revivifier, the Wild Woman in one of her many leitmotifs. Wild Woman expects that the animus will wear out on a regular basis. She is not shocked that he falls through her door. She is not shocked when we fall through the door. She is ready. She will not rush to us in a panic. She will just pick us up and hold us till we regain our power again.

~ from "Renewing the Creative Fire" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in Women who Run with the Wolves.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Red Shoes dancing on the grave of debt

My sister, Katja, shared with your her crows of debt. This was the prompt for our writing group, RedShoes on Court, which was from Margaret Atwood's book on debt, Payback: The Shadow Side of Wealth:

"Debt can have another kind of entertainment value when it becomes a motif not in a real life plot line but in a fictional one."

So, I asked:

What's so entertaining about debt? Not much so it seems
as our TV screens and movie screens are full of people who have made it,
nice homes, two cars, brand name clothing, dinners in nice restaurants

and no one seems to worry what the bill will come to
or chastise themselves that we shouldn't have eaten out.
We can't really afford it.

Debt is normalized --
join the neighbours!
for the barbeque
celebrating -- not the Olympics --
but the $96,000 / per family that buries Canadians.
The 96,000 dollars in the RED that follows us
as we go about our frantic lives earning less and less
-- but more taxes coming our way this summer.

Why aren't there more poor kids who become Olympic athletes? Oh, the media'll be sure to find the one who did -- this time the darling is Clara Hughes -- and splash her rise from "wild teen" of hardscrabble stairwells to Olympic star glory across our feel-good screens of made-it.

The story of against all odds, when truth be told,
it's about who has the money 96% of the time.

Why aren't there more Aboriginal hockey players, male and female, if sports can provide self-respect, a value system, a moral base that is missing?
Why is this not funded, then?
Why are we not funding this?

Debt. Why is the 'b' silent, anyway?
To what idiosyncracy of the English language
do we attribute the lost 'b' sound?
Deb - t. Sounds more like death that way.

debt, det, n. [O.Fr. debte (now dette), L. debita, things due.
That which is due from one person to another; that which one person is bound to pay to or perform for another; what is incumbent on one to do or suffer; a due; an obligation; the state of owing something to another (to be in debt); a duty neglected or violated; a trespass; a sin.

Today, more and more we think of debt as monetary
as our lives get sucked into smart cards that don't, in fact, encourage smartness and credit cards that are not, despite their self-description, golden.

Yet, debt can have a positive connotation, as in

"I am indebted to my mother for teaching me by example the importance of honesty, speaking one's mind and not backing down."

(My mother is not a liberal, she is not indebted to the school of thought of balance, that namby-pamby hand-holding that nicely explains that each person's point-of-view counts).

No. My mother has learned to read the power relations inherent in the engagements --although she doesn't have the language for that.
How could one who knows her history of poverty, and has witnessed the power hierarchies of small village life in Finland in the 30s, 40s and 50s, ever have come up with the idea that each person's perspective or interpretation counts the same?

She had only her life and that of her sisters
to know that no one cared what they thought.
My mother learned as a young girl that some people in the village had more authority to have their desires and needs known, respected, feared (loss of work/dependence on wages), and dominant, while others,
like my mother and her sisters, what they thought --
who would think to ask?
Why would anyone ask these hardscrabble girls?

Indebted: being under a debt; having incurred a debt; held to payment or requital; obliged by something received, for which restitution or gratitude is due.

So, the concept of indebtedness suggests that to have been reliant on someone,
to have been dependent on someone in such a way that one then learns a moral lesson or principle, actually strengthens one's sense of human decency and integrity, and thus is a good thing.

Gratitute is an acknowledgement of thanks, of having been taught something important to the development of one's character ('maine' in Finnish).

Gratitude is from GRATEFUL, having a due sense of benefits; having kind feelings and thankfulness toward one from whom a favor has been received.

So, the very thing that drives me nuts about my mother --
her adamant defense of her beliefs --
of holding her ground with strong conviction and
shrill powerful voice that can
stab one in the heart,
bowl one over as if hit by a boulder,
set one's ears ringing and clanging,
set one's heart and stomach into spasms and clenches
shock one into hearing her side
-- the way she sees it --
through sheer force of words,
that has been a favor to me
a favor wrapped in a fury
to which I give thanks as I
stab others with my words
knock them down with the convictions
of my words
set their ears
and faces
with the scorching
heat of my words

as I crush their hearts
with my words
kick their guts
with my words
shock them into
with what? why,
just the weapons of
my words.

A woman's mouth.
Fury unleashed.
The dread of
big daddies everywhere --
sitting at the top of the institutions
they themselves have created to grant themselves

Those victims of my wrath might be excused
for not knowing that my tirade
is a benediction
to my mother's lesson
to me.

Why shouldn't women's voices be loud
and biting
and shrill?

There is lots to be angry about.