Human Rights Badasses

So I completely abandoned the blog during the semester, as anyone who happens by can see. I think there was like one non-spam comment in that time that I didn’t approve for a while, sorry about that.

The obvious badasses that I would’ve mentioned had I been here were Aung San Suu Kyi, who was democratically elected Prime Minister of Burma but was put under house arrest by the military, which is now beating and killing the peaceful pro-democracy protesters; and Benazir Bhutto, who, well, if you’re not living under a rock, you know who she is and why she came to mind. Bhutto may have been corrupt. Not perfect. And not quite as cool as Suu Kyi, who, no joke, won a Nobel Prize while under house arrest. But you have to be a badass to go back into a country where people have already tried to kill you. And it’s pretty cool that she was the first female prime minister of an Islamic country. Hear that, islamophobes? Pakistan beat the US to a female head of state. Somebody wrote into my local paper in response to the assassination and ensuing chaos saying, I kid you not, “What do you expect? It’s Pakistan.” I just bet you that person turned around and said that Hillary Clinton isn’t fit to lead this country because she has cankles or something. I mean, yeah, Islamic fundamentalists and terrorists suck, like all fundamentalists and terrorists – in fact, like Christian fundamentalists and anti-abortion terrorists. But it’s funny how people can ignore their own problems AND ignore Pakistan’s strong points so easily. Anyway. So far all this information is from Wikipedia and my memory of Guardian articles on Bhutto, but I’d like to read up more on Suu Kyi, so maybe I’ll give some real information. It’s definitely time to start focusing on badasses again; I’ve started getting depressed with US politics and I need to force myself to think about some good news.


Eric Stoller just wrote a post about Raed Jarrar, who was given a lot of crap and humiliation at an airport because he committed two very serious crimes:

1) Being Arab-looking while in an airport.

2) Wearing a shirt with Arabic script while in an airport.

The thing is, I’m not even kidding. They even said that was the reason, comparing this to telling a bank you’re a robber. Because Arab=terrorist, so letting people know you’re Arab is like telling them you’re a terrorist. I mean, I guess you can be Arab, but don’t go around making it known at an airport. Especially not one in the United States, where we have both terrorist attacks and an amendment to the constitution protecting freedom of speech. And I know people make a lot of noise about freedom of speech when it doesn’t even apply, like “oh my gosh you deleted my comments don’t I have freedom of speech!!1!” but this is actually a freedom of speech case. What your T-shirt says can be considered speech under the law, and the airport is a public place (unlike a private blog, etc, and no that hasn’t happened to me but it does happen). Edit: JetBlue is a private company and they actually only bothered him when he tried to get on the plane, so that’s arguable, but racial profiling is still against the law.  And you also hear a lot of argument about what constitutes racial profiling and what’s fair and what’s not, but this is about as clear-cut as it gets. There is no reason to think this guy’s a terrorist unless you think Arabs must be terrorists. (Michael Savage thinks all South Asians are terrorists, isn’t that lovely?)

Since I’m totally stealing this from Eric Stoller’s blog, take a moment to follow the link at the beginning and read about it there, and then come back and I’ll tell you what to do.

Welcome back.

So, Jarrar and the ACLU are fighting this, and you can do something pretty badass too. You can get your very own Arabic and English “We will not be silent” t-shirt from this website that looks pretty cool (I got a warning about its certificate but it seemed fine to me). I will award bonus Official Badass Points to anyone who wears it to the airport.


picture from the ACLU

et cetera