In response to… the trans ban

Well, it’s been awhile since I wrote and I just couldn’t hold it back any longer. Like Marvyn Gaye’s love for… everyone; the current was too strong. So let’s get it on.

We all knew this day was coming, well… many of us; that something crazy and stupid like this would happen. Following the people ban, and the idea of a big wall, this new development maybe isn’t as surprising as it should be. Just incase you didn’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll catch you up – here.

I love transShowing some love. Source: flickr

For me, this brings about mixed feelings. Of course I’m outraged at the idea that Trump would decide that trans people are not worth the investment and therefore shouldn’t be allowed to fight in the military. In all of the haze of anger the figure of 15K current people serving are trans. I don’t know if this is accurate. But the point still stands, a minority have been chucked out where they previously roamed free. This is not ok. And it is a worrying step forward.

That said, if you have read any of my blog posts, you will know I am a pacifist at heart. I can’t help feel a little relieved at the fact that, if this happens, the army will be weaker. If the US army are weaker, will will be less likely to be attacked. War attracts war. And if there are less people in the act of ‘doing’ war, arguably, from this point of view, it is better for all of us. Less people will be killed by these people, less people will therefore, kill us.

love-equals-love.jpgLove = Love. Source: lifemusicfun

But on the side of human rights and basic human freedom, it is a sad day. My heart sinks for what this says to a young trans girl or boy, wanting to go into the world with full confidence considering the hostile environment right now.

As a feminist, I am aware of certain inequalities for women. I am also made more aware of inequalities in race and sexual orientation.

This is a sad day. The only ray of light that we can take from this moment as we move on, and we must, move on, because that is the only way progress is ever made, is to see all of the huge outpouring of support for trans people that will appear over the coming days and weeks.

Trans people are people. We are all people. We deserve the same rights. And we stand with you, side by side, through this storm. We all need each other, compassion and support from each other more than ever.

you-and-i-equals-love-tattoo-on-fingerYou and I. Source: tattoostime

So, be there on the ground. -Be there for anyone you know who is trans and might need support. Talk about it. There is power in words.

And remember, to always walk to the other side of the road when there’s a blazing madman there shouting at you. Don’t talk to him – just keep on walking.

This too, shall pass.

Marvyn. What’s Going On? The Tube.

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Peaceful promise

I’d like you to join me, in starting with this pledge to allegiance for peace:

 

I promise, from this day on, to try to contribute to peace on this planet.

I choose to live my life in a peaceful way, taking responsibility for my choices, and contributing to the cause of peace in any way I can.

I choose to see people’s needs and feelings, and to use language that contributes to life, rather than creating enemy images or dehumanising my brothers and sisters.

I do this because I know the huge impact just one (seemingly) small person like me, can have on other peoples’ lives.

When I think of all the people I will meet during my lifetime, I believe that if just a handful are touched by my peaceful ways, then I will have helped to contribute to a better life for those in the future, and I will know that mine was a life well-lived.

I want to stand for something. I want to stand for peace.

Today.

Everyday.

Peace.

Maybe if enough of us say this and act upon it, maybe one day we will have world peace.

Please share if you believe in this, too.

how-to-love-your-piccadillos-hairy-armpits-elephant-boyPeaceful trunk. Source: arynbates

“From a small seed a mighty trunk may grow.”

Aeschylus

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Inner Violence? Why your inner peace is so important for the planet today

hairy armpitspeace innerInner Buddha. Source: Your Life Your Way

There is a lot of talk of inner peace. And I just realised the real benefit of it.

I had always thought inner peace was all well and good.I like the feeling of peace, who doesn’t? ‘But it doesn’t help the people fighting in Palestine, I would argue. It doesn’t take direct action.’

I understood that we cannot give (much) to others, if we haven’t taken care of ourselves. But that was the most I valued in it. I didn’t see how it connected practically to the outer world. I thought finding ‘inner peace’ was a fluffy idea that didn’t really do anything much.

Yesterday I had a hard time getting starting on my writing work. I’m stuck in a difficult situation where I want my own independence but am too stuck in my ways of wanting to write my novel and change the world to manage to leave my mum’s house.

This whole situation creates a continual inner conflict.

Listening today to a talk about the Dalai Lama, I realised, that the harsh words I have been saying to myself, are actually contributing to violence on the planet- the one thing I do not want! I realised I was inflicting violence upon someone – myself. And that shouldn’t mean the violence is any less needed to resolve.

When I heard Jeremy Gilley (founder of Peace One Day) say that 98% of conflict is not in the war zone; it is in our communities, and we can all become peacemakers on our turf; it opened my eyes to the power we each have. All conflict is connected, and in a culture where conflict thrives (all you need to do is watch an episode of Coronation Street or open a newspaper, or even watch cartoons) , war becomes a much more feasible option.

And why is this important? I am not likely to be violent to others, although the jump from judging myself to judging someone else in a harsh way is not so far. It is most important to be able to be compassionate to myself when I have acted in a ‘not so perfect’ way, because if I can’t have compassion for myself when I am in pain, I will never be able to hear what is going on for anyone else when we are in conflict. If I can’t DEAL with myself and my emotions and can only ever see an enemy image in myself, then I cannot hear what is going on for someone else in another situation. And without that connection, violence wins. It’s that simple.

And as a pacifist, I do not want to contribute to violence. There is enough in this world.

And so the next time I begin chastising myself, I will begin a conversation with my inner educator.

I realise now that it starts with me. It starts with empathy. It starts with inner peace.

Marshall ❤ Source: The Tube

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Soldiers are human, too

soldiers-are-human-too-hairy-armpits-cute-kid-interraction

Soldier and boy. Source: wow amazing

This is a post I thought I would do as most soldiers and the general population are encouraged to see other soldiers through the lens of enemy images.

This is why the press will call the ‘other guy’ names, and will make them seem less than human. This way, when we are riled up enough and scared enough of them, so then (in theory),  it’s ok if we kill these people who are: just, like, us.

So, in response to the dehumanising messages – this is the other side of war.

The cute side.

soldiers-are-humans-too-hairy-armpits-kitten-awwwSoldier and kitten. Source: boredpanda

Soldiers like kittens…

soldiers-are-humans-too-so-cute-hairy-armpitsSoldier and kitten. Source: boredpanda

soldiers-are-humans-too-hairy-armpits-kittenSoldier and kitten. Source: whyzat

And dogs…

soldiers-are-human-too-hairy-armpits-ukranian-soldier-redditUkranian Soldier and his pup. Source: reddit

soldiers-are-human-too-hairy-armpits-marines-puppy-earth-pormPuppy with marines. Source: officialhuskylovers

They care for children…

soldiers-are-humans-too-hairy-armpits-man-with-childSoldier with child. Source: Pinterest

so-cute-pinterestMaking the girls laugh. Source: pinterest

sweet-picture-soldier-and-children-press-examinerLet’s be friends. Source: press examiner

soldiers-are-human-too-afgan-soldier-with-young-childAfghan soldier protects crying child. Source: emlii

soldiers-are-human-too-hairy-armpits-woman-and-little-girl-ndu-eduSoldier and little girl. Source: ndu.edu

soldiers-are-human-too-jordanian-soldier-warms-syrian-refugee-babys-handsJordanian soldier warms Syrian refugee baby’s hands. Source: huffington post

And they are not afraid to cry…

soldiers-are-human-too-beautiful-soldier-criesShellshocked and smoking. Source: last resistance

soldiers-are-human-too-us-soldier-criesUS soldier crying. Source: flickr

soldiers-are-human-too-soldier-cries-with-his-brotherCrying. Source: pinterest

soldiers-are-human-too-cryingSource: pinterest

soldiers-are-human-too-soldier-cryingSource: standtall4pts

soldiers-are-human-too-hairy-armpits-group-crying-beforeitsnewsSource: before it’s news

Often innocent women and children are killed in action, but I cannot believe after looking at these photos that any soldier was ‘naturally’ born to kill. I believe they were naturally born to love. That is why training to kill must become an automatic and learnt response.

It has been hard for the army to work out how to get people to kill people. Because they instinctually don’t want to kill their brothers and sisters.

My hope is that, if we can all continue to see the humanness in all of us, then we eventually will find, no one even wants to practice killing. Only love.

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An interview with… Elsabé Brits

 

an-interview-with-elsabe-brits-hairy-armpits-elsabeElsabé Brits. Source: bloemfonteincourant

Author, humanitarian, supporter of #peace, I am delighted to welcome Elsabé Brits to the halls of Hairy Armpits interviews.

Her book, Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor, released earlier this year, is about an inspirational lady who went against the grain of war and stood up for her pacifist beliefs.

I stopped by to ask her a few questions about the book, how she thinks peace can be brought about, and why sharing Emily’s story has been so important to her:

 

So, tell me about your book?

The book is now out, in print available in South Africa and world wide as an ebook. It is called: Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor about a pacifist and campaigner for human rights. It is a fresh, nuanced look at an extraordinary woman and her lifelong fight for justice.

international-women-of-congress-pacifistsEmily Hobhouse and the first international Congress of Women on the peace ship. Source: the history press

What was it that made this women so interesting and unique to you?

Her defying the constraints of her gender and class – how she travelled across continents to speak out against oppression. A passionate pacifist and a feminist, she opposed both the 1899-1902 Anglo-Boer War and WW1, which led to accusations of treason. Despite saving thousands of lives in two wars, she died alone – an unsung hero in her own country.

Why did you decide to write Emily Hobhouse’s story?

She did so many things, I wanted to re-tell the story of this intellectual – this women ahead of her time.

She spoke out against the atrocities in the concentration camps in South Africa, even though she herself was English.

And she saved a lot of lives. With the outbreak of World War One she become involved in many peace projects and even there after she fed thousands of children in Leipzig until 1922 with her own feeding scheme. She also saved thousands of people from dying in the concentration camps, (during the Anglo Boer War) by helping to improve the conditions of the more than 100 camps.

What an inspirational woman! -Did you write your book to inspire other women? If so, why do you think that is important to do?

Yes, a lot of books are written about the men, and what they did: The generals who made war. More seldom are books written, about the women who fought for peace. They are often portrayed in a negative light as “peace cranks”- a label given to Emily, or even “hysterical”.

War is always wrong. Emily thought so, as do I. But she was largely forgotten in her own country for what she did. But Kitchener is remembered.

Her story was never really told, and I wanted to give a voice to her story.

Is there anything specifically that Emily said that inspires you, about peace?

Emily said about war:

” I believe it useless to soften or civilize war – that there is no such thing as ‘civilized war’; there is war between civilized people certainly, but as we now see that becomes more barbarous than war between barbarians. I believe that the only thing is to strike at the root of the evil and demolish war itself as the great and impossible Barbarity.”

And she wrote this in an open letter to women in 1914:

“The war (WWI) is crushing helpless millions. These are mostly women and children. (…) A hundred years ago men proclaimed they fought (…) to secure the rights, the freedoms and the independence of all nations. War failed to secure those objects then, can we reasonably suppose it will do so now?”

They are such profound words.

Which other humanitarian role models do you admire?

Jane Goodall and Desmond Tutu. Sources: Dominican & This is a sign

I admire Jane Goodall and archbishop Desmond Tutu.

What does peace mean to you?

Peace to me also means equality, respect for all people and the protection of the most vulnerable in our society, which includes the rights of animals and nature. To live in harmony and to have meaningful debates and interactions. Tolerance.

Have you always been interested in peace?

I read my first book about the horrible things that happened during WW2 and the holocaust when I as sixteen, and since then I have been opposed to any kind of armed conflict. As well as the oppression of people’s human rights. I also feel very passionate about equal rights.

I learn more and more everyday.

an-interview-with-hairy-armpits-inner-peaceInner Peace. Source: heavenly places

Do you think developing ‘inner peace’ can help with current conflicts in the world?

I do think one has to be in touch with your own feelings and not be scared to discover your own emotions. I wish more men would do it.

In terms of international conflict, what do you think might help bring more peace and less war?

I think tolerance for diversity would help a lot. And constructive debate. Women should have a bigger say; they are still being side-lined, yet they and their children, are most often than not, the victims of war.

I love that and totally agree… And finally, any future plans for the next book?

Not yet, but I am playing with ideas. Whatever I choose, it will be about a woman… or women.

an-interview-with-hairy-armpits-innerpeacepageWomen. Source: inspiringmama

Thank you so much for joining us today, Elsabé for this interview about peace and literature, Emily Hobhouse: Beloved Traitor promises to be a fascinating read.

Like what you read? Please, support writers like Elsabé who not only have beautiful names, but are writing wonderful material to spread the word of peace and equality. It is people like her who are putting that extra space of writing in the ‘peace’ section of the bookshop. Slowly, it is growing. And we thank her.

 

You can follow her and her work here:

@elsabebrits (for Emily related issues: @EmilyBoek)

And if you would like to read about the inspiration that is Emily Hobhouse you can buy the book here:

In English.

Netherlands English e-book

AND if you want to order a Print copy, they will send overseas.

 

What do you think? Who are your peaceful heroes? Know of any other great writers promoting peace? Let me know, in the comments below!

 

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How to Love your Peccadillos

armadillo-sunglassesArmadillo. Source: armaraban

How to love your perfect imperfections?

Easy.

First, call them a cute name, like peccadillos, instead of ‘mistakes’. Or call them anything else that sounds like armadillo. That will work, too.

Next,  smile.

Good.

Next, hear the pain that you feel when you think of how you’ve ‘failed’, or how you fall short, listen to yourself with a friends ear. Then say to, ‘oh, that must be hard for you, love.’ Hear yourself. If you feel like it, cry.

Next, remember the things that you like about yourself. Then remember the things you’d like to change, (and often you can!), and love those things, too.

Born this way. Source: The Tube

Feel that. And listen to a great song and dance around like you own your imperfections – own your weirdness!

Repeat after me: I’M A FREAK, AND I LOVE IT!!!

Omg, I think I want that on a t-shirt, don’t you? If there’s enough of a demand, I will make some.

Much love to you, my lovelies.

Peace.

how-to-love-your-peccadillos-hairy-armpits-gaga-for-gagaGaga for gaga. Source: Pinterest

“This is who the F*ck I am.”

Gaga

 

 

The Power of Words

Words are powerful. Think about it. The ‘I have a dream’ speech would not have been so powerful if Martin Luther King had put it a different way. If he had said ‘I’d really like it if we all got along’ instead. The strength of feeling would still have been there, but there’s something about those words, that strike the human spirit with such power that you have to listen, even if you don’t like what’s being said.

“Words are windows or they’re walls.” Marshall Rosenberg. Source: The Tube

I first learnt the power of words through Marshall J Rosenberg’s teachings. Through Non-Violent Communication, Marshall teaches that the words we choose to use when thinking about others has a direct correlation with how we feel about this person, and how we act towards them. It’s obvious when you think about it: if we call someone a ‘selfish pig’ in our head, we are much less likely to treat them with compassion. This applies in everyday life, but it is also relevant in the larger scale of things.

Language that similarly dehumanises our brothers and sisters and can help aid violence to scary proportions. Every single war that has ever been fought has been aided by this kind of language. -We call the people who are our enemies names, because this makes it easier to kill them. We reduce them to animal-like beings, less than human. We are less likely to kill our brother, who is like us, who we remember has children, just like us, a wife, just like us. But if we only saw him as an enemy image, nothing more than a dog, then killing becomes easier.

During the holocaust, Jewish people were called ‘rats’ in propaganda, before anyone began shooting the first rifle. This is the power of language. This is the power of words.

So, if we can learn to use language in a different way, arguably, violence can be reduced.

“Words are tangible things.” Maya Angelou. Source: The Tube

Maya Angelou sees words as physical things. This is not so crazier idea. When we say ‘you fool’ to ourselves, for example, we are feel it. We feel the guilt, the shame. Dr Masuro Emoto is known for finding the miraculous discovery that the words we focus on can change the molecular structure of water. This is an incredible discovery, and shows how we, being 60% water ourselves, may be strongly effected by the words we say and think.

This gives us the power, to focus on love and peace. Knowing that we may well feel these things in our bodies, just by saying them. Knowing that we have this power within us, without any  effort, we can just say the word.

the power of words peace2.jpgPEACE Source: Pure DevotionWordpress Blog

And so I encourage the peacemakers, the artists, the dreamers and the do’ers, to choose their words carefully, because they might just change the world.

 

“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”

Buddha

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