Archive for March, 2012

I need a new category

My Inner Feminist.

Why? Because she’s on my mind a lot. She’s on my mind when I think about moving to the US, especially. She’s also on my mind at work, although she profiles herself more as an equalist:

“Explain to me why we need to use ‘he’ and ‘his’ every time we discuss a random member of parliament…”
“It is unacceptable to not also mention abortion when talking about reproductive choice!”
“We need to give examples of bisexuals explicitly!”
“We have used two examples that follow gender roles, now we need to give one that doesn’t. Therefore this lady is a welder and her partner is a kindergarten teacher.”
“Of course men can be raped too, that’s why we need to use this example and not reverse the genders.”
“Did you honestly just propose to write ‘Men who want to have a high social status will marry only attractive women’ in a textbook? That perpetuates stereotypes.”
“We need to portray interracial relationships.”
“That picture is a prime example of cultural appropriation, so we cannot use it. Do you need me to explain what cultural appropriation is?”
“We must provide a consent based model for sexual conversations.”
“Culture does NOT equate religion, and our content needs to reflect that.”
“Where are the atheists and agnostics in this book?”

And so on. It’s interesting to see what people care about when it comes to teaching other people things. In my case, the examples above give you a pretty good idea – a lot of my most passionate knowledge transfer ideas focus on gender stereotypes, sexual behaviour and racial politics.

In my private life it’s harder. My Inner Feminist is a lot less articulated when it comes to personal matters. I feel the feelings, the unrest and I can pinpoint which subjects bring them about (mostly job security, career opportunities (and a possible lack thereof) and, to a lesser extent, money), but I haven’t yet figured out what it is she needs to have in order to be happy. Posts under the “My Inner feminist” category will hopefully allow me to work through these things and help me get a better idea of what it is I’m scared of.

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Ticking boxes

Hard work pays off sometimes. Last Friday it paid off in two ways.

One: me and my teammates were able to tick off all boxes on our copy. It is now off our desks and in the hands of the printers. Our first book as a team (and, in my case, with recognized authorship) is being put together. And the book is good. Solid. Well-researched. Meeting needs. Uniform. Sorely awaited by an audience that’s rarely catered to. Something to really be proud of. Something that was worth the four weeks of up to 16 hour work days with added weekend work.

Two: Beloved received the results of an exam he took a few weeks ago (when I was too busy to post). He is now qualified for naturalization, which we will proceed with when he returns form his work trip. This means that the only immigration authorities we’ll have to deal with from now on, are the American ones. However, we will still have to deal with the municipality (and they’ll have to contact the immigrations-people, but that’s not our problem). Now we have to hope we finish the process before the law on double nationalities passes. Fingers crossed!

There are still many things to do like read the proofs (me), file with the municipality (us), write the supporting documentation for the book (me) and investigate American universities (Beloved), but this weekend is for down time. I’ve earned it!

Just a few more days before Beloved comes back from the Middle East. I can’t wait.

Deadlines..

After another workweek that was not much than work and sleep, I am happy to report that we will most likely succeed in handing off our book to the printers five weeks early.

I’m less proud to report that I’m behind on almost everything else (not counting hygiene and food, those are fine). There are piles of people to whom I owe e-mails and visits. I promise y’all – I’ll get to it soon. Although, maybe not that soon. Beloved is leaving for the Middle-East in a few days and I need to handle his immigrational/naturalizational requirements in that period. We need to file taxes (jointly, which is new, and in two countries, which is new for me). An eye needs to be kept on the cat who keeps getting skinnier and isn’t too fond of his kidney-diet-food. The invitations for The Wedding – Part III need to be sent out and RSVPs need to be tracked.

Oh, and I have angry, angry letters to write to political parties and newspapers. A “Christian” party currently part of ruling coalition in our country’s government has filed a request for a change in law pertaining to nationalities. In short, they would like to eliminate all possibilities for dual citizenship other than through birth. Why, you ask?

My idea is that they’ve spent too much time listening to another party that holds the current coalition hostage. This party is undemocratic (it has no actual members and exists only out of incompetent sockpuppets who copy their racist leader’s xenophobic anti-muslim sentiments) and has managed through populistic tactics to gather the votes of a part of the uneducated malcontents in our society. With this party’s support, the ruling coalition has a majority. Without it, they need to beg for support at the other parties.

So, in order to pacify the racist party’s demands, the “Christian” party has taken up some of their anti-immigrant resolutions and has proposed legislation to prevent people from having dual citizenship. The proposed legislation is ineffective for two reasons:
– it does not target the people the racist (and the “Christian”) party see as most undesirable (namely, Muslims, mostly from Morocco);
– it targets a whole host of other people, a lot of them well-educated expats and diplomats as well as people with foreign partners.

In our current laws regarding nationalities, you would lose your original nationality upon voluntarily assuming another one, unless you’re married to a person who has this nationality. This works both ways. An American with a Dutch partner can gain Dutch citizenship without losing his American one. A Dutch person who has an American partner can obtain the American nationality without losing the Dutch one.

If this mariage-related exception is taken from the law, it will complicated the lives of many Dutchies as an unintended consequence. However, people from several countries (among which Morocco and Argentinia) are by their homelands’ laws prohibited from giving up their citizenship. Meaning that if they obtain Dutch nationality, they’ll still be able to have dual citizenships. This makes the proposed law change ineffective for the purposes of both racist Party and “Christian” party: their goal is to limit people bringing foreign (read: muslim) brides into the country and make it less attractive for people to remigrate to their home countries after “securing” benefits at a Dutch level (the fact that this is somehow undesirable even though Dutch pensioners migrate to cheaper countries with Dutch level benefits all the time shows you the hypocrisy and racism involved).

Why pass the law if even a half-informed layperson like myself can see that it will not serve its intended purpose? Only to appease the socially underdeveloped class of people that thinks racism is acceptable if you clothe it in the guise of concern for a culture (that for centuries has thrived on bringing in foreign influences)? I guess it makes me somewhat undemocratic, but in this case I feel that politicians should advocate the welfare of the country instead of give in to the growling of an underbelly that whines about foreigners while chomping pizza, kabobs and roti.

Extra disappointment is involved with the source of this proposed change of law. If a party wants to call itself Christian, it should by definition refrain from anything involving racism or discrimination or behaviour that is otherwise intolerant, unmerciful, unkind and unforgiving. Also, how can you uphold “family” as a core value to your belief if you feel a country’s government has the right to prevent families from forming (and breaking up others, in fact) for the sake of money or other people’s fear of the unknown?

When Ruth followed Naomi to the land of Moab, was she stopped at the border? Did someone tell her no, I’m sorry, we will not let you in because you’re travelling with another woman (and we’ll only let you in if you’re in a heterosexual and officially sanctioned relationship with one of our own)? Did they say she should be scrutinized for marrying a man from Moab? No, they didn’t and in fact they understood the kinship between Ruth and Naomi and acknowledged that, indeed, Naomi’s land was Ruth’s land and. They understood then, that love and loyalty cannot be bound by borders of nations. The fact that the mainstream “Christian” party has managed to conveniently forget this in 2012 for the sake of petty nationalism and etnocentrism shows what a sad excuse for actual love for they neighbours they preach once their own wallet is involved.

Bah.

Choose life…

There wasn’t much choosing about it, honestly.

Last week on Friday the phone rang in the middle of the night. My grandfather had just died, peacefully and quietly.

We came home on Sunday. Worked on Monday. Due to the derailing of a colleague’s project our deadlines were moved forward. I worked a 15 hour day. Tuesday, I did the same. Wednesday, 16 hours. On Thursday I worked only two hours before going on a long drive to my grandfather’s funeral, where I was productive in the handkerchief-wetting department. Afterwards, I decided I was hopelessly unfit to work for the rest of that day. Put in a “normal” day on Friday.

The upside? No perceivable jet lag whatsoever. I still wouldn’t recommend a week program like this, though. There must be a nicer way to avoid the wooziness of adjusting your internal clock.

I really do need another few hours of quality time with my keyboard to make sure this chapter is press-ready, but Monday is soon enough.

Talk to you all later!

I really just did that, didn’t I?

I think I did, eh? Just left you alone for a whole month without a note, a phone call.. let alone a blog update. I’m back now, though. They honeymoon was great. To make up for my absence, here are some pictures we took.