Surfing Craigslist (I)

October 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

For years now I have enjoyed reading Craigslist personals. And because geography matters here, I should be more specific: I enjoy reading Portland’s Craigslist. It is not that I find intimate vernaculars intriguing or even that I am interested in how people speak to and engage intimate publics. It is, for instance, that I cannot for the life of me figure out what one person meant when they described themselves as “extremely sexual”. Maybe I am too Freudian, for I find the use of “extremely” here unnecessary, ridiculous even!

I have also been grappling with what many people mean when they indicate in their personals that they are “energetic”. Is there consensus that couch potatoes are people with low energy? As someone who keeps reminding others of the violence of the social and of its multiple and competing exhaustions, I find “energetic” an odd demand to make of living, another assault on those who choose not to engage the social.

And then my favorite: the many people who write that they “do not want to play head games.” Is that not the kind of demand that makes you want to throw a Lauren Berlant book at someone?

Diary: Safe Spaces

September 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on Kenne's Blog:

In Kenya, every one of us who questions the structures of gender and sex, those of us who demand accountability on a system made no maximise the satisfaction of the needs of heterosexual men, live among the toxic and hateful ether of harassment. For some, it’s a droning white-noise-like sensation. All day drrrrrrrrnnnnnnndrrrrrrrrnnnn as you speak your truth, pointing out discrepancies in the official patriarchal narratives. It quiets down, but never shuts up completely, and sometimes it explodes into a clamouring and terrifying bang. Many of us are shaken until we have to rightly consider our own well-being and keep away. Others, shivering and tremoring, come back and continue with our work and with our lives.

In school, I must consider the implications of my utterances. Feminist and queer language is always severely policed. ‘Controversial issues’ such as the Domestic Violence Bill currently in parliament, are the source of great…

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Sexual Violence Charge Against Tony Mochama

September 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

Date: Thursday September 25

Contact: Ann Njogu, Chair, CREAW, Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women
Mobile: 0722 768 381

On Saturday September 20th, Standard Group columnist Mr. Tony Mochama committed an indecent act upon the person of poet and activist Shailja Patel, at a gathering in the home of Professor Wambui Mwangi in Spring Valley, Nairobi.

Today at noon, Ms. Patel filed a police report at Spring Valley Police Station. She was accompanied by her lawyer Ann Njogu, Chair of CREAW (Centre for Rights, Education and Awareness for Women), High Court Advocate Betty Kaari Murungi, Joan Nyanyuki, Executive Director of COVAW (Coalition On Violence Against Women), representatives from FIDA (International Federation of Women Lawyers), Professor Mwangi, and friends and supporters.

Ms. Patel had previously stated that she would seek restorative community justice rather than engaging the judicial system. Following consultation with civil society colleagues and consideration of all parties involved, she decided to file a police report for the following reasons.

1) To facilitate the need for corroboration, substantiation, triangulation.

2) To support the decades of work by Kenyan women’s movements to improve reporting procedures for SGBV survivors.

4) To move forward policy and practice on sexual violence in public life on the basis of evidence.

5) “The women’s movement has fought hard and long for sexual violence to be treated like the crime that it is. We must uphold that struggle by being as rigorous as possible when we make our claims and the demands thereof.” – Muthoni Wanyeki, Regional Director, Amnesty International

Ms. Patel said:

“Each time a man sexually harasses or assaults a woman with no consequences, he is emboldened to repeat and escalate that behaviour. It becomes a pattern. Sexual predators are not born; they are the product of patriarchies and rape cultures that teach men they are entitled to the bodies of all women.

“When a man invades a woman’s body space without her invitation, touches, grabs and gropes her without her consent, he violates her sovereignty of person. He evicts her from her own body. Our bodies are our first homes. If we are not safe in our bodies, we are always homeless.

“Let us stand with all victims and survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Let us create a society where sexual violence is unknown and unimaginable.”



September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

The practiced air with which street canvassers raising money “to feed the kids in Africa” avoid approaching, or even looking directly at, me is intriguing. It says something about the coloniality of power. The direction of sentimentality is a well beaten path: it flows from a “here” (and that includes bodies with phenotypes whose belonging “here” is never in question) to a “there” which continues to function as the particular place where horror resides. And should it happen—as it did to me today—that a body with a phenotype deemed as belonging “there” is seen “here”, then requisite defenses are invoked to avoid the kind of frottage that might lead to unworlding.

In Which Sentimentality Is Located “Here” While Horror Is Still Located “There”

September 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

2013-09-06 11.13.46


September 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

Perhaps it is precarity, this need to render labor invisible, because you wouldn’t know he’s at work. For him it is all pleasure (“the pleasure is all mine”). Over and again he says, “So beautiful.” He means it as a compliment but it comes off as pained, painful even. He labors this way & that. So beautiful. He sweats, they writhe, their bodies jiggle. The pleasure is all theirs—so beautiful. If not for the (em)bodied vernaculars, you’d hardly notice he’s sweating over human flesh, so beautiful.

Missed Connection

September 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

“Eventually, wetness will happen.”


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