#BringBackOurGirls: An open letter to men

So Boco Haram kidnaps three hundred girls for slave-wives, while women in America are accused of contributing to their own rapes. Of 1325 candidates for Congress in India in 2014, from the 3 major parties (BJP, Congress and AAP) only about 12% were women. Senegal, Liberia, Kosovo, South Korea and Malawi are among a number of countries with women leaders, but still less than 10% of the total. The Right-wing in America, in solidarity with Uganda, is apoplectic about gay marriage but totally silent about forced, arranged and kidnap marriages; which I guess somehow fits into their concept of marriage between one man and one woman.

Women make up half of the planet but only account for 20% of news stories, 29% of print journalists, and are nakedly discriminated against in TV and cable news once they pass the age of 35. There are more than 230,000 women age 12 and older who are victims of sexual assault in America each year. Texas congresswoman Wendy Davis and Hillary Clinton have been mercilessly attacked by the Right-wing media over their looks: Hillary’s pants suits and worse… Michelle Obama has been relentlessly impugned for her looks. The examples of those insults would be far too numerous to list here. FOX News sacrificed untold hours to explain why women in this country deserved to be paid less.

Getting the picture here? Do I need to talk about rape camps in Bosnia and elsewhere? There were no male rape camps. The history of human conflict is replete with stories of mass rape by conquering armies. Women in America could be considered the property of their husbands well into the 20th century and Saudi women still cannot drive automobiles. Here women are denied rights of sovereignty over their own bodies. Please don’t get started by those creepy cult-like Purity Balls! Purity_ball_ritual

I could write volumes on the subservient, oppressive and abusive way woman are treated in every nation, every religion around the planet. An evangelical minister recently argued that only men of a household should be allowed to vote. Women are half the species, but men have made them the bottom half, with women like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin and Michelle Bachman gleefully and profitably helped men maintain their hegemony. So you’ll forgive me if I don’t buy the kidnapping by Nigerian Boco Haram misogynists as yet another example of Islamic zealotry.

The horror in Nigeria, first of all, is a far more complex issue that the cartoonists in the corporate Press would like you to know about. More than that, it is not a product of Islamic extremism or the fault of a religion. It is, in my very informed and secure opinion a consequence of and a failure by men. We do not, as a gender hold other men accountable for crimes against women, except in instances when it truly feels like arguing over property rights.

I have been told by my wife and numerous female friends that they are constantly aware and concerned about being alone on the street, in a dark place, on an El platform of on public transportation. I nearly got into a physical confrontation with three men on a nearly empty train car some years ago who had a young woman in tears. We managed at the last moment to both slip out the door at a stop. Every woman I know has been groped, grabbed, shouted or whispered obscenities to, followed and sexually harassed by strange men. I can walk down most any street in this city without fear, and with no fear of being sexually assaulted. A close friend, a former sheriff’s deputy, who carries a weapon, worries about being surprised, jumped or cold-cocked before she can reach her weapon. It is a fundamental difference between men and women that level of fear, anxiety, or simply having the thought of the possibility of assault at all.

All men, by silence, ignorance and action contribute to the global environment that allows, excuses, ignores or perpetuates a culture of threat and violence against women. The evangelical preacher who would deny his wife the vote as head of the household opens the door to a subservient and oppressive environment. While he may be on the fringe of that cloud and distant from the most oppressive and dangerous center of the cloud, he is still a part of the cloud. The FOX news pundit who argues for women making less than men has already begun the work of degrading the value of women, or defining them purely by their gender. Simply the negation of a woman’s sovereignty over her own body and future already draws a distinction between the character of a man’s freedom and that of a woman’s, and that degrades any assertions in any holy book or national constitution of freedom is at best a hypocrisy.

Boco Haram did not kidnap boys or men. They only kidnapped young women for brides, sex and sexual slavery. Those are not tenants of any religion. They are the time worn history of our species enacted through every culture, race, nationality and religion by men. It is the habit and practice of men, affirmed by the silence of other men. When and until that is honestly confronted by both men and women nothing we face collectively as a species will ever properly be solved.

WC Turck is the author of 4 books, including the critically acclaimed Bosnian War Memoir “Everything for Love,” and Broken: One soldier’s unexpected journey home, at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. Turck wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart: A Revolutionary Christmas Carol” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” The most dangerous voice on the Left, he can be heard Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fridays from 9-11am in Chicago, and 1-3pm on the Revolution and Beer show with partner and cohost BL Murray.

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Revolution and Beer TV Show Episode 4: Feminism part1

On this show we explore an issue that might be considered an odd pick for some straight working-class fellas…but only if you’re afraid of working and organizing alongside intelligent, creative, and empowered women. I won’t speak for Turck because it’s not my jurisdiction (I know damn well whose it is;), but as for me; regardless of the nature or breadth of the interaction, I can’t get enough of that spirit.

If you are intimidated or unsettled by that sort of thing, just don’t tell your homies you watched it. You can gain one up on them with some invaluable perspective, and it can be our little secret, man…really.

Feminism has a long and dynamic history. At the better turning points in our cultural development, it’s been the empowered feminine spirit that swept-in to provide the passion and resolve to strengthen the foundation of revolutionary progress and peace.

To help us grasp the essence of what feminism means in our society and culture—as well as our city—we’ve asked our friends Paula Kamen, Regina Buccola (@TheLittleProf), and Linda Bubon to join us; and toss a few back. This may be one of the few informative, and non-awkward conversations that you’ll ever witness in a bar on the topic. It can actually can be done, and not likely what you expect.

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Revolution and Beer Reactionary of the week: Dis-elected representative, and ideological masturbator Joe Walsh.

Joe_WalshIt is easy to understand why the unseated right wing former representative-turned-blowhard on AM560 Joe Walsh dislikes Wisconsin State Senator Lena Taylor. For one, she supported the Madison protests against Governor Walker’s bullying of teachers, fireman, garbage men and cops. Two, she’s African American, in fact the only African American woman in the Wisconsin senate. And three, she was reelected, unlike the loud Mister Walsh, who inserted himself into American politics, unfortunately via the faux wave of the Tea Party. And when that wave crashed and was gone, so too was ole Joe’s political career.

On his basis-for-lack-of-reality radio show Monday night he took issue with Taylor regarding comments on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” with Ed Schultz, in which she likened the actions of her Republican State counterparts to the Taliban during last week’s fiery abortion debate in Madison.

The comments came after Senate President, Republican Mike Ellis abruptly cut off debate on the issue while another democrat Senator Kathleen Vinehout read aloud letters from female constituents concerned over a bill that would make ultrasounds mandatory for any woman considering an abortion. It is a pattern repeated time and again by Republican controlled legislatures around the nation as they seek to roll back the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that made a woman’s right to choose the law of the nation. Unable to overturn that decision, republicans have opted instead for harassment as a means of ending a woman’s right to make choices regarding her own life, future and health.

Walsh, the great moralist, who uses the right wing radio station as a propaganda tool to deflect criticism regarding allegations he failed to pay child support, regularly and vehemently defends policies and cultures of misogyny. Though he claims to be pro-life, his penchant for the cowardly conceal carry initiative essentially mandates a death sentence for petty crime, and places all of us in far more danger. Those who demand the “right” to carry a weapon everywhere are in the opinion of this writer, clinically afraid of their own doughy shadow.

But Walsh took issue with Taylor’s statement’s condemning the tantrum by senate President Ellis. Walsh did not take issue with a grown State Senator throwing a tantrum, however. Taylor told Ed Shultz that. ”Anti-women legislation has been their priority. Not creating jobs. We were silenced that day. The president broke his gavel. The women in the assembly were escorted out.” She went onto say that the current legislation, “…is no different than what I experienced when I went to Turkey and heard of what the women in the Middle East are experiencing with the Taliban, trying to silence them for being at the table.”

Walsh was unhinged, or at least played the masterful part of the pretend unhinged, like any theatrical lawyer. Playing to the lowest common denominator nightly to his lowest common denominator audience, Walsh bitched that he was “Sick and tired of (Democrat’s) war on women claims. I’m not going to stand for it anymore!” In a frothing rant that was about as fact based and coherent as the dad on “The Family Guy” cartoon, Walsh went on to accuse senator Taylor of insulting Muslim women with the Taliban comparison.

Truly heartfelt words from the man who appeared to have called The Council on American Islamic Relations terrorists in the preceding segment. And Walsh is well known for his empathy for both Muslims and women alike. His latest perversity on the issues facing our nation is to organize a small number of reprobates in his continuing pornography of gun proliferation he’s dubbed freedom fighters. Our bellicose friend here is keen on the prodigious misuse of the word “liberty,” which apparently only refers to Christian White women who self-police themselves into their husband’s cultural and selectively moralistic constraints.

But why should any of us care why an ideological wanker like Walsh even exists? He is a panderer on the super highway of base emotion and ignorant self-interest. But where the danger lies in “men” like Walsh is that they legitimize hate. For such men, their railing against so-called political correctness, is what the rest of us call manners and culture. I don’t walk into a room full of women and say, “What’s up…?” with some derogatory refrain about women, not because of political correctness, but out of politeness and respect.

I am told again and again by friends on the Right that the Reactionary pieces sound bitter. No, they are meant to strike at the heart of the reactionary in question. This is not the lawyerly sparring of an issue. I am not like so many in the mainstream media with limited issues to speak on. There isn’t enough time in 10 lifetimes for all the topics I want to explore, issues to follow, injustice to battle or stories to tell.

We aim to get at the heart of the matter, which was a challenge for this particular piece. Search and search was we might, Brian and I will be damned that Walsh doesn’t actually appear to have one.

Catch WC Turck and Brian Murray only at RevolutionandBeer.com. Watch us every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., on Chicago Cable Channel 19. Please don’t forget to Like us on Facebook.

ACTIVISTS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS: If you have a cause to champion, please let us know. We proudly stand with you in the important work of strengthening the grassroots support network for the city of Chicago.

BEER! Catch the Beer of The Week review with 900poundgorilla, along with weekly food pairings for our featured beers by Chef AJ Francisco and Simply Healthy Gourmet author Carole Cooper here. Find all of the great beers we review each week at www.glunzbeers.com.

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The Revolution and Beer TV Show: Feminism – Episodes 4 & 5

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For last Saturday’s taping, we were joined by three outstanding guests:

Linda Bubon, co-owner of Women and Children first.

Paula Kamen, author of: Finding Iris Chang: Friendship, Ambition and the Loss of An Extraordinary Mind and All in My Head: An Epic Quest to Cure an Unrelenting, Totally Unreasonable, and Only Slightly Enlightening Headache.

Regina Buccola, Assoc. Prof. Literature at Roosevelt Univ.

Revolution and Beer chef, AJ Franciso, completely owned the day with his food pairings to accompany our Beer of The Week, Crabbie’s Original Ginger Beer.

Thanks to the entire crew: Nick Bacon, Ben Housten, Erik Parsons, Joe Fedorko, Lindsay hereer, Valentina, Neil, Frank and Leadway Bar and Grill.

We took on a big one this time, engaging in a two-part series on Feminism. During the eating and drinking, we discussed the womens rights to bodily integrity in light of recent, and very troubling, stories in the news. Street safety and harassment, abortion and birth control, domestic violence and gun control, and sexual agency vs. sexual slavery/trafficking. Were all covered.

Scary factoid:

Did you know Chicago is a “hub” for girls and women being sold from Mexico, Russia, Poland? We’re talking about girls and women, ranging from age 14 to their early 20’s.

Our CAN TV series will be running May through June of this year. Be sure to check us out and please give us your take on the right of women to control their bodies, the recent attempts to roll-back protections for women, as well as any of the other issues we cover on the show.

I’m going to contact Paula Kamen; she lives in Aville and has written several important books on feminism.

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