Leslie Feinberg: comrade, mentor, friend

first_imgI loved my friend.He went away from me.There’s nothing more to say.The poem ends,Soft as it began –I loved my friend.~ Langston HughesLeiLani Dowell and Leslie Feinberg in 2004. Photo: Bill HackwellThis is for my comrade, mentor, and friend Leslie Feinberg. The person who took me under hir wing when I showed up in New York City from the other side of the country, feeling more than a little lost. At a time when the Workers World editorial staff was beginning to work from home, Leslie and I made our way to the office in Manhattan every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so we could work together, learn from each other (because Leslie was always clear that ze could learn as much from me – a young, revolutionary, queer hapa woman – as I could from hir), build a friendship. I owe so much of my skills as an editor, journalist and thinker to Leslie’s patient work with me in those early years.I have this picture of the day that I first met Leslie, before I had even moved to NYC. We held a meeting in San Francisco around the LGBTQ struggle for Pride, and we were both speaking at the event. There I am, trying not to look all nervous that I was meeting the Leslie Feinberg, author of “Stone Butch Blues,” transgender warrior and solidarity activist. And ze’s facing the camera but inclined toward me, with the warmest smile on hir face. I would see that smile duplicated on Leslie’s face so many times after I moved to New York — a gesture of respect and love to anyone dedicated to living their lives in defiance of the daily onslaught of capitalism and imperialism.The picture, taken in front of the Women’s Building, blazes with color — the vibrant hues of the mural we are standing in front of, the deep red of the fancy femme shirt I wore for the occasion. And every time I see it the warmth of the colors and the warmth of that smile transport me; I may as well be standing in the sun, ten or twelve years younger, head tilted upward to catch the rays on my face.I want to write about just how fierce an anti-racist, pro-worker, revolutionary fighter Leslie was, in every moment, even as ze slowly succumbed to sickness. I want this to convey the belligerent fury I am feeling at the heteronormative, heterosexist structures of U.S. society, at the exhausting, constant attacks on our bodies, identities, souls that Leslie fought against for as long as I knew hir and that contributed to hir health complications over many years. I want to say, fist held high, Black and queer and proud, that I and my comrades will forever continue the struggle in Leslie’s name.But maybe I don’t have to do this work today; I know and am heartened that so many others can tell these stories. What I really need to say is:Thank you.I cannot write this without also expressing my love, appreciation and condolences to Minnie Bruce Pratt, Leslie’s partner and another comrade, mentor and friend.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Indonesia ends UNSC presidency with focus on peacekeeping

first_imgOf the 5,327 women currently working in UN peacekeeping missions, just 158 are Indonesian.They are deployed across seven UN peacekeeping operations: in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), South Sudan (UNMISS), Darfur (UNAMID), Mali (MINUSMA) and Western Sahara (MINURSO).Since 1999, Indonesia has sent more than 570 female personnel to various UN peacekeeping missions.While the UN encourages countries to deploy a force that is at least 15 percent female, the figure for women in Indonesia’s peacekeeping contingent still hovers below 5 percent, according to official sources.The Indonesian government is working to raise this ratio to 10 percent.In recent years, peacekeeping has gained a notorious reputation for incidents of sexual violence committed by peacekeepers against civilians, including reports of peacekeepers bartering humanitarian aid for sex. Over 200 people reported sexual violence and exploitation committed by UN personnel in 2018, according to a 2019 report by the UN secretary-general’s office.Read also: Why there are so few women in UN peacekeepingThe issue has become a priority in Indonesia’s multilateral diplomacy agenda under Retno, the nation’s first female top diplomat.It was also the first time that the UNSC has passed a resolution specifically addressing the issues faced by women in peacekeeping. Initiated by Indonesia, the draft resolution was cosponsored by all members of the council and dozens of other UN member states.As UNSC president, Indonesia led meetings and convened general debate sessions and other fora, as well as facilitating reports and exchanges of information on behalf of the council.The nation also assumed the presidency of the council in May last year, nearly a year after it was elected to serve as a nonpermanent member for the 2019-2020 period.In the last week of its presidency, Indonesia held conference meetings on international peace and security caused by terrorist acts and on the Middle East conflict, as well as an Arria formula meeting on cybersecurity.Under its leadership, the UNSC also passed on Aug. 28 a resolution to extend the mandate of UNIFIL and another resolution on the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM).It also conducted “sofa talks”, informal discussions to find common ground between opposing views on various controversial issues in the UN body. It is a new format that Indonesia initiated, where members meet without an agenda and without meeting records.“Indonesia has contributed both intellectually and to the improvement of working methods at the UNSC in seeking out breakthroughs on issues that have been difficult to discuss,” said Grata Endah Werdaningtyas, the ministry’s director for international security and disarmament.“By presenting a ‘sofa talk’ format, for instance, we are inspired by the spirit of mutual cooperation and a culture of working things out as a family that is characteristic of Indonesian society,” she said.As a “middle power” in Asia, Indonesia continually seeks to leverage itself as the world’s third-largest democracy and the largest economy in Southeast Asia, among other things, in line with the constitutional mandate of maintaining global peace.The nation ranks seventh in terms of diplomatic influence, according to the 2019 Lowy Institute’s Asia Power Index.Topics : The adoption of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution that aims to empower women peacekeepers marked the end of Indonesia’s month-long council presidency in August, as the nation entered the last stretch of its two-year term on the esteemed global body.The UNSC adopted Resolution 2538 (2020) regarding female personnel in UN peacekeeping missions on Aug. 28 by consensus.“Resolution 2538 [2020] is the first resolution in the history of Indonesian diplomacy [to be adopted by] the UN Security Council,” Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said over the weekend. “At the same time, this is proof of Indonesia’s contribution to enhancing the role of women as agents of peace.”The main elements contained in the resolution include the need to increase the number of female personnel in UN missions, training cooperation; the establishment of networks and databases for female personnel; enhancing safety and security and providing special facilities for female personnel; and initiating UN cooperation with regional organizations on the matter.”Support for this Indonesian initiative is inseparable from Indonesia’s diplomacy, credibility and track record in UN peacekeeping missions,” Retno said.Women constitute just over 6 percent of the total UN peacekeeping force today, the shortfall derives from the low proportion of female peacekeepers deployed by troop-contributing countries, including Indonesia.last_img read more

Lambert set for West Brom talks

first_img The Baggies are keen to bring the striker to The Hawthorns and talks are set to take place between all parties, Press Association Sport understands. A deal could be wrapped up by the end of the week with Albion’s transfer activity expected to gather pace now boss T ony Pulis has returned from the United States following their three-game tour. West Brom are expected to step up their interest in Liverpool’s Rickie Lambert in the next 24 hours. Press Association The winger, signed from Wigan this summer, is from a republican background in Northern Ireland and has also refused to wear a Remembrance Day poppy out of respect for people killed on Bloody Sunday. “Obviously there has been a stigma around him and he doesn’t need to start that up again,” Pulis told the Wolverhampton Express & Star. “So hopefully we’ve nipped it in the bud and we can get on with our things and he can get on with his things. I didn’t see the situation but I had a chat with him and explained what we do as a football club and the way we are and I think he’s fine with everything. “We’ve got Northern Ireland lads in the squad and he’s been absolutely fantastic with them, and the way he’s mixed and integrated with the group has been brilliant. “I’ve seen the pictures and he’s got to turn towards the flag like everybody else has and he recognises that.” Pulis is hunting a new striker to help Saido Berahino with question marks over record signing Brown Ideye’s future following a disappointing first season in England. Lambert also struggled to make an impact at Liverpool after a move from Southampton last summer with the 33-year-old scoring just three times in 36 appearances. He rejected a deadline day move to Aston Villa in February with the forward insisting he did not want to leave Liverpool after just half a season. But the England international will also fall down the pecking order on Merseyside with the impending arrival of Christian Benteke, with the Aston Villa striker set to complete a £32.5million transfer to Anfield. Pulis is overhauling his squad this summer with QPR’s Matt Phillips and Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry on his radar. Michail Antonio remains a target despite West Brom having a £5million bid rejected by Nottingham Forest last week. It is understood the Baggies remain confident they can land the winger. Meanwhile, Pulis has warned James McClean he must protect his reputation after his snub of the English flag. McClean refused to face the cross of St George during the national anthem while on Albion’s pre-season tour of America. last_img read more