February 2007

Thursday Thirteen

13 things about Vagina!

1. OK, this Thursday will be dedicated to vagina! Now, I’m very interested about your first reaction. Is there any initial uncomfortable feeling? Or one big simple WHAT? Seriously; since I’m medical worker when I talk with my colleagues (of course if it’s in context) we are using without any problem words like: vagina, penis, erection, clitoris, penetration, sperm, vulva, uterus, …etc. and don’t even notice that ‘something might be unusual’ until we have someone who is not from our professional world. Their reaction is indeed, different which is OK I guess. It seems that genital organs are not preferable topic in general. 2. I hope it’s OK for me to talk about vagina in spite that I don’t have it – between my legs that is and I always had to try hard and sometimes be what I’m not to get one (very wrong way to conquer vagina or is a good way to conquer wrong vagina which is worse!) And now why I choose to write about Vagina?

3. Well last week I saw movie V-DAY: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS about the effect of Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.
4. Touching and witty, one of the favourites of the Sundance festival, the film V-DAY: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS documents how Eve Ensler’s Broadway hit monodrama developed into V-DAY, the international movement to end violence against women. The film by the director Abby Epstein shows emotionally charged interviews and readings by both ordinary and famous women from diverse local communities, namely, those in New York, the Philippines and Kenya (including Rosie Perez, Selma Hayek, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda and Lisa Gay Hamilton). These women bravely reveal their intimate experiences and join forces to break the silence surrounding abuse.
5. The Vagina Monologues has been widely recognized as “a celebration of women’s sexuality and a condemnation of its violation” (The New York Times) and praised as “frank, humorous and moving” (Chicago Tribune). Over eight hundred cities around the world have participated in V-Day by staging benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues.
6. It is there I saw that actually saying “vagina”, “cunt”, “coño”, pička“, …etc. can be so ’liberating’ for many women. Yes it is funny when you see on the stage some actress (or local woman) who is screaming „Vagina!!!“ on the stage and then the whole audience is joining her, but then you have to ask yourself and then it;s not funny anymore.
7. This film was is to raise awereness that women are abused in so many, so incredibly many ways…
8. Violence against women is deeply embodied in society we live in. It shows in different ways – through underestimating almost all that women do, insult and humiliation, making fun rituals, economic exploitation and exhausting women resources, fear and disgust over female physiological needs, viewing female body and female sexuality as something dirty and dangerous, through suppressing female body and sexuality into the silence.

9. The most horrifying story in the movie is the story of Mrs Agnes from the Valley of Rift River who (with support of V-day Project) erected sort of asylum for girls who escape (or were banned from their families because they refuse to do) female circumcision or Female genital mutilation (FGM).
Genital cutting, or excision, is a coming-of-age ritual that signifies a girl’s entry into womanhood. It is accompanied by public celebrations and is often a source of pride for the girl. For some it also carries religious significance. Usually performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 12, but also on teenagers, it involves the partial or total excision of the external female genitalia.
10. It is performed by a female elder using a razor, knife, or piece of glass, usually without anesthetic, while several women hold the girl down. Agonizingly painful, it robs her of sexual pleasure and frequently causes medical problems, including hemorrhaging, infection, urinary incontinence, infertility, and complications in childbirth. There are several methods:
• Type I – excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris;
• Type II – excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora;
• Type III – excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation);
• Type IV – pricking, piercing or incising of the clitoris and/or labia; stretching of the clitoris and/or labia; cauterization by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue;
Vaginas that were stitched stays with stitches until the wedding day when the husband tear them off. Or the best man takes a horn of the goat to make a passage for the husband.

11. And the reasons are:
– psychosexual reasons: reduction or elimination of the sensitive tissue of the outer genitalia, particularly the clitoris, in order to attenuate sexual desire in the female, maintain chastity and virginity before marriage and fidelity during marriage, and increase male sexual pleasure;
– sociological reasons: identification with the cultural heritage, initiation of girls into womanhood, social integration and the maintenance of social cohesion;
– hygiene and aesthetic reasons: the external female genitalia are considered dirty and unsightly and are to be removed to promote hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal;
– myths: enhancement of fertility and promotion of child survival;
– religious reasons: Some Muslim communities, however, practice FGM in the belief that it is demanded by the Islamic faith. The practice, however, predates Islam.

12. Of course there are loads of other types of violation toward women but this one is really even hard to imagine from this point of view. Sorry for this kind of TT but the feeling from the movie was just too strong so I had to share it with you.
13. Awareness is the first step!


A Small Death Trilogy
by Elfride Jelinek

Few weeks ago I was listening one contact radio show where the question for the audience was What were your biggest disillusions in the past 2006? and one girl said:”One of my biggest disillusions was that I thought its easy (possible) to understand “A Small Death Trilogy”!”
That was hilarious answer and I was laughing so hard. She was so sweet indeed!
… uhm … and I’m afraid so right!

Horribly strange and tough play … well after all we ARE speaking about Mrs. Jelinek and whoever has read anything written by her knows what that means.

“A Small Death Trilogy” is a drama about death of art, theatre and culture. It is a phantasmagoric-poetic picture of civilization where there is no more place for humanistic determinations. In it, contradictory ideas about individual, pretty and ugly, good and evil, love and hatred, libido and aggression, victim and crime are divided and then reunited in the final picture of death.

Elfride Jelinek derived titles of this trilogy from Schubert songs “Queen of Fairies”, “Death and the Girl” and “Traveler”.

First part is addressing of one famous actress (dead actress of course) of famous Burg Theatre; she speaks about her artistic career, focusing on problems of glory and power. She is self-loving woman who depends on her image in public and in the end we can see the essence of glory that puts masks that will be unavoidable destroyed by death. ”No one shall be forgotten”
In the second part (“Death and the Girl”) we can see a hunter, Snow White and the seven Dwarfs, and one of the main themes is relation between beauty and truth, matter and spirit, surface and essence, ephemerality and eternity, death and life. Hunter (death?) is extremely cold and with explicit distance he’s making very convincing feeling of existential frisson toward idea of the end of physical life. It’s a story of narcissism, claustrophobia, about emptiness of the idea “to have” upon the abyss of the idea “to be”.
Third part is a speech of Traveler with accent on the problems of nonafiliation, transitoriness and loneliness, where the idea of ‘road’ has been crystallized as the main, basic metaphor of life (” When they erasing man, first they taking his road” – I like that very much!)

After the play on one festival recently audience was quite confused and the leading actress shared her own experience about this play, about that “theatrical something”. When she started to work on this play she was equally confused; the cast was ‘into’ the text two months before going on the stage. She even said to director “I’m not sure am I interested to work in such a play that will be understandable only to the few intellectuals or the ones who’ll pretend that they’ve understood it” but after many weeks of work she was ‘infected’. On the question “What we just saw?” she said “This is philosophic discussion about life, death, power, and not only on intellectual field but emotional as well. This is not text for drama, it’s not realistic play. One my friend, very famous film director said to me that he’s not sure if he understands the play but he loves it!”

I don’t know, maybe it’s the same case with me. I really liked the play but describe what is all about is a million dollar question!


13 things about 14th Feb – St Trifun’s Day!

You probably think that whole Christian world is celebrating 14th Feb as Valentine’s Day. Indeed we are celebrating 14th February but celebrating the Day of St Trifun.

1. St Trifun (just like St Valentine) has lived in third century and was killed (just as St Valentine) because he refused to give up Christianity.
2. He was a poor man who kept gooses but also he had ability to cure many human and animal diseases and to liberate people from the demons. 3. That was time of Roman Imperator Gordian whose daughter Gordiana was mentally ill and the best doctors were unable to heal her. 4. One day (according to the legend) from inside her demon has spoken that no one could make him to leave Gordiana but Trifun. 5. Demon hasn’t told which particular Trifun so the emperor Gordian ordered to all Trifuns in the Empire to come in the Rome until the order reached poor goose keeper in the village Kampsada in Frigia on the Small Asia. 6. When (our) Trifun has successfully healed Gordiana he earned enormous award of course but Trifun on his way home has gave all those precious presents to the poor. 7. In his village St Trifun continued to live modest life in great piety keeping gooses and healing people.
8. New Roman Emperor Decius Traianus knew about the grace that was on Trifun and being huge enemy of Christianity he throw Trifun in the dungeon and tortured him. But Trifun was strong in his faith and didn’t gave up Christ. 9. On 1st February (Julian calendar) or 14th February (Gregorian calendar) year 250 St Trifun was killed.
10. St Trifun is patron of the city of Kotor which is part of UNESCO World Heritage. You can see photo of the St Trifun’s church in Kotor erected in the year 809 .
11. There is special religious act dedicated to St Trifun on the vineyards and fields after some damage: oil from the St Trifun’s icon lamp and sanctified water have been used and sprinkle on the fields and vineyards. In Serbia St Tifun is patron of vineyards and on 14th Feb people are going to prune vine and pour over with wine to give it new strength after long winter.
12. People say “Trisha (Trifun in affection) has stabbed live coal in the soil so the snow and ice are melting”. There is belief that if St Trifun’s Day is rainy coming year will be rainy and bumper year and if the day is clear the year will be arid.
13.Now when I look through the window I see semi sunny day with loads of clouds (yesterday and whole last night was incredibly rainy!) so I say spring and autumn will be rainy and summer quite sunny and winter will be … cold I guess. How good I am!? LOL

In Vino Veritas!
Sorry if I don’t reply right now but I have to go in bed (just look the clock on the left)

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Gagarin Way
by Gregory Burke

Two nights ago I watched fabulous Gagarin Way by Gregory Burke, directed by Maja Milatović-Ovadia in BITEF Theatre.

An edgy, cynical socio-political microcosm set in post-Thatcher Scotland, Gagarin Way takes an incisive, fiercely intelligent look at the remnants of 20th-century ideology and charts its dispersal in our era of emptiness. Economic, political and personal violence collide ferociously in this caustic comedy, shining an unforgiving light on our infuriating inability to acknowledge, identify or resist the forces that dehumanize us.

This black comedy provokes laughter and has its own social misfits but never lets its audience forget that to murder someone, whatever the motive, is to end a warm, throbbing life. The plot is settled in a small Scottish mining town taken over by multinational corporations. Two local men, thirsty for social justice and full of revolutionary, anti globalistic spirit, kidnap an executive and plan to kill him as a political statement. With strong mask of tough revolutionars, guerilla fighters, with great ideas and their weak base, with selective „knowledge“ about revolutionary movements (with stories from the war which he heard from his granddad, the same granddad he never met); with gun in hand and total confusion in head … those two young man are ready to make history! Thinking that killing that evil Japanese exploiter, who is not quite Japanese but maybe Dutch or even better American … who in the end turns out to be a native son as bitter over his selling out to the invaders as his abductors are over their dead-end lives. The ideas, beliefs and hopes of these men grate, clash, combine and oppose as their own stories emerge through the play.

This is a ton of theatrical dynamite cunningly disguised as a mere Molotov cocktail. It slips down easily and then explodes. It ransacks 20th-century political philosophies and ideologies with assurance and poses big questions: can the individual act have greater political symbolism? Is political violence ever justified? What is the difference between revolution and murder and how can you rise above apathy in a world where there is nothing left to believe in? For all its shocking violence, this is an acutely moral play.

Maybe we have a new genre: Comedy of terrorism. This is Waiting Godot to Come – with a rifle.


13 things about International Polar Year (IPY)!

1. I was buying post stamps and saw that the latest issue is dedicated to The 2007, International Polar Year. On the stamp is portrait of great Serbian scientist Milutin Milankovic. 2. So what is actually IPY? It’s international project to promote scientific researches on one of the most unknown regions on the planet; because North and South Pole have the crucial significance for life on Earth. So scientists from around the world will initiate a new era in polar research by participating in International Polar Year 2007-2008. Working across many disciplines, the scientists will conduct field observations, research and analysis to build upon current knowledge and increase our understanding of the roles that both polar regions play in global processes.
3. Carl Weyprecht (1838-1881), scientist and co-commander of an Austro-Hungarian expedition to the North Pole during the 1870s, is credited with inspiring the first International Polar Year. Weyprecht defined the basic principles of Arctic exploration, calling for nations to establish a network of Arctic research posts and to collaborate in data collection and scientific observation. But Weyprecht died before first IPY occurred in 1882-1883. 4. Fifty years later (1932-1933) a second IPY occurred with approximately 40 countries who participated. They established numerous permanent research stations in the Arctic and prompted advances in meteorology, atmospheric sciences, geomagnetism and the ‘mapping’ of ionospheric phenomena that advanced radio-science and technology. 5. In 1957-1958, 67 nations were involved in the International Geophysical Year, which continued the legacy of international scientific cooperation while commemorating the 75th and 25th anniversaries of the first two International
Polar Years. 6. 2007 is fourth IPY but first one which will have climatic changes as priority theme which is not strange since we are confronting with Global Warming phenomenon which has its effect on the poles.
7. That very sensitive balance of sun, water and ice has enormous influence on life on Earth which is raising concerns and fears since global warming will upset that fine balance. 8. There are proves of huge ice melting on both poles thanks to raising temperature of 2 degrees Celsius on planetary level since 1900. 9. That maybe doesn’t sound that dangerous but raising temperature is causing huge weather and climatic changes; with this tempo of warming ‘till the end of the century see level will be few meters higher.
10. Poles are magnificent, beautiful places where Sun is moving only by horizon; nights are few months long and the landscape is shaped by icy winds. 11. North Pole is one icy plate that floats on Arctic Ocean; constantly changeable region with fantastic creatures above and under the ice. 12. Colder, South Pole lies on the top of massive, frozen Antarctic. Average ice thickness there is more that 2200 meters. That ice is representing 90% of all ice on the Planet and 70% of drinking water. Under that icy mass (believe it or not) is world full of life! There are fishes with natural ‘antifreeze’ in their bloodstream; giant medusas with arms 15meters long.
13. On the bottom of Antarctic’s lakes there is some sort of “gelatin” of microbiologic world and the scientists think that those communities might be very similar with life communities that have had existed on Mars few billion years ago. Therefore those icy, polar worlds could reveal us many secrets about our Planet but also about some distant worlds. That is one reason more to raise our ecological culture and conscious.

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(leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
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Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Cuba, the Value of Utopia
Yanara Guayasamin

After the premiere on The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), world’s biggest documentary film festival “Cuba, the Value of Utopia” by Yanara Guayasamin from Ecuador the Belgrade audience was the first to see it at Free Zone festival of ‘involved’ movie.

This socially-committed documentary is an exciting story of the Cuban revolutionaries who in 1959 fought shoulder-to-shoulder with Fidel Castro, won a victory and power in Cuba. It shows the everyday life today and memories of old revolutionaries including Castro himself. They remember the time when they risked their lives to make the dream come true. In the oral tradition, various Cubans report on oppression, violence, arrests, kidnappings, shootouts, escapes, the guerrilla fight from the mountains and the subsequent triumphant entry into Havana.

It’s a breath taking story about one idea and its enormous value. It shows stories from the Batista’s regime and what initiated its fall. Narrators are common people, participants in revolutionary movement and as I wrote, Fidel himself. While they are telling they experience to the camera we can see their everyday activities (except Castro’s of course), where they live, how they live, what their dreams are and how they see revolution now after 47 years.

Every one of them is very proud of what they have done and very proud of their lieder. Indeed, Castro was enormously charismatic and brave young man. His story, the way how he defended himself on the court (“History will set me free”), how he organized his return on Cuba after being banned from the island, how he fought and organized guerilla …etc. it really force you to think is it really true or he is some character from some cheep pulp fiction production? One of those who always win and the bullets are magically avoid him. Really incredible person. And to be honest I didn’t expect that kind of movie.
Title indicates disappointment but it hardly can be seen on the faces of those protagonists.
Indeed, houses where they are living are very poor, bricks in the walls can seen, kitchen accessories are kind of medieval, tables, chairs, paintings, beds, dishes, …etc. is at least 50 years old. BUT those people are happy.

Friend asked me after projection have I saw similarity between Cubans and us 10 years ago (she saw). I haven’t because we were in despair, we had one ‘perfect’ land which was falling apart. We were deeply unhappy nation because some horrible things has been made in our name (against our will), of course horrible things has been committed on each side but somehow we were the ones who paid the biggest price (and we still are paying it). My friend told me that our ex president maybe wanted to be like Fidel (we were also under the sanctions, probably the worst sanctions in history) and that was one of the similarity she saw. Well, we didn’t love our president; on the contrary, huge majority of the population wanted end of his regime. With Cuba is different situation: huge majority supports Fidel and are very proud for what he have done. And now when I had some closer look on the Cuban history I’d be proud on that man too.
Of course I don’t speak about his regime after revolution but on some level I could understand how it must be difficult have America so close and be hated by American government for such a long time. It has devastating effect on life of common people (if ship sail into Cuban port it has prohibition to sail into any US port for 6 months). One young man who’s girlfriend is in Spain said “People are leaving Cuba not because of political issues but economical”. How beautifully naïve…

At the beginning of the movie one man is telling us how he was in shock when he heard that Earth is rotating. “How is that possible? How I don’t fall from the planet?” The teacher said “so it said in encyclopedia”.
“Encyclopedia” ever since that day the man was dreaming to have encyclopedia.
Imagine that dream? That need for knowledge and such a limited possibilities?
Eventually he bought encyclopedia some 15 years after that day when he received his first salary.
Somewhere he said “The greatest treasure for young people are dreams. Person without dreams can’t be happy, and I don’t think about few pair of jeans or to have different shampoo … that can give you satisfaction maybe but will not make you happy. There is huge difference between happiness and satisfaction. The worst enemy of happiness is banality…”

The price for freedom has turned out to be a high one; they admit that they do not live lives of ease, but they would not want to swap their dignified life for the banal consumerism that the United States forces on the world. Looking back on the revolution has its charm, but the upcoming battle will be more important.

Black Swan Green
by David Mitchell

What a beautiful, beautiful novel… It’s one of the best (if not the best) coming-of-age story I’ve read.

Story follows one year in life of Jason Taylor, 13 year old boy from Black Swan Green in Worcestershire, England. Truth, Jason who is also the narrator is hardly common 13 year old boy in the way he expresses himself; his thoughts are so beautifully composed, so full of that sophisticated humour, often with few drops of irony (which is not typical in his age) but in the same time he is sometime so naïve and experience-less; in his explanation and in the way he perceive things we can se one beautiful spotless mind. There are many sad moments which are becoming even sadder when you realize the way he seeing them in his pureness but also there are numerous hilarious moments which are even more hilarious when you look at them through his eyes (for example scene with one nice lady whom he saw accidentally (after their conversation) standing with her skirt up in a front of pissoir (I think) and her legs were hairier than his dad’s or seeing his dad naked …etc).

By his appearance Jason is a common boy who wouldn’t raise your attention, except if he try to talk and then get stuck with his stammering on some evil N or S (depends of the day). Luckily his inner talk is so poetic and fluent even in the way he’s describing all that Hangman’s torture with Ns and Ss.
Reading about his suffer I could feel the pain of boyhood again … identifying with Jason is so easy … it seems that problems of teenage boys are universal. (No I didn’t have problems with stammering)

Also characters who are surrounding Jason and the way he sees them is breathtaking. Oh you’ll love his friends and truly hate his enemies; and you’ll love his sister (one brilliant mind) even though sometimes he wouldn’t agree with you. There are so many beautiful portraits that is really hard to pick one.
However I have personal reason to pick one of those; one “crazy” old lady, one of mine favourite episodes. I’ll post part of their conversation here:

– […]”I mean, who are your masters? Chekhov?”
– “Er … no.”
– “But you’ve read Madame Bovary?”
– (I’d never heard of her books) “No”
Each name climbed up the octave. “Herman Hesse?”
– “No” Unwisely, I tried to dampen Madame Crommelnyk’s disgust. “We don’t really do Europeans at school”
– “ ‘Europeans’? England is now drifted to the Caribbean? Are you African? Antarctican? You are European, you illiterate monkey of puberty! Thomas Mann, Rilke, Gogl! Proust, Bulgakov, Victor Hugo! This is your culture, your inheritance , your skeleton! You are ignorant even of Kafka?”
I flinched. “I’ve heard of him.”
– Translations are incourteous between Europeans! […]Ackkk, for your schoolmasters, for your minister of education, execution is too good! Is not even arrogance! […] You English, you deserve that the government of Monster Thatcher! I curse you with twenty years of Thatchers! Maybe then you comprehend, speaking one language only is prison![…]


When I’ve read that I raised my head from the book feeling so poor. Feeling was really kind of shitty and THEN, suddenly I realized that the book I’m reading is not written in my mother tongue. This probably sounds silly I know; I didn’t learn English (then I remembered Spanish too) yesterday but in that very moment I felt such an enormous joy and happiness cause I’m able, ACTUALLY ABLE to read in foreign language. All my grammar mistakes and limited vocabulary were irrelevant; I felt so … liberated!!!


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