My Easter Message

This is my Easter Message, for everybody, but especially for women, who are often encouraged to play Jesus Christ: to sacrifice themselves for others: for their men and their families; for their work-place or for any other reasons, could be a political, religious or community group. 

Protests in Baltimore After Funeral Held For Baltimore Man Who Died While In Police Custody

(A woman faces down a line of Baltimore Police officers in riot gear during violent protests following the funeral of Freddie Gray April 27, 2015)

They are expected to be martyrs, work until they drop for money or love, and do it with a smile so they comfort people at the same time. Ideally they should also look attractive and fresh too, despite being exhausted. In the ‘modern world’ the trendy mix of 1. working over-time for your greedy employer 2. going to the Gym after work – is just an ideal combination to push yourself beyond your limits when you are very young, then work full-time and fit in the limit-less child-care tasks, run around to take children to nursery, school, after school activities,a and later find the time to looking after your old and disabled parents, perhaps your parents-in-laws, or your ageing partner too. I live in privileged West Europe, I can’t even start to understand the pain women must be going through on the other continents, which have been forced to serve the interests of the West. I am aware many men’s life are also are sacrificed in various ways all over the world. Even in England, where I live, I do not envy men, i would not like to live their life at all. But still there is a huge difference not only about how much responsibility men (generally) take about childcare, looking after disabled relatives, housework etc – but in relation to the question of image, identity, self respect and respect from others. If a man looks after his children or his old parents or his ill partner regularly, than he is considered to be a hero.

Taking the old lady home so she does not fall in the ice

(This lovely picture is from the internet. This young man helped the old woman to walk home as she asked him – a stranger – to help was afraid of falling on the ice. According to the story now he regularly walks her home).

If he does not, than he is just a ‘normal man’ (perhaps preferring politics/pub/football match/mates/lovers/tv/art, whatever). If a woman dies not prioritize ‘caring’-tasks, then she is considered to lack femininity, she may be called utterly selfish – and I have to admit, this is how I automatically respond too when I met women who, for example, chose not to have children. I question my own response, and an internal debate develops in me. A part of me thinks, perhaps this universal female ‘caring’ expectation is the very thing which saves humanity, despite its historical and current oppressive nature. ‘Being caring’ does not have to be the same as being a martyr. I think there is nothing wrong with ‘caring’, but there is something wrong with forcing only some people to do it, while others take advantage of it. If women were to give up their ‘caring roles’, who would do it?

In the UK we have recently seen the growth of a so calledCare Industry’ – this further exploits international female labour, pays them minimum wages, gives them impossible tasks, and leads to an invasion of privacy – but I will write about this another time as I know this disgusting industry inside out. Instead of asking women to change, I think it is men-role which needs to change fundamentally. I would like men (generally) to become less selfish and more human and more independent – which would lead to being less dependent on women, and sharing responsibilities in a more equal way.

Going back to the original question of sacrifice: why people believe that Jesus was a man? How many men have you met in your life, who were similar to Jesus? The few men I know who have any similarities to Jesus are considered to be ‘weird’. Men have always been expected to become similar to those ‘normal’ men of Jesus’ time who persecuted and killed him. Men are encouraged to fear and punish those little boys and adult men who are ‘feminine‘, who don’t pay soldier games as children and don’t wish to join the army as adults. They are encouraged to identify with the bullies in school, and not with the victims of the bullies. Jesus was the most famous victim of bullies. Boys are not encouraged to become thinkers, dreamers, and they often end up becoming loners, if they don’t follow the group pressure of hate (whatever the enemy supposed to be in any given time in any given country and social class). They are encouraged to become violent and fight physically, whether in the army for money, in a gang for imagined self-defence, or in an illegal political group – the same thing in my eyes.

Jesus of the Jesus-legend – was not that sort of men. He would surely be bullied in any school today, and he would be called a ‘girl’ or perhaps a ‘poofter’- with contempt. In contrast to this picture, how many women do you know who reject war and violence, and who live for peaceful purposes, and they take on ‘caring roles’ to the degree that they are, in fact, sacrificing their lives for others? I am not saying that ‘sacrificing’ is a good thing. What I am suggesting is, that it would have been much more realistic to create a female Jesus myth. Millions of women are put on this or that type of cross daily. But who want to worship women? In misogynist societies all objects of worship must be male, including their penis, which is copied in male architecture, while women tend to create round breast-shape buildings. In Christianity the female characters of the story (such as ‘Virgin’ Mary) are only important in relevance to the male superhero. And don’t forget, women are expected to be not only sacrificing themselves, but to suffer, and to SUFFER IN SILENCE, BE PASSIVE and TO FEEL POWERLESS. NO THANK YOU! (Finished now, cleared my mind, now I can get on with cleaning my flat…)

Piroska Markus 28.03.2016

Woman on the cross. Art by Desdemona Varon

(Woman on the cross by Desdemona Varon. The artist gave me her permission to publish this picture)

One day after the Paris massacre

I have been thinking all day about this idea, suggested by many people today, that Paris (or for that matter New York) is ‘close to us’. “Us” can be English, Hungarian, Italian or ‘Europeans’ as such (whatever this term is meant to imply nowadays). “Close” is used to refer to either spacial, physical closeness, or it is used in a symbolic way. There is also a hidden assumption, that societies, cultures created by white people, wherever in the world (and at whatever cost), would be essentially the same, and people living there, somehow belonged to each other. (E.g. Australia and France sharing more than Kenya and Ireland). As the victims of 9/11 and the Paris attacks included non-white people, there may be another hidden assumption, that non-white people living in the US or in Europe become almost like white people, their life (when murdered by certain enemies) can be measured in the same way as white people’s lives, as ‘we’ (white people) can feel close to them. (Not sure if the same applies when black people are murdered by white police in their own country, e.g. in the US). The hidden idea is that the 149 students who were murdered on Thursday in Kenya are ‘too far away”, so we can not feel the same for their death as for the death of a similar number of people murdered in Paris, as Paris ‘is close’. Kenya is ‘too far’. Although some of the victims in Paris could have been easily emigrants from Africa, even from Kenya, but because Paris ‘is close’ we mourn their death too. It happened in Europe, so it is ‘shocking’ for Europeans. Death happening elsewhere is ‘too far’ so we don’t mourn (of course with the exception of 9/11). The (perhaps hidden) assumption is, that if murdered people have similar type of life-styles to my own life-style, than I should be able to feel their pain, to mourn their death more easily, then the pain or death of people, who are ‘different’ from myself. I think what we are talking about is our ability to identify with the victims. It is assumed, that me, living in Europe, can naturally identify with the victims in Paris (and in New York), but not with the victims in Kenya, Somalia, Mexico or Pakistan. If I identify with the murdered victim, I imagine myself being the victim: an internal scream may let lose, shouting “it could be me!”. In contrast, if I am unable to identify with the victim, if identification assumed to follow continental, plus ethnic and racial divisions, then I won’t think of myself when I see a picture of a murdered black student in Kenya if I happened to have pink skin colour. The assumption is, that I would unconsciously think, it could NOT be me, so I won’t feel the same shock, bereavement and natural sorrow. In other words, me, living in England, would FEEL SORRY FOR MYSELF when I think about the Paris (or New York) victims, but would not feel sorry for myself when I see the victims in Kenya. I wonder how the Black, Asian, Arab, South American, Roma and mixed population of Europe is expected to fit into this scheme. Certain authorities and people regularly provoke groups of non-white people in Europe to express their ‘loyalty’ through expressing condemnation of the killing of white people. They are often expected to prove they have ‘integrated’ by showing shock and bereavement about the death of white people. If they don’t do it, it is sometimes assumed, that they are somehow guilty of the murder. This is intensified when Muslim people living in Europe are expected ‘to fight terrorism’, ‘fight fundamentalism’, to successfully influence their youngsters not to become jihadists, and to make statements after statements to condemn ISIS. One condemnation is not enough, they are expected to do it each time white people are killed. Otherwise they may be treated as suspects. Of course nothing like this happens when Christians go out to murder a number of kids, or Church-goers or whoever. No Christian Church is expected to condemn these murders which are seen as the product of lunacy, they are not suspected of being guilty by sharing the same religion. Which happens all the time with (against) Muslim people. Going back to my original topic, I would like to say, here, publicly, that if I look deep into myself, which I did today, I have to admit, that sadly, I do feel the joy and pain of those people stronger, who appear more similar to me. I also feel the tragedy of their death stronger too. I can ‘sense’ much more precisely the life of those who look similar to me, who eat, love, dress, work, raise children etc in a way I am familiar with. It is also true, I admit, that their death shocks me more, than the death of people who appear to be very different, whose life and customs and believes and rules I don’t understand. However all my life I challenged this tendency inside myself, even as a child. I had different words to describe it, but in my nursery and school I made an effort to try to get to know those kids who were disliked by the teachers or bullied by other kids. These bullied kids often came from really poor background, sometimes were unable to study, focus etc, and it would have been easy to join in the popular dislike, ridicule them and see them as ‘strange’, as ‘the other’, the one whose pain does not count. The one who helps the rest of the class to unite, to feel expected because we together we hate him or her. Occasionally, I found myself letting down this kid, joining in with the crowd, but I knew I was wrong, and I changed my behaviour. I still remember these incidents when I felt I betrayed that child, I betrayed my own principles. I don’t think I talked about these things those days, and not even as an adult. Today is the first day I can put some of these things in words. As an adult, especially since I moved to England, I have found it easy to ‘identify with’ many people who could superficially be seen as very different from me, whose language and customs I could not understand initially, who follow rules I may not like, who have religious beliefs I don’t share. I often try to look for some similarity, something we have in common, even though we may even dislike each other. I believe, it is my task to see the humanity in those people who may first appear ‘strange’ for me, and to stop automatically identifying with those people who come from my country, or my continent, or have the same pink skin colour as me, or who are also atheist, or share my feminist ideals, my questionable class and social status, my attitude of hating money and authority. I want to be able to feel the joy and pain of anyone in the whole world. The more different they seem to be, the more puzzling their being is, the more important it is for me to find our connection. To connect, to relate. I think the ‘global’ task is not the world-wide exploitation of oil, but the potential ability to see the human in everyone, even in those people who we don’t understand, those people who seem to share nothing with us, and even in those people, who may first consider to be ‘enemy’ – whatever this over-loaded term may or may not mean, today, on the 14th of November, 2015. Good bye, thanks you for reading, comments welcome.

(The photo was taken at Baltimore)

To be or not to be feminist?

This article was published a few years ago in the English edition of ‘The New Presence’ – an interesting political/social/cultural journal in Prague, Czech Republic, wich has long history.  They publish a Czech and an English version. Later a Russian Feminist organisation re-published it on their website. (I have re-edited it recently). Originally I wrote it when the editor asked me to write about ‘Feminism and Hungarian women’. I told him I did nto have a clue. I emigrated to London in 1978, and even if I was still living in Hungary I may not know the opinion of more than a handful women. Instead I wrote down my own story in relation to feminism – and he said he loved it so it was published, despite being ‘subjective’. In fact I can not be anything else than subjective. Plus I want to be honest.

When I was a child, about 5-6 years old, I was occupied with death, and with the question, what happens after death? I used to ask my mother about it. I did not admit that understanding death itself was my painful subject, I just used to ask her about what happens after death. She used to say, that there was a Heaven and a Hell waiting for people, and we, the members of our family, and all our friends would definitely end up going to Heaven.

My next question was: is there a ‘ringlispil’ in Heaven?

Ringlispil is the Hungarian word for a special swing, although the word comes from the German language. This amazing swing takes you high up in the air, and it turns you round and round making large circles. You can find them in Hungarian fairs. Those days I was living in Budapest, and was lucky to grow up on one of the Buda hills, called Gellérthegy. A part of Gellérthegy is known as Tabán, and when the fair arrived there once a year, for me it was as special as Christmas. Because of the central position of Taban overlooking the Danube and the historical centre of Budapest, if you were riding the Taban ringlispil, you had the most amazing views. Depending on the actual position of your swing while turning round the large circle, for a few seconds you could see Central Pest, then the Danube, then the eastern of western end of the town, then the park and trees around you. I could not imagine anything more beautiful.


I wanted to know if I could continue riding the ringlispils after I die. My mother honestly answered, that she thought there were no ringlispils in Heaven. She said, the body did not go to Heaven, only the soul.

I decided I did not want to go to Heaven. ‘Ringlispil’ was for me the symbol of happiness, a happiness of mind and body together, calm ecstasy. Of course, I did not put these words together when I was a child. The experience meant for me the ultimate joy of life. My mind melted from the feeling of highness, speed, dizziness.

Later on in my life I forgot this question. I have never been as much occupied with the question of death, as I was when I was a young child. I forgot my other ‘metaphysical’ questions too, like what makes me, or any human being into an individual? Does the universe have and end? And so on.

In my teenager years I kept the idea of the ‘ringlispil’ without using this word. Instead, I started to admire people like Janis Joplin, and was dreaming about sailing through the world on a motor-cycle. So ‘ringlispil’ offered the type of experience which I wanted (at least occasionally) from life. I did not want to be a hedonist, going on this or that type of ringlispil every day or every hour of my life, but I wanted to have a life and a type of personality, which is able to enjoy this type of experiences. Enjoy it, create it, and offer it to others. In other words, I did not want to become a bore. That was my worst nightmare: to have a boring life, and a boring self.

It was clear for me when I was about 14-15, that marriage was boring. It was also clear for me that I did not want to become a type of woman whom men hate. Listening to jokes – ordinary jokes told on trains, on the TV, read in joke-papers, it was clear: men hated wives. So I decided that I would never become a wife, and would never marry. I wanted children, but I thought I would live together with other young people in some type of commune. I wanted to be attractive, but I was convinced I was very ugly, and I had this intellectual up-bringing which taught me that my worth was measured by the number of books I read, so I was reading day and night. I thought, my prince would find me if I become very clever.

At the age of 16 I met a woman called Julia Veres, who had read lots of American feminist books and articles and she wanted a collection to be published in Hungary. She wrote a few pages summary in order to present it for publication. This was in 1972. She told me, at several publication houses in Budapest the editors laughed at her. No one published any of the material that time, as far as I know. Those days, even your best female friends tended to laugh at you if you just mentioned the word ‘feminism’.

I became so enthusiastic about her summary that in my Secondary School during our special History seminar, I asked for a chance to introduce these ideas, and for my surprise the (male) teacher offered one of the classes for me to talk about these writings. Despite his positive response it was clear for me that I was potentially making myself a target of ridicule by others. However I remember that during the classes (other classes, e.g. maths or language), me and my friends used to read the pages and we passed these to each other secretly under the tables and chairs. At least while they were reading the summary my school-friends were completely immersed in it. – For me, these pages gave me the first words and theories to describe and justify the gut feelings I had against marriage, against living under the power of a man, against all the hypocrisy which was well known.

During the next few years I became a bit mixed up, due to my participation in the soul-killing social life of the young opposition and young cultural underground world in Budapest. The sexual relationships and the partnerships were usually destructive, and people were virtually forcing each other to accept the morality of the ‘sexual revolution’ – which I tried, but I never fitted into it. The political opposition around the mid-70’s was asleep in Hungary, many of it’s members were depressed, emigrated or committed suicide, in large numbers. Hungary (with Japan) was leading the World- statistics in suicides those days. There was almost no action, and the atmosphere was suffocating – at least that is how I experienced it. I decided to emigrate, to escape a slow death.

I arrived in England in 1978, age 22. In England I was among the very-very few Hungarians who emigrated on their own. I have only ever met three others who came alone. Most Hungarians arrived with friends, partners, or they came to the UK to marry some English hero or heroin. And emigrating on your own is a completely different experience. It is a psychological suicide, as a friend warned me on my arrival. It also throws you into the deep water – the few of us who arrived alone got to know the English/British scene better, and we all happened to prefer the radical edge. We all got involved in squatting for awhile (living in occupied flats).

I only had a short association with Hungarians. During the first month I was living in the kitchen of a small house occupied downstairs by about six Hungarians and upstairs by about 10 New Zealanders. Even that kitchen was shared between another woman and me. They sent me on my way soon, and I also felt it was time to start to avoid Hungarians, so looked for English people and foreigners. I was ready for adventure, was hungry for experience and learning. About half year after emigrating I became pregnant and I decided to search for my ideal commune. Not finding any decent commune in London I travelled to Wales, Scotland and Ireland to find ‘my people’, whom I would instinctively like, and who would be living together in the way I dreamt about. I visited at least fifteen communal set-ups, and did not like them. Eventually I accepted my defeat, and settled down on my own with my baby-daughter in a council flat.

During the first years I got to know academic, religious, socialist, pacifist, anarchist, right-to-work, right-to-not-work etc crowds. I did not find anything convincing or attractive about any of these groups, I was getting increasingly disappointed. I found their ideology lacking (in just about everything). \on s human level there was no warmth or spontaneity. Even the anarchist groups felt too formal. Finally by accident I found a few feminist lesbian women who wanted to set up a home-made small nursery (crèche) in their own house, and I wanted to join them.

For about a year we were running the crèche together. We had five babies, we paid an extra worker and we all worked in the crèche one day/week. Through these women I was thrown into the middle of English feminism, how it was, at the beginning of 80’s. Despite the fact that I did not become a lesbian, I started to get involved in conferences, newspapers, parties – where just about everybody else were lesbian. A large number of these women were ‘separatists’, which meant they wanted to avoid men altogether. Although several of them had sons, they said, they were happy to bring up their sons, because their sons would become the example of men-kind (kind-men). These children were often the products of earlier relationships, although some of the kids were created by artificial insemination. My new friends did not allow adult men coming to their house, and they tried to work in women’s environment. They said that the whole society was arranged in a way that women had to spend all their energies ‘looking after’ men, worshipping and serving them, tolerating their stupidity, their violence, taking humiliation – and they wanted to spend their limited energy on, and with women. This was OK for me.

One evening I was in the living room of my friends baby-sitting for their children, and I opened a book. Suddenly I saw that I was damned: it said, I was ‘sleeping with the enemy’. I was shocked. I never thought, and would never accept to think that the men I slept with in my life were my enemy. I slept with them, because I loved them. Why on Earth should I think about them individually, as my enemy? But at the same time I felt really awkward. I imagined that these women always thought about me that I was betraying them. I felt I would not be able to face them the same innocent way as before. I also feared that I could not argue against their argument, because logically speaking they were probably right. If men oppressed, exploited and humiliated women (even if not all of them did), then the choice of heterosexuality exposed me to the blame that I was maintaining that oppressing system.

A mental battle began. I felt I had to prove them wrong. I started to write, first just to clear my mind. I wrote something which I still keep, which is a bad writing, but it was my half-successful attempt to safe my soul and my heterosexuality. By that time a number of women approached me, and I started to feel strong attraction and love towards a woman, although nothing ever came out of it. But that experience convinced me that the type of sexuality we have is the produce of social-learning and expectations. Anyone’s could change. I always thought that we were all basically bi-sexual, or have bi-sexual tendencies, but for some reason we are being pushed in one or another direction (with a number of people choosing both sexes).

My main argument against my friends was, that there were many types of oppressions and exploitations, and there was no reason why we should choose women’s oppression as the most vital one. My writing aimed to attack any movement that tried to decide, which was the most important oppression, usually by generating a hate-campaign against a specific group of people or institution. The socialists claim the devil is Capitalism; Trockists claim it is Stalinism; anarchists claim it is the State; feminists claim the problem is Men; certain anti racists claim it is White people as such; pacifists might claim War. I was arguing that feminist women created a pathetic ethos, claiming that they “loved” ALL women – while in reality there were many reasons why they might belong to different groups who oppress or exploit each other (e.g. social class, privileges). A rich feminist woman can live off the work of another woman, if not hundreds or thousands of other women – so why claim she “loves” them? I also argued that women, inc. feminist women might have lots of reasons to compete with each other, e.g. trying to prove who is MORE feminist.

Gradually I moved away from them, as I have disappeared from every other political or other movement, big and small group, which made me curious for awhile in my life.

My feminist-lesbian friends also felt disappointed in me, because even after years of friendship I kept myself different. I constantly broke the rules of engagement, and I argued with everyone. Even worse, I moved together with my long-time partner who was a man, and soon gave birth to two more children, both incredible beautiful and lovely boys. I was told off for “selling out” by one of the women (who had a child by artificial insemination and was living together with another woman in a traditional marriage-like-suffocation, which I used to experience in their house several times weekly).

My last involvement with feminists happened through the peace movement. One day in the middle of the night, an old hippie friend knocked on my door. She wanted to know, if she and about ten other people could sleep in my flat, as they were going to create a peace-camp the following day in Jubilee Gardens, in the heart of London. I let them in and next day I went with them. I thought politically they had not much to say, but they were a very nice bunch of people. The peace-camp was good fun, there was tasty vegetarian food cooked together. I almost felt I found my dreamt-about communal life. My daughter also loved the playful lively village-atmosphere, as there were many other children around and many nice adults to give attention to little children. This was the time of the Greenham Common Women-only peace-camp. Things were different, and many people had this feeling of optimism, that they were changing history. Unfortunately at the Jubilee Gardens Peace-camp the idyll was disturbed when skinheads attacked our camp, they tried to stab some of the sleeping people from the outside of a tent. We moved back home.

From these pacifists I heard about a meeting organised about ‘East European women and the peace movement’. That made me curious. By that time (1982) I started to forget the fact that I was from East Europe. I hardly sew any Eastern Europeans for years. For the ordinary English feminist women whom I knew earlier, it was absolutely meaningless that I came Hungary. I was a woman, end of story.

So dying with curiosity I went to the meeting, which took place in a University. There the women decided to organise a whole day conference on the same subject. I offered to help, but I felt funny. I did not know why. During the organising process I felt over-powered by the perspectives of the English women, including women who told us their parents were from Eastern Europe but they were born here. I could not find anyone to identify with, but I was not yet able to articulate what was bothering me.

The conference took place. I don’t remember details, apart from loosing the drink-bottle of my daughter in the crèche. And I remember I absolutely awful during the whole time of the conference. Like an alien. I did not feel the discussions were relevant to me at all.

It took me years to understand why. And also, to understand why I don’t want to be a ‘feminist’, while I am a feminist. Now it is simple. But those days, it was agony.

Last year I went into a bookshop, and I noticed a large book on display. It had something to do with women all over the world, perhaps “The end of feminism”, or something similar. I opened it. I looked through the chapters and among the about 20 subjects I managed to find one concerning Eastern Europe. The rest was about (and written by) women in England, USA, Africa, Ireland, Asia, the situation of Muslim women etc. A woman with an English name wrote the only chapter about Eastern European women. I got very upset, just seeing her name. Then I looked at what she had to say. It started with the usual cry: Why women in East Europe don’t want to become feminists?

I became red with anger. I shouted with them inside my own head: “You big-headed, patronising, cultural-feminist-imperialists, WHY CAN’T YOU ASK US TO SPEAK IN OUR OWN NAME?! How come you can ask Black women, Asian women, Irish women? How come, when people talk about having disabilities, having Aids, being gay, being transsexual, being Muslim, being anything – they can search for, at least, a token person from that community? But NOT when they are talking about US!” We don’t really exist! Not even for the women. Or especially not for the feminist women! It hit me that I felt SO ALIENATED when I was friendly with those feminist-lesbian women. Because they showed the LEAST interest about me, about my background – and they expected me to become a ‘club’-member. SOMEONE WHO IS LIKE THEM AND WHO LIKES THEM. They wanted me to adapt to their values, their way of dressing, speaking, being with each other. (I remember one of them, a psycho-therapist became red, and they all looked at me with a shock, when I told her in a party, in front of several others that I liked her face. This honesty was not part of their games. But she did have a lovely clown-looking face, with a good smile printed on it.) They ‘tolerated’ my heterosexuality (at least for the time being, hoping I would eventually give it up), but they did not tolerate my different personality. I remember, once one of my super-intelligent lesbian friend told me, when I told her half-jokingly that I was ‘very unique’, – she said that was a dangerous idea. I half-knew what she was trying to say. I thought she felt I was trying to distinguish myself by putting down ‘other women’ when claiming to be so unique. As if others were not. The message was: be like any other women, we are all OK and loveable. They also got very upset when one evening I went to see them with my small daughter, without pre-arranging it. They explained me that in the future I should phone several days earlier if I wanted to visit them. The appointment-booking social life of the English people never attracted me, but it took me years to “accept” that even many young people need “appointments” to meet up with each other. I tried and tried to do it without appointments, encouraging people “just to turn up”, but I will never forget the face of my lesbian friends when I “just turned up” to see them because I felt like it. Perhaps this was the final straw for me.

After finding that book a year ago, I knew exactly what I hated about the whole English feminist attitude. THEY SIMPLY TAKE IT FOR GRANTED THAT THEY CAN DEFINE WHAT FEMINISM IS. AND THEY WANT TO DEFINE WHO A FEMINIST IS. THEIR ANSWER IS SELF-EVIDENT FOR THEM: THEY ARE feminists, and feminism is whatever they believe. Similarly, how DEMOCRACY is being defined in the West: democracy is what we have. Democratic is, what we are. Or ‘civilisation’. And so on. So I realised, the whole question: Are Eastern European women feminists? or really, for that matter, Is anyone in the world a feminist? Or Should we be feminists? – all these questions are red herrings. Nonsense. In it’s present form this type of question, as far as it originates in West Europe or in America, means: DO YOU WANT TO BE LIKE ME? – And now, put a picture of a ‘typical’ English feminist next to the question. The typical English (or American) feminist is the one, who would like the rest of womanhood to become like her. She is the example. I could call her feminist-imperialist, if it was not cheap. And I have met hundreds of them. (OK everyone is an individual, there are differences, still, many looked the same with short hair, ugly clothes – the image advertising the message:

I am not going to please men!”

So, I do not, did not and will not join their club. I am not going to become ‘one of them’. Even if I wanted to, I could not, my instincts are different.

I also remembered, that my writings about the situation of the women in Hungary (and in the ‘socialist’ countries) were rejected by the feminist papers and journals I turned to – during the early 80’s when I was desperately interested to address these issues publicly. Despite the fact that one of the best known feminist women from Russia contacted me after her emigration to France, and she wanted to work with me. She was so much promoted, that even Simon de Bouvier wrote about her. When she asked me to go to Paris or Vienna to work with her, I wrote to her, that I didn’t have enough money to get to Victoria Station, let alone to buy a ticket to Paris or Vienna.

During the 80’s I wrote to several English Feminist Publishers asking them to donate copies of unsold books and one copy each of the main feminist papers and journals so they could be sent to Hungary and Poland, as from both countries a few individual women and small feminist groups asked for it. However, I received no reply. I wrote again, repeating my request. Eventually I got one answer, which was negative. – So I realised, that all the cry about the “lack of feminism” in East Europe was hypocrisy, as important organisations failed to help.

And again, there was the whole issue of the ringlispil. As a child I decided not to go to Heaven because there was no ringlispil there. Then I decided not to marry, because I feared me and my life would become boring. It is the same trouble with the English feminists. I do not see much ringlispilling among them, despite some forced ‘fun’, laughter, and claims that they are enjoying themselves.

And in any case, English people have simply NO IDEA how much more free, beautiful, clever, creative, tough, honest, autonomous, spontaneous and self-reliant, self-determining (relatively, relatively) we are, Eastern European women, or many of us, then they have ever been or ever will be. It is not part of their culture. Sorry folks. And of course, I am only writing generalisations. If a Western person goes as far as putting into his/her hands this article, this newspaper, than perhaps, he or she belongs to the exceptions.

But we, Eastern European women, need to learn to be proud of our own qualities. And we have to start our own analysis, setting our own agenda. So far the discussion about ‘us’, about feminism as such, was set by the agenda, the values, norms, definitions of Westerners. The discussion had a West–East-West direction. We could break free from this, and start an East-West-East dialogue, in which they would be measured by us, and they would have to answer our questions. And, among ourselves, if we respected ourselves enough, we could even have East-East dialogues. For me, I perhaps said what I wanted to say. I guess I will look for my next ringlispil.

Piroska Markus

To connect and disconnect: the soul and oppression

I have noticed the disconnectedness of people more strikingly when I moved to England. Mostly among English people. Thankfully, not all.

I believe it is less true about others, for example African, Asian and South American, Arab, Jewish people or Mediterranean Europeans. More typical of men than women. Perhaps it is essentially a West European male problem, which they have exported into those parts of the World they occupied and tried to Europeanize.

What happens in the heart and soul of the person who perceives other humans as inferiors, in need of his (or her) rule? This is my question.

If in any country an individual wants to enjoy – with a clear consciousness – the benefits of belonging to a privileged class they need to justify it to themselves intellectually and politically. In addition they need to distance themselves from those living in poverty who create their riches by types of work they do not know. They need to remove something from their soul in order to achieve that they will not feel the pain of those under them in the hierarchy. The class system has it’s psychological consequences and background for everyone involved. Those on the top created ‘charity’ to calm the pain they may still feel, and to try to convince themselves and others that essentially they are good people.

In order to colonize other countries, the individuals taking part in the process had to cut off some of their natural human feelings towards those human beings they started to rule over with even more cruel methods than practiced at home with the ‘lower classes’.

How could any man oppress, exploit and especially enslave another, if he feels the pain of the person whom he is abusing or enslaving? He must make his victim look essentially different, less of a human as himself. How could anyone force children into factories in their own country, or colonize another country if he perceived those whom he subjugated to be his equals? (I am using the term ‘man’ consciously because women were not creating this situation, although middle and upper-class women in the ‘mother-countries’ would have clearly enjoyed the financial benefit and the prestige of being the wife or daughter of rich people, belonging to the ‘masters’).

I imagine the individual men involved in the process of ruling ‘lesser classes’ at home and enslaving other people abroad, in order to cope with the task psychologically, were forced to alienate that side of their soul altogether which could potentially perceive all humans as his equal. This was perhaps relatively ‘easy for men’, or for the ‘normal’ men, as men have already practiced (all over the world) how to subjugate women. But after colonizing other countries their psyche must have become even more cut off from their heart (if we can assume that everyone is born with a pure human heart). This in turn would have affected their relationships with their own family, with their wives, mothers and children, with other white men, and may have spoiled their relationship with their own selves.

Man in white coat

Through the European worship of rationality white men have developed the art of over-justifying what they are doing, even if they feel it is wrong. They developed racist theories for the justification of the subjugation of people whose skin colour happened to be different. But when economically beneficial, they easily transferred the racist ideas to other ethnic groups, whose skin colour was the same as theirs, for example against Irish people, whom they also sold as slaves for many years. Our history books don’t often talk about this. In the last few decades racist ideas are used against Eastern European immigrants and ‘guest-workers’. However even in this context white West European people find it easier to start a hate-campaign when the skin-colour is different, see the hostile press against East European Romas moving to West Europe.

I always thought that men’s domination over women distorts the male psyche more than it distorts the female psyche. I think it is also true about white men’s domination over other people generally. Frantz Fanon, in his famous book ‘White Skin Black Masks’ was perhaps the first to give a thorough analysis of the psychological damage colonization caused in the psyche of the colonized people. What I am thinking about now, is the psychological damage it has caused in the psyche of the colonizing rulers, and their descendants, among who I am living now in England.

If people try to liberate themselves by copying the distorted psyche of their oppressors, e.g. women copy men, black people try to behave like white people, then the whole world will be as fucked up as the ‘normal’ people are in this part of the world.

I think there is a growing number of beautiful English men and women who are different, who are not described by the above. However normally they make special efforts to distance themselves from the ugly past and the ugly current British colonization efforts in various parts of the World.

As usual, the colonization going on currently is called something else. Hundreds of years ago they were ‘spreading Christianity’ to ‘save the souls’ of people, they were ‘civilizing so called barbarians and primitives’. Now Western and American foreign wars and occupation is carried out in the name of ‘spreading democracy’, ‘humanitarian aid’ ‘development’, even ‘women liberation’ (in Afghanistan apparently). And my lovely English friends who oppose these, may be perceived as ‘mad’, ‘bad’ or ‘odd’ by their neighbors or in some cases even by members of their own family if they don’t hate those people (with brown-skin-colour) who are officially identified as the ‘enemy’ right now.

Most importantly, many English people have re-structured their psyche and became more relaxed, a bit like the African or Latin people who do not distance themselves from others the same way as West European people have been distancing themselves for hundreds of years. They are able to connect with others, hear the perspective of people who come from all over the world, feel their pain and joy and listen to their stories.

Piroska Markus

(P.S. I found the children-photo which appears above this essay on Facebook, unfortunatley I don’t know who took it so I am unable to credit the great photographer. The other photo – of the man crossing the road – was taken by me).

Does it make any difference which party is dominating Britain after the election tomorrow?

DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE who we vote for? And what would happen in the Green Party would get the majority in the British Parliament tomorrow? I do know theGreen Party would TRY to make real change, but I have NO DOUBT they would be stopped. Yesterday the front page of Evening Standard clearly told the readers: Vote for the Conservatives! During the last few months the right wing media have tried their best to frighten the shit out of voters in England to make them hate and fear the Scots, in case Labour gets in as they claim Milliband ( teh weak man) will be dominated by the popular strong woman who is described as ‘the most dangerous woman in Biritsh politics’. Just before the Scottish independence vote all the English major party leaders (including Labour, Lib Dem and the Tories) used disgusting technics to fighten the shit out of Scottish people, they informed them they will be starved to death if they vote for independence. So what would the same English parties and their media do, if a miracle happened and the Green Party would get the majority vote? They would tell people that death is awaiting them as the Greens are not interested in the so called ‘economic growth’, which is fundamental principle of the religion of modern politics and brain-washing. Almost no one questions the concept and the ideal, people don’t try to link the aim of ‘economic growth’ (for the sake of economic growth) to the divisions, mass-poverty and political domination which it creates.  For hundreds of years they have been brain-washing people that ‘economical growth’ will lead to salvation. Instead, it lead to slavery, teh destruction of the earth and our immediate enviroment, wars and  increasing starvation in large parts of the world. Now England is one of those countries wehre mass-starvation ahs been artifically created, where last year ONE MILLION people were forced to go to the ‘Food Banks’. The media creeated a witch-hunt against people who were forced into poverty by the recent Labour, Lib Dem and Tory policies. In cotnrary to popular imagination people can’t just walk into food banks. No, it is not a free self-service for the lazy selfish people how some TV programmes. would like us to beleive. Most food-bank only accept professional referrals, where the professionals must prove that the person or the family really don’t have any money and any food. And maximum 3 referrals are accepted a year per eprson or family. Just low income or living on minimal benefits (e.g. £70/week) is NOT accepted as a cause for referral, there must be additional reasons. One of the most common reason is when the Benefit Office STOPS someone’s benefits to punish them, for reasons such as the offices loosing the paper work (or online applciation going missing); or if a job-seeker is unnable to make the compulsory 25  online job applications per week; not being able to travel to medical tests (not having the money or the transport for disabled people), or failing these strange tests which are arranged to profit private health companies, who  are perhpas instructed to fail as many disalbed or sick people as they can. i met people who have failed these medical tests who were blind, or their legs or arms had been amputateed etc. but they were told they coudl still work, they don’t deserve the disability benefits. This is the Uk world in which we are asked to vote, and the Tories are promising to continue making the rich richer and the poor poorer as this is supposed to be good for ‘economic growth’. In my opinion the Liberal Democrates and Labour parties have been invovled in the same process for decades, but not to the same extent. They are killing people at home a bit slower (e.g. by the hidden privatisation of the NHS which they have all supported to some extent). But Labour is not different abroad, they kill others with as much enthusiam as the Tories, see Tory Blair’s record. Labour has just as happily started and continued wars than the Tories. In contrast to the major 3 parties the UK Green party does represent a fundamentally different approach, however so far they have failed to convince enough people to support them to make a difference in the Parliement. However I will vote for them as I believe their message will get stronger even if they won’t get more than their single Brighton seat, which Russel Brand is trying to help them to keep.

Who is laughing? And who is doing the killing?

On the 3rd of May 2015 the so called ‘American Freedom Defence Initiative’ organised a competition offering $10 000 for the best caricature of Prophet Mohammed. The event took place in the Dallas suburb of Garland, Texas, United States, in a building belonging to a private school, not in New York where the main organiser lives, but in Garland, which is described as the most ethnically mixed town in the country.

Two hundred people turned up to compete and the organiser privately bought in 40 police men in addition to the other security staff provided by the school. We have been informed that two young men turned up with guns and one of them has lightly injured one of the security guards. The two gun-men were killed in no time. Their dead bodies were left on the street for hours while experts were searching for potential bombs. The people participating in the event were moved to another location, and it seems, the competition was completed, as the winner’s name has been published.

The intention to provoke tension and to create violent conflicts between people who could happily live next to each other has many old and new forms. Not for the first time in history, ‘divide and rule’ dominates international and domestic politics in many powerful countries, inc. the USA, UK, Russia, India. It is tragic that many ‘ordinary’ people are willing to be polarised, deciding that another group of ‘ordinary’ people are their enemy. The political and economical elite greatly benefits from these divisions and hatred. They covertly or openly encourage the divisions (while in the West also paying lip-service to ‘equal opportunities’, ‘universal human rights’ etc). They don’t like to dirty their own soft hands with blood, but they encourage, pay or order others to do the dirty work.

Conscription – in times of potential wars  – is a demand on a mass scale to attack and kill those whom your political leaders perceive as their enemy, and to sacrifice your life. Where there is no conscription, manipulation needs to achieve that a large number of people should ‘want’ to kill and die for the interest of their political and economic elite, and their families, friends, schools, Churches are expected to stand behind ‘our heroes’. It is useful if the the fighters personally believe that they are killing for noble causes. On addition serious efforts are made to create a general public perception and consensus that the paid armies are fighting and killing for noble causes.

The people who ‘voluntarily’ join the killing fields (any type of killing fields) are normally poor. They are often in desperate need of money, a job, or a purpose in life, or they may wish to achieve (strangely conceived) ‘self-respect’. They may even have something to revenge for: either in their communal (or ethnic) history, or perhaps the story of their family or personal traumas provide extra motivation. They may be full of frustration and anger created by their own collective or individual life-histories, ready and willing to turn these feelings against any ‘enemy’ named by others, by powerful manipulators. I imagine, all over the world many people join the police, the security firms, the armies or any type of religious military crusade (including the much talked about ‘jihad’) because in these organisations they will be respected and rewarded if they act violently. Many fighting people who believe in this or that religion may be doing the killing in the name of their God, while others refer to ‘patriotism’ – despite the fact that most of the wars nowadays are being fought far away from the soldiers’s and the fighters’ homeland. If I was a soldier I would not like to know that I am simply serving the economical and  political purposes of the economical and political elite. If I was religious, perhaps I would like to think I am fighting for my religion. Or for my country. Or both. Sounds heroic and noble.

Muslim and Christian people have not always fought each other. For the rest of the article I will refer to the Western and US powers as Christian, despite the fact that a large percentage of the population have other religions, and many are atheists. The UK and the US governments still claim the Christian religion as their right, and recently in their so called ‘War on terror’ they have increasingly used religious – and colonial – language. There are many places in the world where Muslim and Christian people (and others following Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist religions and life-styles) were living in peace right next to each other for centuries.

The only time Christians and Muslims are encouraged to hate each other are times when a crusade was/is initiated by political leaders, who often managed to get their religious leaders to work for them too. This happened whenever the rulers of powerful Christian or Muslim countries wanted to dominate the same piece of land, wanted to extend their empires in the same direction. However when they turned in other directions, they managed to ignore each other and they stopped concerning themselves about the rights and wrongs of Christianity or Islam. For example they were not focusing on hating each other when Spain, Portugal and England decided to expend to South and North America. Instead of thinking about Islam they were busy hating the population they found in the Americans whom they named ‘Indians’ and whom they wanted to ‘civilize’ (make them useful for their purposes). Similarly when  the Islamic empires decided to extend towards India, then it must have become more important for them to convert Buddhists and Hindus into Muslims, and they have achieved this to some degree.

Therefore the crash of Islam and Christianity depends on a simple question: do the political leaders of powerful Islamic and Christian countries are fighting for the control of the same part of the world?

The current answer is: YES. They do want to control the same part of the world. The part which is known in the West as the ‘Middle East’.

The above on the left is the original secret Sykes-Picot map of 1916: “A” would go to France, “B” to Britain. And the map on the tight shows the same in a clearer form. The map below shows the extent of military power physically present in the Middle East, now.

US bases in the Middle East

It has a long history, but where are we now? In Texas in May 2015 a few (perhaps) naive and potentially dangerous ‘ordinary’ people decide to organise a ‘caricature competition’ to help this nasty fight. Some of the participants may believe it is really about ‘freedom of speech’, while others may have turned up desperate for the $10 000 top price, but it is clear that this event was organised to provoke. They invited a Dutch politician known about his racist views as the ‘Guest of Honour’.  He is not naive and not ‘ordinary’. He is part of the power elite, his party is the 4th most popular in the Netherlands. Then two (perhaps) naive and dangerous ‘ordinary’ young men jump like puppets, rushing there with the intention to kill some of the participants. In the name of  their ‘God’. At least this is what we were told by the media – they did not speak. Then a few (perhaps) naive and potentially dangerous ‘ordinary’ people, who are paid security guards or private police, immediately kill those who seemed to want to kill the competitors. Who benefits? Who is laughing?

Pamela Geller, the organiser of this event must have expected an attack as she herself paid 40 private police officers to guard the building, it costs her $10 000 according to The Guardian. She said she paid because this is “the high cost of freedom”.

The Guest of Honour “Wilders has campaigned to stop what he views as the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”. He compares the Quran with Mein Kampf and has campaigned to have the book banned in the Netherlands. He advocates ending immigration from Muslim countries, and supports banning the construction of new mosques.” (Wikipedia)

And who is Pamela Geller, the American woman who organised this event? According to The Guardian she is the co-founder of the ‘American Freedom Defence Initiative’ which is behind the contest to award $10,000 for the best cartoon depiction of Mohammed. She is a New Yorker who writes a blog called ‘Atlas Shrugs’ that campaigns to stop the “Islamisation” of America. Pamela Geller used to be a housewife not interested in politics until 9.11 when she turned. After the shooting yesterday she used her blog ‘Atlas Shrugs’ to declare: “This is a war. This is war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”

BBC World Service broadcasted a short interview with the Mayor of Garland. He explained that the event has nothing to do with the town. They did not ask his permission, in fact it was authorised by a private Education Authority which provided the venue. He made it clear he was not happy about this competition. He said his city is the most ethnically diverse city in the States, and the neighbourhood which is the most ethnically diverse neighbourhood. So why they picked this one?

In January 2015 a large conference was organised in Garland by the local Muslim Community, to plan how they should stand up AGAINST Islamic fundamentalism. While the conference was taking place thousands of white people were protesting against them. One of the placards said: “Muslims, go home! And take Obama with you!” Here it is:

Garland, US Anti-Muslim Demo Jan 2015