Three Veils

DVD Release on July 31st, 2012! (U.S & Internationally)

With her second feature Three Veils Rolla Selbak, Arab-American filmmaker from the United Arab Emirates now working in the US, set off to make „an inspirational film women all over the world can relate to“.

The film focuses on the deep personal experiences, normally hidden from the public eye, of three Middle-Eastern women living in the US.

In an interview for San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, Selbak said:

„I’m very aware that the majority of films with lesbian characters end up [having them] broken-hearted or killed off by the end. However I also wanted to show the truth; the painful truth of what a character like Amira would probably choose to do. It’s meant to showcase the grimness of the issue, and hopefully it will push people in the audience to do something about it, whether they know someone in a similar situation, or whether they’re going through it themselves.“



Caster Semenya was allowed to keep her medal.

Caster Semenya was a world champion – then she was sidelined for 11 months of invasive gender testing because she was too fast and too muscular. She’s back in time for the 2012 Olympics, but now there’s a new rule targeting women who are „too good“ at sport to be „real“ women.

This rule violates everything the Olympics are about. Seeing people achieve the very fastest, highest, strongest limits of their sport is an inspiration for tens of millions of people globally – to work hard and love what you do. This new rule tells every kid watching the Olympics that you don’t just have to work hard, you have to look „right“.

A panel of medical experts convened by the International Olympic Committee recommended Wednesday that the issue of athletes whose sex seems ambiguous be treated as a medical concern and not one of fairness in competition.

Caster Semenya of South Africa, who won a gold in the 800 meters at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin in 2009, was allowed to keep her medal.

Athletes who identify themselves as females but have „medical disorders“ that give them masculine characteristics should have their disorders diagnosed and treated, the group concluded after two days of meetings in Miami Beach. The experts also said that rules should be put in place for determining an athlete’s eligibility to compete on a case-by-case basis — but they did not indicate what those rules should be.

“We did not address fairness,” said Dr. Joe Leigh Simpson of Florida International University. He is an expert on such disorders and participated in the meeting. “The entire concept was that these individuals should be allowed to compete.”

The group, sponsored by the I.O.C. and the governing body for track and field, met on Sunday and Monday in the wake of an international controversy over Caster Semenya, the South African runner who won the 800 meters at the world championships in Berlin in August. Other athletes complained that her masculine features suggested that she should not be allowed to compete as a woman, and track and field’s governing body ordered sex testing. The results of those tests have not been released.

The panel’s recommendations were criticized by some athletes, who said that athletes with masculinizing disorders are so different from other women that their presence in competition is unfair.

“If you start to do this you are making a joke of the fact that there are two classifications — male and female,” said Doriane Coleman, a law professor at Duke University and a former elite 800-meter runner. “They might as well open it up and have women competing with men.”

Masculinizing disorders are rare but significantly more common among elite athletes than in the rest of the population, said Dr. Eric Vilain, a medical geneticist at U.C.L.A. and a participant in the meetings. They can be caused by an overactive adrenal gland, which would result in high testosterone levels from fetal life onward. Or someone might have the male Y chromosome but be relatively insensitive to testosterone. As a result, the person develops as a woman but has high testosterone levels that are only partly effective.

Exercise physiologists say one reason men have huge advantages in nearly every sport is their testosterone levels, which not only affect muscle and skeletal development but also are thought to affect things like the size of the heart and the amount of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in the body.

Members of the panel said that their concern was with sports federations’ responsibility for athletes with medical disorders. Athletes’ health might be endangered if their disorders are not diagnosed and treated, they said.

“Those who agree to be treated will be permitted to participate,” said Dr. Maria New, a panel participant and an expert on sexual development disorders. “Those who do not agree to be treated on a case-by-case basis will not be permitted.”

But, for critics like Coleman, this stance avoids the issue of fairness. It is not enough to simply lower testosterone levels after diagnosing an athlete’s disorder, she said. By that point, the athlete has already reaped the benefits of a lifetime of heightened testosterone.

But panel members said it was impossible to wipe away every advantage an athlete might have.

Forget about level playing fields, said Dr. Myron Genel of Yale. “For a lot of us here, there is no such thing,” he said. “We were told at the meeting about a Finnish family that was extraordinarily successful in cross-country skiing. They were found to have a genetic disorder that provided them higher levels of hemoglobin, and therefore they had superior oxygen-carrying capability. Specific genetic defects provide advantages.”

The guidelines so far are merely recommendations, the participants emphasized. Some of the group’s suggestions were deliberately vague. For example, it advised that medical “centers of excellence” be created to diagnose sex-development disorders.

How that would work was not spelled out publicly, although New said a more specific plan had been discussed. Sports authorities would send photographs of athletes to experts like her. If the expert thinks the athlete might have a sexual-development disorder, the expert would order further testing and suggest treatment.

“This is a sea change from what they are doing now,” New said.

Also left unresolved was how to enforce the policy that intersex athletes be treated.

Consider, Vilain said, an athlete with a disorder that gives her a high testosterone level. Does she have to be treated to bring her testosterone level down to the average range for women? Or can it be in the high range? And how often must she be tested to be sure she is complying with her treatment?

Simpson, of Florida International University, said he recognized that some female athletes would find the guidelines unfair. But, he said, “we have to balance fairness to female athletes to fairness to other competitors.”

“My opinion remains unchanged,” Simpson said. “If you have a disorder of sexual development, you should be allowed to compete.”

via and via

Bikini Kill Starts Bikini Kill Records

This week, feminist punk pioneers Bikini Kill started their own record label. Yep, you read that right.

the four members of Bikini Kill wear black tees and look at the camera

Here they are with more info:

As our 25th anniversary approaches, Bikini Kill has decided to start our own record label called Bikini Kill Records. The Bikini Kill back catalog is currently available digitally via, eMusic & iTunes. The Frumpies and Casual Dots are also up for sale now. We are working towards reissuing the physical Bikini Kill records one at a time. There are brand new Bikini Kill T Shirts available from at this time with more merch to come in the near future.

New merch, you say? And ongoing re-releases, including the band’s original demo tape? Don’t mind if we do.

Congratulations Bikini Kill on the new label! Check it out here.



via Riot Grrrl Berlin

MOSCOW, July 20 (Reuters) – Three members of female punk group Pussy Riot who derided President Vladimir Putin in a protest in Moscow’s main cathedral had their spell in jail extended by six months on Friday in what their lawyers called a show trial dictated by the Kremlin.

The women, who have been held in pre-trial custody for almost five months, face up to seven years in jail on charges of hooliganism for storming the altar in multi-coloured masks to sing a “punk prayer” to the Virgin Mary to “Throw Putin Out!”

Pussy Riot’s brazen act was part of a protest movement against Putin’s 12-year dominance of Russia that at its peak saw 100,000 people take part in winter demonstrations in Moscow.

The Feb. 21 protest, which offended many believers in the mainly Orthodox Christian country, exposed deep divisions over the church leadership’s backing for Putin and the scale of punishment faced by the women, two of whom have young children.

Defence lawyer Mark Feigin said the court’s acquiescence to a prosecution request to hold Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich until Jan. 13, 2013, showed Russian leaders had given orders for their conviction.

“Today’s decision only proves again that our role as defendants here is a pure formality,” Feigin told reporters after the hearing, which was closed to the media.

“There is a lot of evidence that the judge will disregard justice in favour of a pre-set instructions on how to rule, which have been handed down by the authorities. They want to find them guilty… to punish them with real jail time.

“It is not a process but a judicial reprisal,” he said.

Putin and the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, are among more than 30 people Feigin and his two colleagues want to call to testify as witnesses in the trial.

After the Pussy Riot performance, Kirill said the Church was “under attack by persecutors”. The patriarch has often praised Putin and in February likened his 12-year rule to a “miracle of God”.

Though neither the president nor the patriarch is likely to testify, defence lawyers said the request pointed to those they believe were pulling strings behind the scenes.

“They are trying to make it look like an attack on Russia by some dark powers. It is just a theatre of the absurd, not a real court,” said Nikolai Polozov, another defence lawyer.


Court spokeswoman Darya Lyakh said a date would be announced on Monday for the start of the high-profile trial, which has drawn comparisons to the jailing of former oil tycoon, billionaire and Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

The Pussy Riot hearing on Friday took place in the same Moscow where Khodorkovsky’s second trial took place.

Outside, Orthodox Church faithful mingled warily with Pussy Riot backers, some of whom wore T-shirts emblazoned with the band’s trademark brightly coloured balaclavas.

A church activist read Bible passages out loud, while one of the women’s supporters unfurled a banners “Throw Putin Out!”, raising chants of “Freedom, Freedom!” before he was detained.

“Believers’ feelings are not worth a prison sentence,” read another sign held aloft, before rain dispersed the crowd.

The three women’s arrest has drawn widespread outrage among human rights groups and opposition activists already fuming over the church’s backing of Putin in a presidential election he won in March. Amnesty International has urged Russia to free the trio, criticising the severity of the response by authorities.

“The authorities have again chosen to take the toughest measures against Pussy Riot,” said Tolokonnikova’s husband, Pyotr Verzilov. He added that this would “only provoke more outcry in society and provoke more support for the girls.”

But some Orthodox believers have called for tough punishment for an act they regard as blasphemous.

“I was really upset at what happened,” said Vadim Kvyatkovsky, a member of an Orthodox Christian youth group. “This was no act of art. If it was happening anywhere else, in the street, we could discuss that, but when it is in a cathedral then it just violates our freedoms.”

Half of Muscovites surveyed this month by the Levada Center, an independent pollster, said they had negative views about the prosecution of Pussy Riot members while 36 percent said they welcomed the criminal case.


WARUM STREIKEN WIR – Informationen zum Streik iranischischer Flüchtlinge in Regensburg

Der Mensch strebt stets nach Freiheit und Gleichheit. Diese Begriffe müssen zwar unter sich ändernden Bedingungen neu definiert werden, ihre Bedeutung bleibt jedoch im Kern jedem interpretatorischen Zugriff verwehrt. Dieser unantastbare Wesensgehalt als Grundlage humanen Zusammenlebens sind die gleichen und unveräußerlichen Rechte des Menschen und die Anerkennung seiner angeborenen Würde.

Es gibt heute auf der Welt Orte, in denen die Machthaber in Politik und Wirtschaft unter Missachtung der essentiellen Rechte und Bedürfnisse der Bevölkerung und zur Erreichung von wirtschaftlichen, politischen sowie militärischen Interessen Zustände geschaffen haben, die extrem ungleich, unmenschlich und ungerecht sind. Es gibt jedoch auch immer wieder Menschen, die sich der herrschenden Elite widersetzen und für eine Verbesserung der Lebenszustände eintreten. Die Machthaber in nicht demokratisch regierten Ländern wiederum bedienen sich der Religion und diversen Ideologien, um die Opposition zu unterdrücken, wie im Iran und Syrien beobachtet werden kann. Sie greifen zu den repressivsten Maßnahmen, wie Hinrichtung, Folter, Steinigung und langjährigen Haftstrafen. In solchen Regimen und bei sich verschlechternden Bedingungen für den Freiheitskampf, bleibt Oppositionellen die verfolgt werden oftmals keine andere Wahl, als ihr Land zu verlassen. Mit dem Wunsch nach einer freien Heimat im Gepäck suchen sie in anderen Teilen der Welt Zuflucht, in denen ihr Leben nicht gefährdet ist.

Nun haben sich heute Flüchtlinge aus dem Iran, die vor Monaten ihre Heimat mit dem Wunsch nach Freiheit und Gleichheit verlassen haben um in Deutschland Zuflucht zu suchen, auf den Straßen von Regensburg versammelt, um gegen die ungerechten und unmenschlichen Bedingungen und Gesetzesregelungen zu protestieren, die in den langwierigen und zum Teil langjährigen Asylverfahren vorherrschen. Die Flüchtlinge möchten damit gegenüber der deutschen Bevölkerung zum Ausdruck bringen, dass sie sich stets für Freiheit, Gleichheit und Gerechtigkeit eingesetzt haben. Sie verstehen sich dabei als ein kleiner Teil einer sich deutschlandweit entwickelnden Kampfes, der sich für die Anerkennung der Rechte des Flüchtlinge und der Geltung der Menschenrechte für alle Bevölkerungsteile einsetzt.

Wir setzen uns insbesondere für die folgenden Gesetzesänderungen ein:

1. Abschaffung der Residenzpflicht, welche den Flüchtlingen verbietet, seinen von den Behörden ausgesuchten Aufenthaltsort zu verlassen.

2. Abschaffung der Lagerpflicht, welche dem Flüchtling verbietet, seinen Aufenthaltsort selbst auszuwählen.

3. Abschaffung des Arbeitsverbots, welche dem Flüchtling verbietet, sich eine Arbeit zu suchen und sich vom Staat finanziell unabhängig zu machen.

4. Abschaffung der Zuteilung von Essenspaketen, welche dem Flüchtling verbieten, seine Nahrung selbst auszuwählen.

5. Die Gewährung von staatlichen deutschen Sprachkursen, damit sich Flüchtlinge integrieren können.

6. Die Beschleunigung des Asylverfahrens, die heute einen langwierigen Prozess darstellen, und für den Flüchtling über Monate oder sogar Jahre hinweg ein Zustand der Unwissenheit und Unsicherheit bedeuten und ihn dadurch erheblich psychisch belasten.

Es gibt daneben auch zahlreiche weitere Regelungen, die dazu beitragen, das Leben im Asylverfahrensprozess unmenschlich und ungerecht zu gestalten.

Wir sind Menschen, und da wir unser Menschsein nich ändern können, wollen wir die unmenschlichen Zustände ändern.