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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hole in the wall of an Ahmadiyya refugee camp at the Indonesian island Lombok. The children born in this camp are highly shut off from mainstream society, because their families are persecuted by bigots who consider them to be "heretics".

Hole in the wall of an Ahmadiyya refugee camp at the Indonesian island Lombok. The children born in this camp are highly shut off from mainstream society, because their families are persecuted by bigots who consider them to be “heretics”.

While a minority can be a “minority of one”, consisting of only one person, the word “minority” normally refer to minority groups. The concept of “Minority rights” normally refers exclusively to established and recognized minority groups.

Human Rights are normally individual rights. What does ”minority rights” mean, when it come to individual versus collective? Group rights can be viewed in roughly four ways:

1. The regular individual rights, with added confirmation that these rights are not invalidated because the individual belongs to a certain group.
2. The regular individual rights, with added protection against discrimination et cetera.
3. Collective rights for individual members of a group, such as individuals belonging to the group having special access to a traditional area or trade.
4. The group itself (for practical purposes meaning certain individuals who speak for the group, often without being democratically elected) having special rights over (other) individual members of the group.

The fourth kind of rights is highly problematic in may ways, and it threatens to conflict with several articles of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. Such as articles 1, 2 and 7.

Article 1.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Article 2.
“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty”

Article 7.
“All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

It is very obvious that the declaration refers to all humans as individuals, rather than as groups and categories. The first article talks about traits possessed by individuals. The second article clarifies that the rights and freedoms of the individual must not be subjected to “distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion […] or other status”. The seventh paragraph speaks against discrimination and incitement to discrimination. This article applies equally, regardless of whether those who discriminate and incite discrimination are strangers or relatives, and regardless whether they identify as belonging to a different/opposing category of people or to the same category of people as the victim.

However, viewing the individuals in a minority as individuals only can also be problematic, since they may have a hard time making their voice heard in mainstream society. A person of a minority group may want to act in a way that conforms to the minority group or in a way that conforms to mainstream society. The mainstream society may be very much more inclined to defend this individual’s right to make his own choices when he conforms to the mainstream than it is to defend his right to make the choice to conform to the minority group or to chose his own third path.

These two problems must both be handled: We should not let one of them be an excuse to ignore the other. Moving on to the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, this declaration is built on maintaining a balance. The first two articles focus squarely on protecting members of minority groups from mainstream society. If analyzed out of context, they could be read as any of the four kinds of minority protection presented above. The last sub-article mentions the right to freely communicate with other minority groups, but not the right to freely communicate with mainstream society. The third article, however, is very clear about the rights of the individual.

Article 3.
“1. Persons belonging to minorities may exercise their rights, including those set forth in the present Declaration, individually as well as in community with other members of their group, without any discrimination.
2. No disadvantage shall result for any person belonging to a minority as the consequence of the exercise or non-exercise of the rights set forth in the present Declaration.”

The first sub-article reminds us that the individual rights set forth in the UDHR and other declarations are still in effect. This is later revisited in article 4:1 and 8:2, further underscoring every individual’s equality before the law.

The first sub-article reminds us that the individual has the right to conform to their group as well as the right to NOT conform to the group. The word “exercise” is important here: it makes the choice a matter of individual actions of the individual person, rather than any “either-or” matter of “choosing sides”. To be locked out of your group would be a severe disadvantage, and thus prohibited by the declaration. To be locked into your group and away from mainstream society would be the same kind of severe disadvantage, and thus equally prohibited.

It is clear that the declaration includes the first three kinds of minority protection, but not the fourth. The group does not have any ownership over the individual, and the line is drawn before any infringement of the rights of the individual. Article 4:2 also draw another line, a line against activities that are illegal in mainstream society. This underscores that the law must be equal for all. It does not, however, give the state any loophole to disregard minority rights by criminalizing the minorities: To implement this declaration includes that you do not make or keep any laws that needlessly criminalize customs, traditions et cetera of minorities. To criminalize behavior that harm individuals is however in harmony with this declaration. When old customs conflict with human rights, the customs need to be updated so that they become compatible with the rights of the humans.

To resolve and overcome the tension between the individual level and the group level, society need to be as inclusive and neutral as possible. When the law and society at large let your gender, colour, religion, sexuality et cetera be your own business as long as you don’t harm anybody else, it becomes much easier to move back and forth between acting as a member of a group, minority or subculture and acting as a free individual in mainstream society.

Therefore, tensions within a minority group should not be ignored, but they should not be squarely blamed on the particular minority group either. Not only does tension exist within all groups. But more importantly, one of the main issues is how much freedom the mainstream society gives to individuals in minority groups.

Does it help and encourage the individuals to maintain a balance between individuality, participation in mainstream society and participation in the minority group? Or does it force the individuals to make a choice between either locking themselves into their minority groups, surrendering themselves to the group identity, or locking themselves out of their family and heritage by surrendering themselves to the mainstream society?

AtheistDeathPenalty300

Last night I read an article by David Niose in Psychology Today, claiming that the secular movement is here to stay. Over the last few decades, this movement has been building and gaining momentum, organizing itself globally. It is indeed unlikely that this movement will suddenly be gone any day soon. However, does this really mean that the movement is here to stay, permanently? Personally, I don’t think so.

First of all, a distinction must be made between secularism and the secular movement. These are not the same thing. I don’t doubt for a second that what is now called secularism is here to stay, permanently. The world will not suddenly revert itself to the dark ages. A new kind of dark age may be on the rise, I’ll return to that issue later. But first, lets have a look at why the secular movement exists.

The secular movement does not exist because a lot of people believe in freedom of thought and separation of church of state. The secular movement does not exist because a lot of people do not belong to any religion or because a lot of these people don’t believe in any higher power at all.

No.
* The secular movement exists because there are a lot of people who condemn freedom of thought, demanding that their religion becomes more or less mandatory for everyone.
* The secular movement exists because a lot of people are trying to turn democracies into theocracies and prevent theocratic countries from becoming more open and democratic.
* The secular movement exists because people keep killing and otherwise harming each other over dogma, accusing each other of blasphemy and heresy… leaving other people with an urge to scream that both sides are wrong and shouldn’t take themselves so destructively serious. Letting either side win would be horrible, and balancing them against each other would also be a bad idea.
* The secular movement exists because some people believe that everyone who doesn’t believe the exact same things that they do will be tortured in hell forever, should be tortured in hell forever. These people despise and belittle everyone except themselves, and are convinced that the universe was created by someone who share their hatred and prejudice.
* The secular movement exists because secular people gets discriminated and marginalized, even jailed and executed, in spite of being good people who are not harming anyone.
* The secular movement exists, not because some people find meaning in belief in a higher power, but because some of these people keep preaching that it is impossible to find true meaning in life in other ways.
* The secular movement exists because some people keep arguing that it should be okay to bully and discriminate as long as it is done in the name of religion.

In conclusion, the secular movement is not about secularism, and it is not about being against religion. It is about defending mankind against those who would use religion as their motivation or excuse for totalitarianism, fascism, discrimination, bigotry, imposing unwanted stupidity and prejudice on people, and so on.

Take for example Richard Dawkins, one of the most famous advocates of secularism. Before he started arguing against religion, he spent decades studying biology. I am quite certain that his secularism in itself guided him only to seek knowledge on evolution and biology. What inspired him to start crusading for secularism was not his secularism as such, but the fact that the knowledge about life was under attack by creationists. All the carefully gathered knowledge about what life is and how it works was to be pushed back, replaced with shallow dogma. The creationists were demanding that a bronze age myth should replace all the knowledge of science, or at least be given “equal time”. Not that religion and science should be given equal time in school, mind you, but that scientific knowledge and religious dogma should be given equal time in the biology class. Dawkins started to fight for secularism not just because secularism is reasonable, but because the reasonable secularism needs to be defended against those who crusade against it.

Niose argues that the secular movement is here to stay for five reasons. Their first reason is that the secular demographic won’t disappear. While correct, this argument neglect the fact that a lot of religious people support the secular movement as well. Not only does a lot of religious people believe in equality and freedom of thought, but religious people need secularism for their own protection. When religious beliefs are a private matter, religious groups are protected from each other.

The second and third agument is that the the Internet makes it easier to connect to each other, and that the secular movement is organized. Yes, this is evident. Pushing the secular movement back underground cannot be done in an open and democratic society. The development in states such as Indonesia and Egypt may still be another matter, however.

The final two arguments are that the ideas of secularism are modest rather than radical, and that secular people are finally demanding equality. These arguments are not really signs of a movement becoming permanent, but rather the signs of a movement that will last for as long as it is needed.

So, the real question is, how long will theocratism and fundamentalism continue to be a serious threat to people? How long will the secular movement still be needed? Sadly, probably for a long time. Niose proves that the theocrats will not suddenly win on walk-over, but it is not enough that those forces will not suddenly win an unexpected and easy final victory.

The secular movement is a movement for liberation, a movement for freedom. The freedom to believe whatever you want without being branded a blasphemer or heretic. The freedom to exist regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, without people being allowed to harass you and discriminate against you simply because they have decided upon the Belief that people like you are less worth than them. The freedom to argue about the facts regarding the world, and have your arguments judged by their merits rather than be dismissed or approved by the whim of a mob rule. The freedom to not have to suffer through the emotional torture of people creating hell on earth by imposing on you that you and everyone else who isn’t exactly like them deserve to be raped and tortured forever, that you will be raped and tortured forever for the crime of not being exactly the person that they decide for you that you must be.

How long will this liberation movement be needed? Probably for quite some time. As theocracy melts away in the democratic world, theocratic forces in these countries fight to fortify their oppression elsewhere. Meanwhile, dictators and oppressors of all kinds are scared of secularism, doing their best to stop the secularization. Here in Indonesia, the religious parties lose votes and relevance with each election. Meanwhile, hardline religious groups are asserting their relevance through violence, and many are afraid that there will be an islamist-backed military coup in the future.

The struggle will continue for decades to come. Maybe centuries.
Ultimately, however, it will become obsolete and fade by merging into more relevant struggles. Just like we no longer have abolitionists and suffragettes.

discourse

When people are debating a subject, there are usually two main levels. These are opinion and discourse: What we believe and how we believe it, what conclusion we argue that people should reach, and how we talk about it. Discourse is a matter of what words and phrases are used, and a matter of what meanings these words and phrases are given. How relationships between categories are constructed, and so on.

The discourse is usually more important than the opinion. Even much more important. How we think and talk about an issue determines which opinions and and voices should be taken seriously and which ones should not. It lays the ground for current and future decisions, not only regarding the issue at hand but also regarding related issues.

Sadly, it is very common that people think only about the opinions, their own and others. They don’t see the discourse, they don’t analyze it. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect them. When they accept a discourse, it will influence how they think and feel about things. It will influence not only what choices they make, but to an even larger extent what choices they will feel good about. When they reject a discourse without understanding it, they will usually lash out at the person who use that discourse. They will reject her along with her discourse. They will accuse her of being stupid, not one of us, having a hidden agenda, or whatever. In best case, they will simply frustrate themselves and each other, by keep talking past each other. Talking about the same issue, but using very different discourses. Discussing the issues this way without discussing the discourses they are using, they will never truly communicate. They will simply chant slogans and accusations at each other, each of them failing to understand what the other person truly means.

When you hang out with some people, it is very easy for you to assimilate their discourses. That you start to talk and think the same way that they do. This is a first step to assimilating their opinions as well, but more importantly it is a first step to assimilating yourself into their social circle. It is a matter of belonging to the group or making yourself an outcast. When this is done without analyzing the discourse, it often lead to people taking up discourses that are bad for them and their arguments. Discourses that go against their actual beliefs and personalities, discourses that humiliate people they care about or even themselves. The later is part of a phenomenon that I call Internalized Categorism. Its most famous form is when it happens to homosexuals. In that particular case, it is called. “internalized homophobia”

It is very important that you understand what discourses you use. When you have that understanding, you can choose what discourses to use. You can choose when to use a certain discourse, and why. While this can sometimes be used to manipulate people, it is more easily used as a means of respecting yourself and others. A tool for understanding what other people are actually saying, and a tool for making it easier for them to understand you.

Take for example the issue of The Meaning Of Life. When I recently wrote about this subject, I defined “life” as “the actual lives that we are actually living” and “the actual biosphere that we are actually a part of”. I didn’t clarify this definition, but I think it was quite obvious from context that these are the definitions I used.

Using this definition, I presented belief in a higher power as one of the four ways you can find meaning in life. But what if you want life without God to be meaningless? What if your purpose is to recruit as many as possible to your own religion, or to feel better about yourself at the expense of people who don’t share your beliefs? In that case, you need a different definition of “life”! This problem is easy to solve: Simply redefine the word “life” into meaning “creation”. Suddenly the question about “the meaning of life” no longer mean “What is the meaning of the actual lives we actually live?”, and instead mean “What is the meaning of the creation of the universe?”.

As long as you get people to accept this discourse, you can easily prove to them that life cannot possibly be meaningful unless the-universe-and-thus-life was created by a higher power who did so for a conscious purpose. There is no room for the position that “while the first self-replicating amino acids didn’t have any meaning, thinking and feeling human beings do have meaning”. Congratulations: With this discourse, you have built “agree with my beliefs, or despair” into the very language.

Yesterday I had a conversation with a man who had accepted this discourse. Interestingly enough, he wasn’t religious. Instead, he argued that science has proven life to be meaningless. He didn’t actually mean that the lives we are living are bleak and meaningless, much less that we should all suicide because he’s not a Christian. But he sure made it sound that way. By using the discourse of theism-is-the-only-possible-answer, he made a very bad case for himself and for the science that he’s actually in favor of.

Since his arguments didn’t seem to make any sense, I switched from discussing the issue to discussing the discourse. Thus I got him to tell me that yes, this was the definition of “life” he was using. When I replied that he shouldn’t use that definition of life, he got angry and asked if I think that my semantics are the only true semantics.

Well, no. Different discourses are good for different purposes. His discourse is not good for understanding, and it is not good for making a convincing argument for his actual opinion. It is only good for establishing the supremacy of a belief that he does not share. That’s why I think it would be a better choice for him to switch to a different discourse. I hope he will listen to this, and start thinking about his discourse.

Another example, a few weeks ago. A woman who belong to a certain minority group made an online diary post about cooperation with a different but related minority group. She had been in some debates with people who belong to the other group and dislikes the group that she belongs to. She had internalized some of their discourse: In her blog post, she talked about her own group as if they were inherently inferior to the other group, and as if attempts to participate in the same festivals as the other group should be regarded as “infiltration”. Of course, she doesn’t actually believe that her own group is inferior. But that’s what some people thought when they read her post, and they got very angry at her. She had meant well, yet she got a swarm of personal attacks from people in her own group. She hadn’t thought about the discourse she was using, and neither did the people who attacked her – they acted on instinct, feeling that there was something horrible with her.

In this case, they had good reason to criticize her although it would have been far better if they had managed to analyze the discourse so they would have been able to give her constructive criticism instead of attacks.

In other cases, however… The violent reaction she got, it is very easy to get the same reaction whenever you challenge people’s prejudices and bigotries. It is so easy to feel revulsion over someone’s discourse, and lash out. Challenging your own world-view is hard, deciding that there is something horribly wrong with the person who challenge it is much easier.

Without analyzing the discourse, it becomes very much harder to see why you instinctively dislike someone else’s discourse. Whether the discourse is trying to trap you in a narrow perspective or on the contrary tries to give you a more nuanced understanding.

Get to know your discourses.
Start analyzing.

bigfamilyandbatmanv2

På sistone har den gamla debatten om äktenskap mellan fler än två personer blossat upp igen. Detta är en debatt som lär komma tillbaka fler gånger, men som det också lär dröja länge innan problemen på allvar blir lösta.

I debatten finns två återkommande bilder som ofta målas upp. Dessa båda bilder är radikalt olika från varandra, men de är ändå sanna båda två.

Å ena sidan har vi fria polyamorösa familjer där tre eller flera personer lever i en konstellation baserad på frihet och ömsesidig respekt. Ingen är pressad eller tvingad att delta. Inte av en partner, inte av familj och församling, inte av ekonomiska omständigheter.

Å andra sidan har vi patriarkala familjer där en man anses ha rätt att äga flera kvinnor, av den enkla anledningen att en kvinna helt enkelt inte är lika mycket värd som en man. Detta rör sig vanligtvis inte om regelrätta tvångsäktenskap med kidnappning och våldtäkt och allt det där. I stället rör det sig om socialt tryck, indoktrinering. I den mån det alls förekommer några hot är dessa vanligtvis underförstådda och outtalade, vilket gör det helt omöjliga att göra rättsak av.

Båda bilderna är sanna, båda typerna av familjer förekommer i verkligheten. Ordet polyamori/polyamorös används just för att slippa bli sammanblandade med patriarkal polygyni/polygami. Tyvärr tycks många debattörer välja en enda bild och bestämma sig för att den är den enda som räknas. Utsattheten hos de som inte passar in i bilden avfärdas med en axelryckning och ett “äh va dådå?”

Att inte erkänna flersamma relationer skadar vissa polyamorösa familjer. Detta är ett faktum.
Att börja erkänna flersamma relationer rakt av skulle skada kvinnor i vissa patriarkala familjer. Detta är också ett faktum.

Hur skadas en polyamorös familj?
Well, förutom det allmänna med att bli osynliggjord och inte riktigt räknas så har vi allt det där med om någon hamnar på sjukhus eller dör, och det där med om det uppstår en separation och någon hamnar i kläm. Allt det där som äktenskapslagen och sambolagen är till för att hantera. Värst av allt är att barnen kan komma i kläm.

Hur skadas en kvinna i en patriarkal familj?
Well, för det första får många fler patriarkala gubbar utrymme att börja övertala henne och hennes familj att det är dags för henne att gifta sig med just honom. Alla redan gifta gubbar blir ju plötsligt lediga, och kan ge sig ut på jakt igen. Observera att ordet “gubbe” här syftar på attityd snarare än ålder. Även en tonårskille kan vara gubbe, om han har tillräckligt konservativ kvinnosyn.

För det andra, visst förekommer det patriarkal polygami även när staten inte erkänner sådana relationer. Men att bigami är förbjudet och att inofficiella religiösa äktenskap är ogiltiga, detta är väldigt väldigt starka argument för den kvinna som vill slippa hamna i en sådan relation. Dessa argument är enkla fakta, så hon kan i allmänhet använda dem utan att stöta sig med sin familj eller religiösa församling. En församling som vänder ryggen åt sådana argument vänder också ryggen åt samhället, den sätter sig själv i rollen av knäpp sekt som medlemmarna bör få hjälp med att hoppa av från. Om samhället börjar normalisera deras beteende blir det i stället kvinnan som får bära skammen av att vara en dålig och motsträvig dotter.

För det tredje, låt säga att en gift kvinna kommer från en patriarkal familj och en patriarkal religiös församling. Hon vill inte skilja sig. Kanske älskar hon sin make, kanske handlar det mest om ekonomiskt beroende, stockholmssyndrom eller barnens bästa. Eller helt enkelt att slippa den förkrossande skam som en skilsmässa skulle innebära. Om hennes man tar sig en ny kvinna, då är det ju han som är otrogen. Han är ju redan gift. Lagen låter honom inte ta sig en till. Men om lagen tillåter månggifte… Då är det ju bara för honom at gifta sig med den andra kvinnan också, så är problemet löst. Att den första hustrun blir olycklig är väl skit samma? Hon är ju bara en kvinna, eller hur? Och om hon vägrar låta maken gifta sig med sig nya flickvän, då är det ju hon själv som drar skam över familjen genom att göra honom otrogen: Det är ju hennes vägran att låta dem gifta sig som gör relationen till otrohet.

En av mina muslimska vänner här i Indonesien växte upp i en sådan familjesituation. Familjen bestod av man och hustru, plus mannens son och hustruns dotter. Sedan skaffade mannen sig en flickvän vid sidan av. Hustrun var förkrossad, och ville att han skulle göra slut med flickvännen. Men han vägrade, så hustrun hade inget annat val än att bönfalla honom att gifta sig med den andra kvinnan också, så att han åtminstone inte skulle dra mer skam över familjen genom att bedriva otukt. Sex utanför äktenskapet drar som bekant skam över hela familjen, och hustrun torde vara den som folk hade föraktat mest. Så han gifte sig med sin flickvän också, hade två hustrur ett tag. Sen började han utsätta den första hustruns dotter för misshandel och sexuella övergrepp. Vilket både hustrun och dottern hade blivit socialt straffade för om det hade kommit ut. I slutändan blev den första hustrun tvungen att ta ut skilsmässa, och fick bära skammen för det också.

I en av de nätdebatter jag deltog i fick förslaget om att införa månggifte stöd av en svensk man i övre medelåldern:

“Själv skulle jag vilja se en möjlighet att definiera samhällets minsta beståndsdel, inte som individen, utan som just en registrerad grupp av vuxna. Många människor som har sina rätter i andra kulturer, men som lever här, stöter på patrull för att t ex arbetstider, semester, inkomster, pensioner, skatter och olika skyldigheter och rättigheter är knutna till enskilda fysiska personer och inte till en grupp. För att få integrationen att fungera bättre borde man ta fasta på andra kulturers sätt att leva fast de finns i Sverige. “

Mannen i fråga torde inte vara ensam om denna åsikt. Tvärtom uttrycker han kärnan i alla ultrakonservativas människosyn, kvinnosyn och samhällssyn: Samhället bör sluta erkänna att individen existerar, i stället skall samhällets minsta enhet utgöras av “den lilla familjen”. Utifrån denna grundsyn slipper vi bli upprörda över det som min vän och hennes mor blev utsatta för. Det hände ju aldrig: De drabbade var bara individer, och individer existerar inte. I stället bör vi uppröras över att hustrun skadade familjen genom att ta ut skilsmässa. Tack och lov är denna grundsyn på utdöende i västvärlden – dess starkaste försvar är att hänvisa till “att respektera andra kulturers sätt att leva”. Lyckligtvis är grundsynen i fråga på tillbakagång i resten av världen också, trots kraftigt motstånd från konservativa grupper – såväl kristna som muslimska och sekulära.

De konservativa som har denna grundsyn menar i allmänhet inget illa. De vill inte erkänna, ens för sig själva, hur destruktiv deras synsätt är för alla som av en eller annan orsak inte passar in i familjeidyllen. Till exempel alla som är kvinnor eller barn, vars familjefader och tillika familjeöverhuvud råkar vara lite mindre idyllisk än vad man hade kunnat önska.

I Svenska Dagbladet skriver den muslimska feministen Bahareh Mohammadi Andersson om att månggifte skulle gynna religiösa fanatiker och om hur muslimska feminister lever under dödshot i dagens Sverige. I en twitterkonversation jag nyss deltog i möttes detta med kompakt oförstående från välmenande polyaktivister. Privilegierade svenskar som tycktes tycka “men det där handlar ju om religiösa människor, så vad har det med oss och vår kamp att göra?” Flera av debattörerna konstaterade att tvångsgifte är hemskt oavsett om det är monogamt eller polygamt. Denna sanning innebär dock inte att en relation antingen är tvång och våldtäkt eller fri och oproblematisk. Det finns gott om komplicerade gråskalor. Och även om frågan om tvång är separat från frågan om månggifte så är frågorna länkade till varandra.

Samtidigt kan jag förstå polyaktivisternas frustration. Att avfärda deras behov med ett slappt “jamen tänk på invandrarkvinnorna” är orättvist det också. Detta även om man bortser från det självklara faktumet att en del av de som lever i justa polyamorösa relationer är just invandrarkvinnor, medan en del av de som utsätts för patriarkalt förtryck är helsvenska kvinnor vars helsvenska män tillämpar någon riktigt mossigt gammaldags helsvensk variant av kristendom eller svensk nationalism.

Nej. Vi måste öppna dörrar för polyamorösa relationer utan att samtidigt öppna dörrar för patriarkalt förtryck. Detta kräver eftertanke och försiktighet, inte att svepande teoretiska konstruktioner med frejdig exprimentlusta dumpas direkt in i svensk lagstiftning.

Mitt förslag är att vi väntar med äktenskapsfrågan och fokuserar på barnen. Polyamorösa, regnbågsfamiljer, stjärnfamiljer, många barn växer i praktiken upp med fler än två vårdnadshavare. Redan nu kan två personer vara vårdnadshavare utan att vara gifta, och det är norm att båda föräldrarna behåller vårdanden efter en skiljsmässa. Kanske är det dags för mer avancerade system, mer mer än två juridiska vårdnadshavare. Detta borde även kunna stärka kvinnorna i patriarkala polygama relationer, utan att för den skull legitimera polygamin som sådan. Väl värt en utredning, och jag har för mig att jag hört ett rykte om att socialstyrelsen redan har börjat intressera sig för detta. Vore bra i så fall.

Låt oss föra en kamp för polyamorösa och en kamp mot patriarkalt förtryck. Låt oss föra dessa kamper framåt ett steg i taget. De behöver inte krocka med varandra eller ställas mot varandra, de kan gå hand i hand.

Sunrise over Lake Toba, Sumatra

Sunrise over Lake Toba, Sumatra

Another year has ended. Well, two weeks ago. I have been busy traveling Indonesia with friends, so this blog post is a bit late. New Years Eve was awesome. We had spent the day in Yogyakarta, a kingdom that is still ruled by it’s Sultan in spite of being a part of the democratic nation Indonesia. As the plane descended towards Jakarta, we could see the early fireworks from above.

After dropping off our bags at home we had to make a choice. Either go out on the main streets, where a big party for the entire population was being held. Or go down to the park on the fifth floor and watch the fireworks from there. The later option had amazing view over the fireworks, and didn’t require us to walk anywhere. Thus we ended up there, and got to see how the entire sky lighted up with fireworks. I have never seen New Years Eve in a metropolis before, not like this. A wonderful way to start the new year. (New Years Eve in New York, almost two decades ago, was fun as well. But in very different ways.) Two days later, we moved on to the island of Sumatra.

2012 has been a quite intense year for me. The second half of it, that is. The first half was the same old usual, working a bit while studying. In August, however, I left Sweden for Southeast Asia. Started this blog on the very same day, wrote my first real post as I was waiting for the plane that would take me from my home country.

A few weeks later the blog switched language from Swedish to English, and switched focus from being an electronic postcard about my life and travels to being mostly about my thoughts on human rights and social science. My goals here are quite simple. To write down my thoughts. Not as a manuscript with a specified target audience, but as a work in progress and as as a basis for discussions with some of my friends. It is written for whoever finds it interesting.

So far, my visitors have logged in from 33 different countries spread over all continents. Sweden and Indonesia tops the statistics by far, no big surprise there. Getting some people from elsewhere as well was a pleasant surprise that really shouldn’t have been any surprise at all. The world is shrinking, and the issues that interest me are global.

In a way, this blog is the biggest problem in my life right now. But it is a good kind of problem. There is so much I want to write about, and time is short. And that’s in spite of hardly writing anything at all about my personal life. So much has happened over these months. The people I have met, the places I have seen, the situations I have encountered… Some of it I prefer to tell about face to face only, and some of it not at all. Some things will come into writing later, usually in very anonymized form.

One problem is that many experiences cannot truly be reduced to text. Another problem is that culture is not about what people actually believe and how they actually behave. Instead it is about what they are coerced into pretending to believe, and about how they must be seen to behave unless they are ready to face the consequences. The stricter the social pressure is, the more absurd the theater becomes.

The main thing I have seen here in Indonesia is that we, the population of the world, do not consist of different peoples. Only people who wear different masks and who are pushed into different allegiances. Culture is an overlapping mesh that covers us all to various extents, not a set of monolithic pillars that make us stand apart. Those who would divide us may invoke culture or race or whatever, but an argument is not valid simply by the virtue of getting used a lot.

2013. New year. I have two plans for it. One is to finish my master thesis in Human Rights Studies. The other is to expand this blog. I will split it into one English only blog and one Swedish only blog. I also plan to start videoblogging. That will also be split by language, into two separate youtube channels. While the written blog will still be about expanding my ideas, the video blogs will be more about explaining them. Perhaps also entertaining a bit. Finally, a little wiki to catalogue concepts that I use, things that I write, and so on. I think it will be a convenient format to keep track of the various posts and clips and such, so it’s all easily accessible from the main site.

The master thesis and the blog are both about expanding and expressing my system of thought. So this will really be my singular focus for the year. I actively plan to not work very much on the side. Bad for my short-term economy as that may be, I really can’t afford the distraction right now. Having to cut back on work I actually get paid for, I must also cut back on my volunteer work and social life. The thesis must come first, while the blogging is included as being part of the same mental process.

Going to be tough, but well worth it. All in all, I’m really looking forward to this year.