Sunday, 21 November 2010
sorry i yelled
it's funny the things people bitch about. currently my serbian queer collective (including me) are yelling at each other a bit and bitching over the blasted (stage two) funding application. this is a cunt of a thing where it took me six months of emailing to get a phone interview with the people who might want to give us money. we won the privilege of filling out some excruciating forms and then after a lot more emailing and phone calling on my part we get to fill out some more bastard forms.
thing is that all of us in the collective are kind of tired, we talk a lot about sustainability these days. that's the quandry in activism - well in a lot of things - but if you push against the system and you are not willing or able to be comfortably absorbed by that system exactly how do you survive? for sure some of the independent queer fundraisers have been key in keeping us going - Behind Bars in London and Buttraker collective in amsterdam have been fucking life support for us!
so yeah today i keep staring at the question that reads 'Ideally, as a result of your work, what will the situation as described above look like five years from now? Please be concrete.'
(the situation above being the challenges - particularly homophobia- we face in beograd) and i just don't know. my energy levels are low, there's a lot to do but yeah getting up out of bed lately has been a bit much of a challenge, i have had a very bad year in terms of my health. and that might not sound too tough, but on the other side my close friend in beograd had some one threaten to kill her in the street a couple of days ago - because she is known/visible - because these fucking fascists are so pissed off about pride having gone ahead. and the irony of it is that we get mad with each other - because we can't find the time and strength and energy to be able to coordinate ourselves to meet the beuracratic deadlines.
the funder who we fight to be able to apply to, when asked about a deadline says airily 'oh just at your earliest convenience.... next week would be fine' and mentions some shit about how budgets are shifting around a lot at this time of year..so there's no guarantee of money. i try to think how best to apply what energy we have. this question of the next five years, mostly im thinking of how to get through the next week. but i do wonder, because with serbia its not so easy to write about this. what do i hope for? really? what i hope for is some real fucking resistance, some ground of coherent thought and action that can resist not only the stupidity of nationalism, homophobia, all the entrenched problems that already exist.... but something that can carry the place further than a new and shiny pride banner, and EU flag and the glossy shopping malls of capitalism.
because much as i know that i have greater freedom walking in London as a queer than i do walking in Beograd, i look around myself and the conditions of this existence and i know that this is not freedom and homophobia is not my only enemy. a vision of five years time? if some one asked me what would my vision be for the next five years in england, to be honest? im afraid... because much as i am the eternal optomist, things are not looking good.
im so proud of the people around me, happy to know the people i do who are fighting, organising, meeting, supporting, doing so much... but i don't feel good today and i do think personal safety, the nitty gritty of survival are political... and as always i have the nagging feeling of how slow, how incremental my capacities are and i wish so much i was capable of more. and not for the first time i ask myself 'what do i have time for?'.... do i have time to write the funding application so our collective can research and publish some more books? here in London what should i be doing? mostly i want to throw bricks through windows... but WHAT is going to work.
it seems ironic to be debating the rocking point between comfortability and revolution, and the internal conflicts about what level of sacrifice can be managed and what is the measure of comfort needed to live? for me currently part of that measure is looking with horror at the UN repeal of protection from execution on the grounds of sexuality, seeing the very basics of human rights brushed aside. and here in the west i feel like a little child being told i must be good and grateful because elsewhere others are starving. there is always some comparison to be made, the kind of comparison that most usually seems to go along the lines of 'be quiet, you never had it so good' ..... but we must refuse the separation, because all of this is only another means to slow and defeat our own urge towards action. to let guilt drown any creative fire. instead it is a matter of finding the strength to continue doing what we can and to try not to punish ourselves or each other for that inevitable feeling of powerlessness in never being able to do enough.
so yes dear crew - im sorry i yelled.