The Cleopatra Tales 1: Divine Union – Hieros Gamos

The Cleopatra Tales 1: Divine Union – Hieros Gamos

drowning wifflegif com

To blooming woman

To blooming woman

28 March 2016

faith youtube com
Courtesy youtube.com

 

Magical

Twirling into world

Reborn blue

Stirred anew

Discover your inner shades

Walk between the blades

 

You are breath

Inscribed in divine

Beating heart

Birthing womb

Of all spate you are the tomb

Restless their questions

 

Hear the call

To blooming woman

Answer shine

Build the shrine

The Edge of Humanity

Achieving balance

 

Reading of the poem: 

flower wallpippo com
Courtesy wallpippo.com

Waltz of the Roses – Eugen Doga

Jerusalem’s lost Ark wind

Jerusalem’s lost Ark wind

16 November 2015

Stairway weary for pitcher Thomasz Alen Copera (2)
Courtesy Thomasz Alen Copera

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Swollen Polygon

My Heart shaped Geometry

On which side to draw

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Numbers dance hidden

Chance law of art’s memory

Fear outcome curse fades

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Loved ones’ blood flesh tears

Angry steel violence clinch

Evening rain, fragile fall

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Women dancing star

Wash sadness from soldiers’ eyes

Stone faces missing

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Invisible ones

Scream loud, torture unsaid sing

Own freedom bitter

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world deviantart com discovery_of_a_new_world_by_noize_b
Courtesy noize on deviantart.com

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Dead dance supports graves

Mother dancing wages joy

Foreign laugh anguish

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stairway distribute yamdallah blogspot com
Courtesy yamdallah.blogspot.com

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Humble Pi curve Arc

Kingdoms cover in bell shape

Secluded valleys

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Protect victories

King’s vanity broken works

Lost ancient city

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Build Ocean’s Rainbows

Jerusalem’s lost Ark wind

April’s histories

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Moon ruins footstep

Dried ambition dust prison

Desert life over

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Stop man’s Dominions

Love fall’s million stars

Distant planet’s fog

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trail deviantart com seashell_and_pearl_by_yangtianli-d5a92il
Courtesy yangtianli on deviantart.com

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Shape of my Heart – Sting

Fragile – Sting

They Dance Alone – Sting

Lost without You – Sting

Shattering Rape’s stones

Shattering Rape’s stones

12 October 2015

rape-victim-stoned sodahead com
Courtesy sodahead.com – In some countries, women who have been victims of rape can be stoned to death or lashed

Yesterday for the first time in a very long while, I sat and thought about rape again which ghostly presence had never quite left the scene as far as I was concerned. One can mainly think about rape against women because rape of male members of the society are less frequent although in some countries they too occur with almost as much frequency as for women. My concern, for now, dwells with rape perpetrated against women.

A friend had brought back to memory this skeleton by sharing a TedX talk by Sunitha Krishnan and a more personal recent event that I choose not to dwell upon at this point in time made the talk much more vivid than I would have liked.

It occurred to me that we all tiptoe around the subject most of the time without giving it its right share of clear and informative attention and for once it was heartening to watch again this talk, what one could call a real “Hard talk” no frills included, about a subject that is too quickly swept under the carpet. What is more surprising than the fact that this subject is usually kept under covers is the expediency that it is dealt with as compared to the effect it retains within the lives of those that it affects and the permanence it holds in the brains and the subsequent behavioural framework of the remaining “spectators” who more often than not become an extension of the perpetrator’s vilifying of the affected person.

Of late, it would even seem that this matter has almost reached a consensus of normality within society whereby the person should have suffered extreme atrocities together with the act itself for anyone whether media or other members of the society to take note of it – whatever their active or passive role (policemen, judges, caretakers, social workers, friends, neighbours, chasers of thrill-cum-horror stories or mere passer-bys).

There was the horrifying case of Nirbhaya which brought more than just a nation together and shortly after that the case of several women raped and hanged in India: two women raped and hanged in May 2014 (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/29/world/asia/india-gang-rape/index.html ) and shortly after that another woman found raped and hanged in June 2014 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27790901) before another four women raped and hanged in Uttar Pradesh in June 2014 (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-27807542) and one woman in Pakistan end June 2014 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2664421/Pakistani-woman-20-gang-raped-killed-hanged-tree-say-police.html).

Other than these sadly prominent cases, rape it seems has cloaked itself with normality as far as the act itself is concerned and the reaction to its perpetrators with regards to society’s attitude towards it. What is distressing in comparison is the lack of normality with which society as a whole deals with the affected person. Usually, the person is asked to keep hushed about the subject, most of the time not even to report it and little is done with the aftermaths of the incident which most people around would just ask the person to forget if not forgive. Sometimes, the person is ostracised to an extreme point not being able to attend school or get a job with the even worse cases of a totally ruined personal life where the husband (if any) shuns her or no person accepts to be involved in a binding relationship such as a marriage with her in future. Most of the time, it is to avoid being ostracised that women are asked not to speak about the incident and not to report it to authorities.

This attitude of ostracising the raped person is even more pronounced in traditional areas where people are not comfortable talking about rape or, even worse, people actually believe (sometimes not clearly but with just the impression at the back of their mind) that a woman can only have been raped if she somehow “brought it upon herself” either by collaborating actively with the perpetrator or by creating the circumstances that allow the incident to unfold. One example of “deemed collaboration” is the infamous case of dismissed rape where the Italian Supreme Court overturned a 1992 rape conviction involving a 45-year-old driving instructor and an 18-year-old student under the assumption that the young girl could not have been raped as she was wearing tight jeans and would have had to remove them herself implying consensual sex. As for “permissive circumstances”, it is evidenced by the number of people who believe that a person scantily clothed or who had a drink too much invited the rape or “asked for it” as they usually coin it,– seemingly and this is actually appalling, 65% of Brazilians according to a research undertaken in collaboration with UN Women’s Brazil branch).

To further understand the misconceptions surrounding rape, I would like to direct people who have made it reading this far to an interesting article albeit not really complete about the myths and truths of rape which is quite simple and easy to read. I hope that it will shed some light on the myths that must be fought if we want to replace rape in its right context, that of a crime against a person who was neither “asking for it” nor collaborating with the perpetrator http://rapecrisis.org.za/rape-in-south-africa/myths-stereotypes-about-rape/

Fortunately, in most cases where there is extreme unfairness and violence, society – at least the ones where its members are not living like in the dark ages – would manifest a degree of solidarity towards the affected person. This is how for example Denim Day was established in 1999 as a global protest against the 1992 ruling of the Italian Supreme Court which had overturned the 1992 rape conviction. This is also how in the aftermaths of the heinous crime against “Nirbhaya” in New Delhi as well as the successive wave of rapes and hanging of women in the State of Uttar Pradesh in India or in Pakistan, the general public was very present both in India and abroad with strikes, marches and other manifestations of anger and support, such that laws were made to change in order to further protect women in India and strengthen the existing protective measures within the country.

Unfortunately, this striving to re-establish a sense of equity by either helping the persons affected by rape immediately after the incident or by ensuring that the victims of rape who have succumbed following the incident have not died in vain – insofar that measures are put in place to avoid similar incidents happening – is simply not enough. The deeper side of the problem remains what happens to those that survive. Usually, when they have spoken out aloud, their life never stays the same. Slowly, they start being side-lined out of their usual circles if they are not completely ostracised and even where there is compelling evidence that the woman in question was not at fault, most people seem to keep the underlying assumption that somehow she must have done something wrong for such a thing to happen. Worse still, there are members of society who though knowing that the woman was absolutely not at fault still prefer not having her at home, in their workplaces, or even not being in contact with her at all. More than the jittery and totally superstitious attitude of some who think that the person must be jinxed for such a thing to happen to her if she did not “ask for it” there is the attitude of those who consider themselves too pure and pristine to be involved with someone who is considered stained, tarnished, not fit for evolving in a decent society because she has been subjected to something somehow indecent, unacceptable, unforgettable, unforgivable.

These attitudes are like little or sometimes large stones that we throw at the affected persons or make them carry, throughout their lives sometimes. “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone” said the consciousness of Love or Christ consciousness about another case where a woman was being badgered. I say let she or he who has sinned or not by endorsing the vilifying attitude or by ignoring it shatter the first stone. Let us all shatter rape’s stones; both the ones thrown at the affected person and the ones we burden them with during a lifetime.

It is time for society as a whole to recognise its role in such incidents. It is time for men to start endorsing their responsibility in building this framework where it is legit for violence to be committed against a woman. It is time mainly for us women to awaken to our shared responsibility in such happenings. We are the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters of those who potentially could rape or effectively have raped a woman. It is our responsibility to make sure that the environment we bathe our men in is void of anything encouraging or legitimising any bad feelings or inclination to violence towards women. Indeed, in reality, most of the rape cases are not a case of sexual desire towards a woman gone awry. In most cases, it is a question of power over the woman, an expression of a loathing towards women in general or a woman in particular because of a feeling of anger, bitterness or hatred bred throughout the years.

Unfortunately, many mothers fail in this responsibility as they teach on a daily basis – with so many little nothings that then build to a monstrous something – that a woman’s value is much less than that of a man, that a man’s needs are defined as compellingly superior to a woman’s needs, that a woman should be subservient and that no matter what happens she must have done something wrong, that she must obey against her better instincts, against her better interests. In traditional environments, women who seek the help of their male offspring to “tame” and make subservient the female offspring are already building the future rapists, those who hold in them the potential of gratuitous violence against women because they are taught to think that it is legit, that it is endorsed even by the women themselves as this attitude is upheld from a young age by the doting and so unenlightened mothers.

Personally I have been trying to do my best with my two boys and have raised them with the ingrained belief that men and women are equal and that one should only do to another what one would not mind doing to oneself and vice versa. In a symmetrical way, I have explained to my daughter the dangers that lie out there, the need for protection and the requirement to use one’s better judgement because unfortunately this crime is becoming more and more of a normalised matter in society. I have even used my own case in point as an example to ensure that the matter is understood as a reality touching potentially any rank and type of family in society and not a theoretical danger that is far removed from its effective happening or limited to the poorer families.

Above all, I tell those who have come to me with their secret confession of being a rape “victim” as I would like to keep telling other women again and again: we are not victims, we are not survivors, we are women. Nothing differentiates us from any other woman out there. What happened might have left a temporary or more lasting hurt or imprint on the body but we are not and cannot be defined by that, we rise beyond that to reintegrate in time what we were originally and all that is left of the perpetrator is a ghost and in time even that ghost disappears. We will not be victims, we will not be mere survivors, we are all else that we choose to be whether with society’s support or without it. Wherever our gaze wishes to go, expect us. Get used to us, get used to our strength. We are.

rape rhrealitycheck org
Courtesy rhrealitycheck.org

Society as a whole including its corporate and political structure has a responsibility towards women and the future generation

Society as a whole including its corporate and political structure has a responsibility towards women and the future generation

19 August 2015

Courtesy huffingtonpost.com - Karen does it all
Courtesy huffingtonpost.com – Karen does it all

A while ago my caretaker had to bring her son home as he was slightly ill and with her limited means she could of course not afford paying a nanny to keep her son and the kindergarten would not take her son as long as he was ill. We had therefore agreed that she could bring him to my house and he would sit in my younger son’s room playing with his toys while she tended to her duties at my house. I had many things that needed to be tended to and found that her son was competing with me for her attention which got me slightly irritated initially. I quickly put myself on check, however, as I remembered how I would have loved – as a young mother – to be able to tend to my sick children or at least have an appropriate structure where I could check on them instead of leaving them alone with a chance nanny from the red crescent (as was the usage in Geneva at the time when the usual kindergartens refused your sick children).

Now why do I recount this anecdote to you? Not to do my “mea culpa” only although I did feel guilty at the time to have had that moment of irritation but to spur thoughts on the wider phenomenon that women face in their daily lives.

It is a fact that is undeniable today. Women are and need to be in the workplace. This is not a debate about whether women should stay at home and accept what can often be a social stigma of being simply a “homemaker” (often uttered with some contempt and perhaps an unconscious undertone of envy by women when meeting socially the “homemaker”) or whether they should embrace fully a career and let go of their households to be run by nannies nor even is it a plea to women to attempt alone to balance both lives harmoniously.

Indeed, this is simply not possible for women to do alone anymore. I have heard countless stories of feelings of abandonment, of hopelessness and of inadequacy from women whom I believed from the outside to be successful career women while running a household adequately for their families. I myself struggled at onset of my career with a very hostile and male dominated environment (in Geneva of all places!) as I toiled and cared alternating my attention between my work, my master of Science studies at the Geneva University and my two children that then became three. In doing this, not only was I not aided by some of my employers but in fact I was even stigmatised because of being a working mother who wanted to balance both.

During my time at Arthur Andersen for example I was sacked in December 1997because I wanted to make use of the policy which granted two additional months for breastfeeding to young mothers but my boss of the time felt (and told me so in advance) that I should not use the policy because it was a mistake in translation between the German policy that was spelt out by Zurich and the French version in Geneva where maternity fortuitously got included as illness. Despite having filed a claim for damages at the Prudhommes (court for compensation of employees who have been abusively dismissed) and proving that I was always a good employee and kept getting increments over the years of my work there but got dismissed summarily merely 9 days after sending a letter to HR with a breastfeeding certificate and mentioning that I would be making use of my extra two months of breastfeeding leave instead of coming back to the office after my two months of maternity leave, the Court ruled that there was no abusive dismissal. Later on more similar cases came to light but they were quickly smothered as Arthur Andersen was a giant at the time and after my claim HR circulated internally a memo to all employees asking them to sign off on the new translation of the Employee sickness leave policy. Needless to say I shed no tears when Arthur Anderson split apart after the Enron scandal.

This was not an isolated event in my career while always attempting to juggle between my work and my family responsibilities and in 2004 in connection with my second son and third child I had some unpleasant incidents with PricewaterhouseCoopers as well. My boss of the time had called me when I broke the “not so good news” to him and asked me how come I was having a third. He and the other partner had indeed asked me at my initial interview whether I intended to have another child before they hired me and I had honestly said that I did not intend to. Fortunately (but unfortunately on the professional level), I had my unexpected and unplanned third pregnancy and upon returning to the office what was my surprise to have my boss, the partner of the Geneva office and the Swiss-wide Zurich based partner of the practice meet me at my office and suggest to me not so delicately having a tubal ligation myself or encouraging my husband to undergo a vasectomy. The Zurich partner even volunteered to meet my husband and explain to him that this was not a painful procedure as he had undergone it himself and he then started explaining to me the actual procedure. After that humiliating incident I was also subject to taunts from my boss and his second in command as I was working “part-time” as they labelled it simply because I was again using an employee policy for breastfeeding which allowed a one-hour diminishing of the working hours for breastfeeding one’s child. I was therefore working 7 hours instead of the official 8 during the two months after my maternity leave but given that they were used to me working 10 hours or more before in order to sustain the rhythm of work at my level within the firm they believed I was now doing part-time while getting a full-time salary. That year and although I had been promised a promotion beforehand, I did not get the promotion and my evaluation took place as a very hostile encounter so it was clear that it was simply because my superiors believed that I had breached their trust and become a bad employee because I was trying to get some work life balance and making use of policies that officially granted rights to mothers within the workplace.

I am not recounting the above to get any commiseration from anyone nor even to muster all wrath at my previous employers but simply to point out the difficulties that women face in the workplace and I consider myself to have been a specially tough cookie to have been able to go through all of that and still make it as a mother and as a somewhat successful woman at work. In fact, as I recount this, I can already mentally calculate the number of ill-advised and socially irresponsible employers who are going to put me on their blacklist making sure that I never will become one of their employees even though I am no longer of the age to have children anymore. There is a professional stigma that goes with speaking out the truth about a previous employer even if it is to further a good cause such as promoting the cause of women in the workplace. Like with the mafia, there is a silent promise, an Omerta, that is maintained by employees and encouraged by employers to not speak about bad practices within the industry although it actually disserves the industry as a whole. The strength of this Omerta within a company allows to determine what kind of a company you are/have been working for. In fact, it actually showcases which are the truly enlightened and good employers and which are the bad ones because the truly good employers will always want to have someone who speaks up against bad policies while the bad employers will have problems with that because they simply would want to sweep the dirt under the rug so to speak. Worse still, some HR professionals have the bad taste of bad mouthing outspoken employees who point out bad practices within the organisation and sometimes even after they have left the organisation. Of course they would never mention the bad practices nor the fact that the employee in question spoke out on those bad practices but will simply create a rumour against that employee to discredit him/her.

Returning to the case in point, my case which I know and can talk about in detail is not an isolated one. There are countless women who battle every day in order to bring some balance or semblance of balance in their juggling of household and work responsibilities and for some it is a battle that is so exhausting that the result is either depression, burn-out or simply the choice of leaving the one or the other responsibility. More often than not, women naturally leave the work responsibility out when they can afford to do so. Social studies have come to recognise these undercurrents that cause women to drop out of the workforce and thereby deprive society of some very capable or even sometimes brilliant minds but the voices of those pointing this out are often drowned by the thunders of the waves of supporters of the all-time profit theory.

One might think that this talk is outdated and not applicable anymore but it actually is not. The more I speak with young women today the more I realise that the reality of this hostile landscape has not changed. In some cultures it has become just more subterranean and in others women suffer through it without uttering a word and then simply falling out of the workforce or falling out of the marriage because of the lack of support whether physical or moral from their spouses.

It is a sad reality that we are faced with still today. The workplace has failed women who often give their best years before they are faced by the dilemma arising from their motherhood and either fall out of the workplace or simply suffer through an unhappy existence both at work and at home.

This reality has to change on a deeper level than just assuming that it is for the spouse to help out and ensure that women are able to attain some sort of work-life balance. The responsibility lies not just with corporate entities but also with government bodies and society as a whole including its social framework put in place for assisting women at work.

My personal belief is that the right step towards ensuring a more balanced society and enabling women to achieve this work-life balance would start on many levels:

  • On the corporate entities’ level, there has to be an oversight system in place to ensure within the corporate governance of the entities that employee policies are actually being implemented properly and that gender discrimination is not merely a shining leitmotiv hung on the entities’ armouries but that it is an actual daily reality that the female workforce feel confident they can rely upon. Other than that, it would be most adequate and actually an incentive to make working mothers more productive if day care centres were systematically provided by the employer (if possible at reduced costs) within or nearby the premises of their workforce. Some employers do this and they should be lauded for this initiative which actually rewards them on the long term and sometimes even on the short and medium terms.
  • On the social framework level, consolidated structures would need to be put in place to ensure appropriate care is taken for the odd events in the life of a working woman such as day care that actually ensures a proper follow-up of sick children. Geneva has such a system through the red crescent although it is not the best one as there is no consistency in the quality of the persons sent nor is it possible to have the same person for the same neighbourhood to ensure the child in question does not have to face the fear of an unfamiliar face and the mother does not need to worry about whether good care will be provided to her child while she works. What is also lacking is the systematic introduction of a hotline that working mothers could resort to in order to get advice, tips on how to manage their responsibilities better or simply to have someone to talk to when they are feeling let down and helpless
  • On the government level, it is obvious that a more stringent legislation has to be put in place both on the positive side encouraging or even making mandatory employee policies that allow a humane environment for working mothers while maintaining the possibility for them to also have access to their rightly deserved promotions and on the negative side by punishing those corporate entities that have totem policies that they don’t encourage following on a practical level for women or perhaps – even worse – discourage implicitly their female workforce from having recourse to.
  • On the society’s level, a major point that would need to be considered is the stigmatisation of either of the homemaker or the career woman. Society needs to stop blaming the one or the other and making women feel miserable and caught in the “damned if you do damned if you don’t” spiral. Other minor points would be for example by encouraging working mothers who succeed and praising the outcome of their efforts or just a more supportive attitude towards colleagues who are working mothers instead of the raising of the eyebrows and hushed talks each time a woman simply has to tend to some unexpected emergency such as having to rush to school because her child was hurt/sick or to speak over the phone to check in on a sick child at home with an unfamiliar nanny he/she was scared of.
  • On the collective media cum regulatory level, it would be important to have a measure and be able to track indices that consistently showcase which employers are good employers enabling a proper integrating of working mothers within their ranks and which are the “bad” employers. Such indices could then be used within the criterion of being a Socially Responsible Employer. Investors would then have the choice of supporting or not a given entity based on its index of Social Responsibility that includes the vital data on the treatment of working mothers.

To finish on this, I would like to share a very poignant clip which to me just magnifies the symbolism of the bond of motherhood and the sense of sacrifice that is engrained in almost all women when it concerns their children. Too bad that society is more often than not reluctant to reward or even identify those sacrifices.

Meanwhile, while the wheels of change turn grimacing and clanking women continue to suffer in countless ways and have to make inhuman sacrifices in order to adapt to a workplace that continuously refuses to make the appropriate reforms to integrate them successfully.

At this point I would be inclined to say that current system as a whole has failed and continues to consistently fail women and thereby the next generation via this failure. As we see an aging European population and a young population elsewhere (mainly in third world countries), we realise that if the problem of women in the workplace is not solved adequately as a priority society as a whole will lose out and this will include the corporate profits aspect. Indeed, how could a society evolve and be profitable and successful if half of it is crippled by a reality that is simply not willing to allow it to start walking properly? The time has truly come for a change and hopefully the world is ready for that change. God knows that women have been long ready and waiting for it.

Meanwhile, while the wheels of change turn grimacing and clanking women continue to suffer in countless ways and have to make inhuman sacrifices in order to adapt to a workplace that continuously refuses to make the appropriate reforms to integrate them successfully.

To finish on this, I would like to share a very poignant clip which to me just magnifies the symbolism of the bond of motherhood and the sense of sacrifice that is engrained in almost all women when it concerns their children. Too bad that society is more often than not reluctant to reward or even identify those sacrifices.

I see fire

I see fire

17-18 March 2015

 

fire1

 

Fire’s embers burnt

Strong and powerful forces

Primal signs of life

Throbbing mind set colours true

As all shades to red seemed wane

 

Hissing sound of spark

That once before fought so brave

Yet drowned in water

The tank brimmed with pictures there

Yesterday kept resurging

 

Ice cool breath faltered

In between mist and cold rain

As fire now blazed

Memories alit in flames

Found no respite in water

 

 

Icy fire raged

On the brink of tomorrow

As coal chips broke off

Mind to the heart is a trail

I see fire in its Wake