Homogenic Love by Edward Carpenter

Almost forgotten for many years…

Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was of outstanding importance. Socialist and poet, feminist and mystic, he was openly homosexual and an early advocate of gay rights. He influenced a generation of socialists and writers (especially E. M. Forester). His views on the gay life were revolutionary in their time and are still relevant today.

First given as a lecture, Homogenic Love was published in 1895, the year of the Oscar Wilde trials. What was said then, still needs saying today.

Download available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/150447944/Homogenic-Love-by-Edward-Carpenter

Harvey Milk and the Candidacy of the LGBT Movement

by the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee

May 22 marks what would have been former San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk’s 78th birthday.

Milk has been widely referred to as a martyr for the LGBT movement, but it is not his death that first launched Harvey into the public’s eye.

Milk’s election to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978 was an historic moment. His win came after two unsuccessful bids in 1973 and 1975.

In 1977, when voting for San Francisco City Supervisors transitioned from city-wide elections to district elections, Milk managed to win a seat on the Board and in so doing became the first openly gay elected official of any major U.S. city.

When Milk addressed a crowd of supporters after his victory, he noted the significance of his election for the LGBT community, “This is not my victory — it’s yours. If a gay man can win, it proves that there is hope for all minorities who are willing to fight.”

As a supervisor, Milk rallied the city council in 1978 to pass the city’s landmark Gay Rights Ordinance, which barred employers from firing employees because of their sexuality.

Milk’s fellow supervisor Dan White resigned from the Board in opposition to Milk’s bill.

White would later return to City Hall and shoot then-Mayor George Moscone and Milk, killing them both.

White was arrested and tried in a trial that would make famous the “Twinkie defense” (which formed part of White’s diminished capacity defense). When White’s 7-year prison sentence for manslaughter was announced, the San Francisco LGBT community was outraged. Many in the community saw the sentence as excessively lenient for the dual assassinations.

On May 21, 1979, members of the San Francisco LGBT community gathered in San Francisco’s Civic Center to protest the verdict and the White Night Riots broke out, chanting, “We want justice!,” and “Remember Harvey Milk!.” Protestors outrage spilled over into property destruction. Twelve police cruisers were burned and windows were smashed.

To those who lived through those years, Harvey Milk’s life and times are fairly well-known, but youth face significant hurdles to receiving LGBT history in the present education system.

Help spread the word about this history. Just copy and past this blog entry into your bulletin or blog.

Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences in Harare

My arrival in Harare came with fears about how 8000% monthly inflation, food shortages, and a repressive dictator who hates gay people would influence my stay and feelings about Zimbabwe and its people.

I was a bit bewildered on arrival at the airport since I didn’t want to change money at the official rate, which was far below the black market rate. Yet I didn’t know who I could trust to change money on the black market without getting arrested or cheated or whatever.

Luckily, I met Sarah, a wonderful person who helped me figure out how to adapt to life in Zimbabwe right there at the airport. She was asking around about the current exchange rate and helped me meet a Zimbabwe local who gave me a free ride along with my bags in the back of a pickup truck to meet my friend Richard in the parking lot of a well-known hotel.

Richard put me up at his place for the day and night and showed me around town a bit. I saw the grocery stores full of food in Harare, although with prices rapidly becoming unaffordable for people whose salaries weren’t pegged to foreign currencies. He took me to an excellent Chinese restaurant with an interesting twist to the menu… each dish had a price code listed by it and the list of prices corresponding to the codes appeared on the last page of the menu, so it could be updated on a regular, even daily, basis. When it came time to pay, Richard pulled out the bag he carries around everywhere and laid a pile of cash about six inches tall on the table.

The government announced the new 10,000,000 dollar note around the time I arrived in the country, to help with the problem of physically carrying around so much cash for even the simplest of transactions. In most places that do any regular business involving large amounts of cash, they have a cash counting machine, like the one pictured below.

Cash-Counting Machine, Bus Company, Bus Terminal Building, Harare, Zimbabwe I Become a Millionaire, Currency Inflation in Zimbabwe
As soon as I changed money, I became a multimillionaire!

Richard’s father was arriving that day to stay at his place so he helped me find a hotel room. Luckily, we found one that wasn’t horridly expensive as most of them are for foreigners paying a special hard-currency foreigner price in Harare. I stayed at the lovely Bronte Hotel.

Grounds of Bronte Hotel, Harare, Zimbabwe Restaurant at Bronte Hotel, Harare, Zimbabwe

I saw a placard announcing the groups meeting there at the hotel. One of the groups listed was GALZ, which I knew as Gay and Lesbian Zimbabweans. I was shocked to see them listed, since I thought the repression would be so great that they would have to meet in private homes, ever since Mugabe’s “gays are worse than dogs” statement. I had the privilege of popping in one of their meeting sessions to wish them well, letting them know that people all over the world have heard about their struggle and understand the difficult conditions under which they are operating with threats of violence, imprisonment, and death, not to mention public humiliation and loss of employment.

On January 18, 2008, I visited the Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Machanga people

Oral tradition says origins in Hlengwe people who arrived before Soshongana, a Ngoni (Ngohi?) whose real name is Mamukese / Manukosi, son of Chiyangeni. Manukese fled Shaka during Mfecune period. Soshongana found the Hlengwe and established the Gaza state in early 19th century after defeating all tribes…

Machangana men pierced ears using knife, sign of bravery, skin loins, mayadha white cloth, mubodhi head ring, tnbaya(?) urinary chamber

Machangana women wear minceka, salempore (chibhelana / chibhabhela), seashells (mbambamba), leg bangles (madheya(?))

Zvitumbarse drums

Ranzala groundhornbill drum

Thumb piano

Initiation – instructor (mudzhabi)

Girls’ initiation = kombla

Boys’ initiation = mupundu(?)

Food processing: grind (kukanda) food using pestle (musi) and mortar (xthurhi), in chihizo for final processing

Ngula grainbin

Farming–

Crops: mvele (small grains), mashalani (sorghum), mahuva (millet)

Wooden hoes

Conservation of trees as shed for crops (minduti yemerele (or yemevele???))

Singing songs, political or even vulgar, only while pounding grain

Beer pots (mbita)

Head cushion (simbo)

Head rests (mukigeio)

Woven grain storage container

Chieftancy–

Nzalema power in chief’s stomach, vomited at death

Chosen from eldest son of first wife, if chief too young, nephew (tukulu, who is not in line for chieftancy) would hold the post (kuomela)

Chiefs had spear (thlari), elephant’s tusk (lumhondo lwendhlopfu), leopard’s skin, and headring (mubhodhi)

King buried in house seated facing east, elephant tusk buried with him, protruding a bit from grave

Hunting–

Shields from animal hides, arrows (mupatya), spear, and pit traps for big animals like elephants (hardwood poles with sharpened ends vertical in put, animal pierced during fall

Rituals–

Shona– possession by principal ancestors (masvikiro)

Machanga – possession at homestead level (mudzimu)

Traditional healers (N’anga) advise who to lead ritual to ask for rain before people ate produce from the fields

Madhlozi are possessed by spirits from another culture like Ndau (Maronge or Maconge?) or Ndebele

Rituals performed under Marula tree or in Ndumba house dedicated to ancesstors Inside house, white cloth, multi-colored cloth (palu), small multi-coolored clay pot (chikalaulo) and spears/gourd (ndeve)

Old women in menopause (vatsvah) brew the beer for rituals assisted by young pre-menstrual girls who carry water

Inyanga, early iron age from 300 – 1000 CE, pottery known as Ziwa

Late iron age, 1650-1800 CE, Hwisa settlements

GREAT ZIMBABWE:

Soapstones found at Great Zimbabwe, Dhlodio (Midlands), and Mutare Altar site
figural art, bowls with animal images, eight birds on pillars

Stone building tradition from about 1100-1600 CE

Arrows, spears, adze, hoe, plus imported Chinese celadon, glass beads

Iron gongs, gold grinder, grain bins

Millet, sorghum, and r??? (small grain millet?)

Cattle and goat herding: young cattle for the king’s compound, older for rest of population

Not so much hunting

Great Zimbabwe flourished 1250 – 1450 CE with smaller Zimbabwes all over the central plateau (approximately 300 of them extending even into Mozambique, Botswana, and South Africa)

King lived on the Hill Complex – wealth and power from control over subjects

Symbols of authority found: iron gongs, trade items

Zimbabwe Hill – enclosures

Imba Huru: pole and daga (mortar/cement) houses with enclorsure, three entrances

Khami ruins at Bulawayo are second largest after Great Zimbabwe

Others at places like Matendara, Dhlodhlo, and Naletale

All used decorative wall patterns: chevron, check, cord, dentelle, herriingbone, and alternate courses of granite (light) and schist (dark)

Shona concept of mutupo, link to ancestors

Mazimbabwe – plural usage for other zimbabwes around the country

References found at Museum Library:

Garlake, Peter. Life at Great Zimbabwe. Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1982, reprinted 1991. {Exploring Zimbabwe Series #1}

Garlake, Peter. Early Zimbabwe: From the Matopos to Inyanga. Gweru, Zimbabwe: Mambo Press, 1983. {Exploring Zimbabwe Series #3}

Garlake, Peter S. Great Zimbabwe. London, United Kingdon?: Thames and Hudson, 1973.

Garlake, Peter. Great Zimbabwe: Described and Explained. Harare, Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe Publishing House, Ltd., 1982.

National Museums and Monuments of Rhodesia. Map of the Zimbabwe Ruins. Publication location and date unknown, like pre-independence, i.e. before 1980.

R.N. Hall. Great Zimbabwe. London, United Kingdom: Methuen and Co., first published 1905.

Chauke, Chris. The Great Zimbabwe Monument Traveller’s Guide. Mosvingo, Zimbabwe: The National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe(?), publication date unknown.

Mantenga, Edward. The Soapstone Birds of Great Zimbabwe: Symbols of a Nation. Harare, Zimbabwe: African Publishing Group, 1998.

Robinson, K.R. Khami Ruins. Cambridge, United Kingdom: University Press, 1959.

Summers, Roger. Inyanga: Prehistoric Settlements in Southern Rhodesia. Cambridge, United Kingdom: University Press, 1958.

Gathercole, Peter, and Lowenthal, David (eds.). The Politics of the Past. London, United Kingdom: Unwin Hyman Ltd., 1990, updated 1994?, pp. 189-199 (West Africa article), and pp. 291-298 (Nigeria article)

Thanks to Naone Chiruka, Librarian, Zimbabwe Museum of Human Sciences, Box CY 33, Causeway, Harare Zimbabwe (send copy of my book to the library).

Bus Terminal, Harare, Zimbabwe
I left Harare by bus at the bus station pictured above.

Ile de Goree

November 4, 2007, Île de Gorée, Dakar, Senegal

When the ferry was ready for us, everyone in the waiting room squeezed through two small exits onto the dock. Then, we crossed over to the ferry with two guys grabbing each passenger to help them across the one foot wide step to get on board. Once on board, the two Germans and I sat on the upper deck. I chose a spot in the shade. In port next to us was a giant container and cargo ship, twelve stories tall. The ferry boat is new, launched in 2006 under the name of Beer. The Germans and I joked quite a bit about that… like, how come no free beer on board? ;-)

Large Container Ship Viewed on Ferry From Dakar to Ile de Goree The Ferry Is New and Named Beer

From the ferry, we had excellent views back to the Dakar harbor and Cape Vert (I think it’s called).

View of Dakar Harbor From Ile de Goree Ferry More of Dakar Cape From Ile de Goree Ferry

Soon, we reached the open sea with magnificent views of Île de Gorée.

Getting Closer to Ile de Goree on the Ferry Approaching Ile de Goree on the Ferry

We sailed around the tip of the island where the fortress, now a museum, is located to get a great view of the harbor, beach, and seaside.

Round the Point of Ile de Goree on the Ferry The Beach at Ile de Goree From the Ferry Ile de Goree Fortress and Museum From the Ferry

The island boasts some wonderful old houses.

Colorful Old Houses on Ile de Goree From the Ferry

Once on land, we paid a tourist tax and walked toward the Maison des Esclaves (Slave House), which was closed for siesta time. On the way to the Maison, we saw this monument to the end of slavery with a man and some children having their photo taken alongside the monument.

Statue of the Liberation From Slavery, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

We also saw a breadfruit tree with breadfruit hanging from its branches.

Jackfruit Tree, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Jackfruits in Front of Colorful Old House, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

We entered a cathedral with some black statues, as well as white ones.

Cathedral on Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Black Figure in Cathedral, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Second Black Figure in Cathedral, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal
On our way up to a peak where the old cannons are gradually rusting away, we saw many arts and crafts stands and paintings painted by local artists.

Craft Shops, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Artist Shop on Top of Peak at Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal View From Peak Over Town on Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

On the way down from the peak, we saw a local soccer game with some guys in real good shape.

Young Guys Playing Soccer, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Young Guys Playing Soccer and One With Longhair, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

We walked over to the port for lunch. A man tried to get us to eat at his restaurant, but I really wanted to eat at the place recommended by the Lonely Planet guidebook. Eventually we escaped his clutches and made our way over to the Ana Saban restaurant.

After lunch, we went to the Musée Historique de l’IFAN on the island.

Entrance of Musee Historique IFAN at Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal View From Top of Fortress Down Into Musee Historique, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal View From Fortress Over Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

I somehow lost the Germans at the museum, so I walked alone back over past the beach to the Maison des Esclaves, now finished with their siesta break. I started by taking pictures of the “Door of No Return,” which was apparently the last place where slaves bound for the Great Passage across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas set foot on the African continent.

Door of No Return, Maison des Esclave, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Closeup of Door of No Return, Maison des Esclave, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

Here’s what it was like to stand just in front of the door out to where the slave ships used to load their human cargo and the sign currently posted by the Door of No Return.

Standing Just Before the Door of No Return, Maison des Esclaves, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Sign by Door of No Return, Maison des Esclaves, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

Inside the Maison des Esclaves, an exhibit explained about the history of the slave trade and showed some of the actual fetters used to bind slaves.

Shackles for Wrists, Maison des Esclaves, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Shackle for Feet, Maison des Esclaves, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

In a small museum office with lots of signs and sayings posted on the walls, there is an elder who must have helped to establish the museum. I went in to thank him for what he has done and he replied that to the contrary he must thank me for coming.

After the disturbing and moving museum, it was a real treat to be able to relax on the beach with locals and people visiting from all over the world. I met a sweet Italian fellow (married) who is working in nutrition in Africa. It was so much fun that the Germans and I had to run for the Beer ferry when it was time to go.

Italian Friend on the Beach, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Beer Ferry Viewed From the Beach, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

Beach, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal Another Beach View With Ferry, Ile de Goree, Dakar, Senegal

To round out the evening, we dashed to Point des Almadies to see the sunset and eat dinner on the seashore.