I see you are against the segregation of genders in Islam, my question is this?
How do you manage to work with someone whose viewpoints are different from yours such as Alex Gabriel? How can you accept someone who stands for the segregation of Muslims when you do not? Are your principles that cheap that you would stay on FTB for the money?
I am against the gender segregation of Muslims on public property. If an event or the equipment or location for an event is paid for by the tax payer and if the over-arching organisation has a duty to promote an equal dialogue then segregation is not helpful or useful.
Furthermore the Muslims who insisted that segregation is vital to their existence were mainly men. Until a few weeks ago most of the people who defended segregation were men. Then women began to defend it. Apparently gender apartheid is so vital to Islam that the strain of normal life is anathema to women in Islam.
Which it isn’t, I have Muslim friends. They seem to function just fine in non-segregated societies. They sit next to people of the opposite gender and Jahannam does not await. Neither do these men lose all pretence of civility and rape these women.
No, I am afraid the problem is that the dialogue involving Islam has a major problem. That any criticism of Islam no matter how valid, well researched or based on facts is treated as the voice of bigotry. That Muslim voices of criticism are silenced in favour of the people under attack.
The various Islamic Student Societies that practiced gender discrimination have no leg to stand on, their practice of such over the years has gone unchallenged, that doesn’t make it right. They got away with it because they were never caught by anyone who thought it was bad.
Apparently me and Alex have different viewpoints on this. If so? I disagree with Alex. It’s not hard to disagree with someone after all.
I don’t work with Alex. We live across a bloody planet. Short of being in space, there isn’t much further apart I can be from Alex. I have never even met him. Hell I have never even met Ally Fogg and we are both from the same city in the UK.
Much as people like to think that FTB is a monolith, it’s not. It’s one of the more diverse and interesting groups out here. It’s got atheists from a variety of different cultures, ethnicities and genders and different viewpoints.
Which is why it has people from A+ and ME and it is why it has Alex and people like Maryam Namazie and Me. We do not have an over-arching rule apart from the basics of “don’t be a raging arsehole”. Alex’s arguments have been polite and while I think he is wrong and that we shouldn’t give harmful cultures a free ride, his opinion being different from mine is not a cause to ban him or throw him out.
And yes, I do blog at FTB for a little money. I don’t earn a salary. I do not charge for my services, the money from the blog is pocket money really. I get round $40 to $60 a month. I am not rolling in dosh. The money is something nice for me to spend on myself when I do get time off to spend in the UK. I would like to have the life you have.
The lives you take for granted. The ability to go out and eat at a restaurant that isn’t fast food. The ability to go stay in a hotel and be pampered. The money to spend on my girlfriend doing things together when throughout the year our idea of a date is “Skype” and candlelit dinner have generally been because my power got shut off.
I want to walk into a pub and I want to order a driink. A Guinness. A cold Guinness. And I want to watch either bad music videos or good football while doing so. I want to take my girlfriend out to a dinner that isn’t “Tesco”. I want to eat a sausage and bacon. No… I want a Full English Breakfast, the Full Monty. I want bacon, I want sausages, I want runny eggs that won’t poison me. I want baked beans and I want unsweetened toast, fried tomatoes and mushrooms.
I want a bacon sandwich, I want a pizza, i want steak, I want a lot of these “luxuries”. Because I do without them for a year and splurge because I don’t get them normally.
And for that one needs money. Now you may think the acquisition of wealth is crass but frankly you have wealth, I do not. I don’t blog for wealth but if I am getting paid then the payment is for a good cause. I am allowed to find material wealth interesting. Did I say anywhere that wealth leads to unhappiness? No. Obsession with wealth leads to unhappiness. This wealth leads to time spent with my girlfriend, a few beers and personal equipment like clothes, new glasses and things like that. I am not siphoning the funds given to me to my doom laser project (that’s on my Kickstarter page!). And even when I raised money for such frivolities such as a Laptop I was specific on what I wanted and never really hid what I spent.
So it’s not ending world peace or solving world hunger but sue me. I needed a laptop to help me in my day to day work and keep me sane by letting me watch movies and play a few games in my down time. It also helped me do a lot of teaching since “powerpoint” is important. And guess what? This year’s purchase is a camera! A purely for me and with no real benefit to my patients “camera”. I got around £500 set aside for that because “DSLR baby”. Now you can say “use your phone” or “buy something cheaper” but I liked photography and I actually ruined my old camera in the rain photographing the rape protests last year. I never really replaced it and it was a DSLR and DSLR are “pricey”. This is a cheap waterproof one with incredibly good reviews so I am “getting one”..
I cannot do everything. I am allowed and entitled to a life. I have made it perfectly clear that money donated to me unless earmarked for a specific project is going to be spent on things you would consider frivolities. Hell, I spent some of the money I earned before May 2013 on Shower Gel, a personal luxury since I dislike the smell of Indian “green” soap and worry that other people will use the soap too.
You may not see the absolute pleasure of a Big Mac or the sheer orgasmic taste of that first scotch and water. You may not understand that first smell of vinegar on fish and chips. But you haven’t gone without so you may not appreciate how amazing those things are especially knowing how fleeting they are. That no matter how much I want those things at the moment I cannot have them. But I do and I do spend money on making me happy. Because I have been doing this for a long time and I do need things to make me happy and you may consider this shallow, but then I am shallow. I am happy to pretend for at least 3 weeks that I have a normal and sensible life where I can go out and spend time with friends who have stable and real jobs.
Which is why I scrimp and save throughout the year. All the money from the blog can only be accessed in the UK. All that “wealth” that I have accumulated is purely for my holidays there and for a few luxuries.
Now if paying for my drink is such a slight then by all means, use an ad blocker and deprive me of the 0.01 of a cent that I get from your hit. By all means don’t click on the donate button down the left side of the page or that link.
And that’s fine, that’s your choice. But it’s unfair to tell me to not earn my whopping One Grand a Year for actually writing a fair bit. And that this is somehow detrimental to any message I have. It’s unfair to try and reduce visitors and to tell others not to read what I write because “it’s money in my pocket” or because “it’s at that FTB place where I disagree with another blogger”. It’s unfair to me, the causes I support and the things I do.
And yes it’s selfish but you are entitled to be a little bit selfish sometimes and do stuff to make you happy. The hair shirt you chose to wear is your choice, I don’t force my hair shirts on you and vice versa.
And I know you were polite but I was less so but I have had this dialogue for a year since I moved here. That me earning this miniscule amount of money somehow makes my message lesser than people like Richard Dawkins and Pat Condell or the lovely MRA such as Paul Elam who haven’t earned a penny for their writing and who certainly wouldn’t utilise donations from readers for such base purposes.
Oh and if you guys want to donate to my VIntage Erotica and Faberge Egg Addiction (Fine! My Plane Tickets, Camera, Random Stuff and Take Hera Out On Dates Fund) then the link is up there. I have a new project that would require your money soon and that’s for a much better cause (And you can participate in it too.). If you want to save up for that fundraiser then stay your wallets! It’s for a great cause and for people who do some really good work. I am waiting for some details before I put ink to paper and possibly for other FTBloggers to want to join in but when I am sure I am going to sign up for that you guys will know.
But please don’t think that my message is weaker simply because I enjoy some benefit while writing here. You may consider it a lack of principles but if all the other principles I hold dear and true to aren’t hooking you on, my fiscal independence from the network was hardly going to make you read what I have to write.