Thursday, May 25, 2006

DPACNY: The Empire Strikes Back

Okay, that is one complicated name even as an acronym, but there you go. There is an Alert email from the DFNYC supremo Tracey Denton in my inbox. Bernadette Evangelist, one of the power women at DFNYC looks like has launched an organization. Democratic Progressive Action Caucus Of New York. Quite a name that.

I have had quite a few mood swings with DFNYC as an organization. For the longest time I did not understand why the DFNYC was not jumping onto the Nepal bandwagon, but then I got to meet Howard Dean the other evening (Dean, DFNYC, Daily Kos, Justin, Brooklyn, Nepal) and he casually mentioned Sentaor Patrick Leahy in passing, and Leahy has been the top voice on Nepal in the US Congress, and there was a hint Dean and Leahy must have discussed Nepal more than once.

I mean, you have to be a Nepal democracy activist to feel the impact of how much Leahy has meant to us. You've got to remember, the April Revolution surprised us just like it surprised the world. We did not see it coming. Of course we are all happy now, the democrats are in power, and all that. But before that was months and months of darkness. For months after the February 1, 2005 coup, we did not understand why the people were not riled up enough to come out into the streets. We were asking the same question in October 2005. And then there were some impressive rallies in November and December. Then things went dud for the next few months, and we were worried. And even when it started in April, the repression was so vicious, we were scared the movement might get snuffed out, even though we kept pushing. And I was reacting to the whole thing physically. Like on day three, I was exhausted. I had spent the night at a friend's place, a fellow activist, something very unusual for me to do. I had overslept. I had company to keep. But only a few hours after waking up, I was physically drained. I was so surprised. I knew too many details of the ground situation in Kathmandu. I was reading news non stop. I was seeing photos. I was seeing video clips that I myself had arranged to be uploaded for the online audience, for the longest time the only way the diaspora was able to see the street happenings in Nepal. So easy to do, but only one person was doing it. I set it up first for the December 2, 2005 rally in Kathmandu. At that point we were so down and out, any sign of life on the street was going to get some more action at this end. I was having a hard time raising money at this end among the Nepalis. I figured video clips would help. But the video blogger Umesh Shrestha has worked largely autonomously. We have collaborated, but he has been independent.

Now all that looks and feels easy. Memory can play tricks on you. There have been months of loneliness, feelings of desperation. And that is where Patrick Leahy comes in. Leahy would give a statement here, and the next thing you know the king's army would feel the need to respond with a defensive press conference. Patrick Leahy's moral support has meant the world to the Nepal democracy movement when there were few flickers of hope.

I guess I mean to say in a roundabout way DFNYC can take some credit on Nepal. Leahy, Dean, DFNYC. We are all part of the same democracy ecosystem.

Nepal Needs To Be Hitting The World Headlines: Write To The Media (January 8)

And there is me being a refugee into New York City. I am here because of the push factors in Kentucky and Indiana. I am allergic to racist comments like Bill Clinton is allergic to pollen grains. It is not a political issue, it is a health issue. I get headaches. The politics of it is step two. The biology comes first, and I am not in control.

I think this is a relevant point in the progressive circles I roam in. Race is the number one issue in my personal life. If you feel uneasy discussing race, we are not going to get close. I also have a professional interest in race. Think of me as a police officer in a high crimes division who has to use his gun once in a while. Only I use words, not bullets. I do it for a living. If my work offends you, we can't get close.

And if you make a mild racist comment in ignorance, I should have the option to point it out. And you should apologize. Otherwise we don't get along.

And there is the privacy issue, the personal space issue. Politics is not hobby, it is work. When I show up at a political event in town, I am working. And I have to have a certain sense of detachment to get fully engaged, to stay productive. Me showing up at political events is like Amitabh Bachchan showing up at his movie sets. (Amitabh Bachchan, Bill Clinton) I am working. A comrade might or might not be a friend. Not everyone I meet at political events is a comrade, although I like the idea of getting on a first name basis with as many people as possible. Comrades are people who collaborate politically. And if you are a guy who is maybe a comrade, you are not a member of my private life, real or imagined, and that is never going to change. I find it offensive when some guy sidles up to pontificate on private matters. Some people think if they can invade your privacy, that means you are closer to each other. Does not work that way. Where you don't belong, you don't belong. And there are times when I am just experiencing an event. The individuals just add up to the composite.

Tracey Denton Of DFNYC

I think the world of Tracey Denton's political presence. You can't learn what she has, you can't educate yourself and become it. Either you have it, or you don't. She has it. On the downside, she is so positive, and optimistic, and creative and capable, that she sometimes misses the dark side of human nature. Conservatives say people are inherently evil. There is some truth to that. Optimism is great, but you have to know when you get hit. Otherwise you don't hit back, and you lessen your effectiveness. That is where the rubber meets the road in politics: in your instict to hit back when you get hit, and at times to hit proactively. Politics is a contact sport.

When I first came to the city, I landed at DFNYC, as a Deaniac. The progressive air was such a relief from the suffocation I had felt in Kentucky and Indiana. I was just thankful for the freshness, although there were a few downturns months later, like over winter. And the glass wall, glass ceiling thing is true in the city.

I did not see into the positive too much. What if it evaporates, I thought. And the action was in Nepal anyways. To be honest, I felt a certain attraction towards Tracey. But I thought I am broke and in Brooklyn, but she is a high flying Times Square lawyer, and I saw her boyfriend the first time I met her, a nice guy that I don't really know since I have never talked to, although he asked a great question at the Brooklyn event, the one about the US signing for the International Criminal Court: I am all for it. Politically I could give pound for pound. But I just went with the flow. But right before she left for Holland, I said it. I told her I liked her. On the phone she lectured me. As in, it sometimes happens in the activism circles. You are nice, and you get misunderstood. But then there was meeting her the following day at a few different events, and there were parts of not so clear, I thought.

And there was Nepal.

But then right before she came back after six months in Europe I wrote this to make things easy: Justin Krebs. Okay so you are like Justin Krebs, only you are a woman. Take it easy. But there have been moments when I am like, if you like me, blink your left eye, on the other hand, if I make you feel uneasy and you maybe want me out of your face, blink your right eye, and let's get it done and over with.

I think there are religious differences. I am a Buddhist. In Buddhism we have the body and the mind. The concept of soul does not exist. So there is no soulmate.

I grew up in a culture of arranged marriages. I gave up on that model a long time ago, long before I came to America. And in America 99.9% of the people stick to the racial boundaries. So that part is pretty arranged itself. What I think of relationships is in the zone of Sharper/Accenuated/ Heightened Individualism. But a relationship first and foremost is a private thing between two individuals.

A relationship is a painting that two people decide to work on together, a meeting of minds. And it is not sexist. In the sexist model, the man takes the lead. If the man does not take the lead, it never happens.

I am broker than I was when I moved into the city. But I am flying high mentally after the April Revolution. And I feel like I am only a few months away from making some big bucks.

I have been seeing Kenya Washington. I met her at a Spitzer event briefly. (Eliot Spitzer, Aliza Fatima) But we did not start going out right away. I am seeing her next on Friday.

Race, my non traditional career, and my "model" of a relationship can get in the way when they do. But, heck, I am in the city. I am alive.


22 May00:43Road Runner, New York, United States
22 May13:16University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, United States
22 May15:53Harvard University, Cambridge, United States

22 May23:47Thailand (
23 May02:25UTA Telekom AG, Vienna, Austria
23 May03:37Rogers Communications Inc., Canada
23 May05:31Blueyonder, United Kingdom
37.23 May09:16National Internet Backbone, India
38.23 May09:58TMnet Telekom Malaysia, Malaysia
23 May15:00Smart Telecom Holdings, Ireland
23 May15:24Knology, Inc., United States
23 May15:58Deutsche Bank AG, United States
23 May23:14Deakin University, Geelong, Australia

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