Archive for November 26th, 2010

Quarter To Three


About 36 hours after I posted this video came news that Willie Nelson had been arrested for marijuana possession at a border-patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas.

What foolishness.

Almost every band’s tour-bus is an automatic bust, but especially so is Nelson’s. This is a man who has made no secret of the fact that he’s daily smoked marijuana for the past several decades; Nelson is co-chair of the NORML advisory board, has filmed pro-pot NORML commercials, has appeared on the cover of High Times. The stuff doesn’t seem to have done him any harm: in Nelson’s life as a stoner there has emerged no evidence of sloth or paranoia, usually the worst side effects of steady marijuana consumption. It was when Willie was a drinker, not a dope-smoker, that he caused problems for other human beings.

Nelson is a native and long-time resident of Texas; in fact, he is probably the best goodwill ambassador that state has. Arresting Willie Nelson at this stage of his life is like putting the cuffs on Santa Claus.

Border-patrol agents who opened the door to Nelson’s bus encountered the odor of marijuana. Well: duh. A search uncovered six ounces. The agents contacted Hudspeth County sheriff’s officials, who apparently made the decision to arrest. Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West seems to seek admittance to the Texas Asshat Hall Of Fame, telling the press:

“It’s kind of surprising, but, I mean, we treat him like anybody else. He could get 180 days in county jail, which if he does, I’m going to make him cook and clean. He can wear the stripy uniforms just like the other ones do.”

That’s right, hoss. Put a 77-year-old man in stripes and then make him clean your boots for you.

Jeebus wept.


“Men Should Put This On For One Day”

This is a brave woman. Amal Basha, of Yemen. One of maybe 22 women in that country who does not wear the veil.

“I had to wear the full niqab when I was 8 years old,” she says of the face veil worn by women here. “I couldn’t breathe. I saw the world in dark colors. I fell down because I couldn’t see when I walked. Men should put this on for one day. They would change their thinking. They don’t know how horrible it is under sun, heat and sweat. It’s a kind of torture. I decided I wanted to see the beautiful colors of life—red, blue, green. Not black.”

Basha is a descendant of the prophet Mohammed; today she heads the Sisters’ Arab Forum For Human Rights, in the planet’s poorest Islamic nation. In the light of her mind she reaches back to Mohammed—”you know,” she says, “we’re all created from the same soul”—but in life she must contend with the darkness of a world dominated by the ossified barnacles that have attached themselves to her forebear . . . such as Yemeni cleric Shiek Abdul Majeed Zindani, who claims to possess “scientific proof that women cannot speak and remember simultaneously.”

“Yemen is the home of the Queen of Sheba,” Basha retorts. “How can you say women can’t govern? Yemen is a failed state today, and men have been the rulers.”

Basha’s work documenting torture in her country moved the United Nations to call for an official investigation. She strives to legislatively end the practice of marrying off Yemeni “women” as young as eight years old. She seeks to help Yemeni women who are victims of domestic violence, of sexual harassment, of illiteracy, of caste prejudice. She advocates for prisoners and refugees.

For her pains, Basha has been threatened with death, had the brakes cut on her car, had acid hurled at her face. She has been branded by her countrymen as “un-Islamic,” a “Zionist,” an “agent of the West,” a “temptress of Eve.” Her accusers forgetting that it was Adam who received the injunction against plucking the forbidden fruit. Not Eve. Eve was innocent.


When I Worked

November 2010
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