21 June 2011

I’m probably not supposed to say this. Oh well.



First off, I need to tell you that the best part about blogging is forming new relationships and receiving positive, constructive feedback from people all around the world. Nothing beats a kind word from a stranger. Nothing. Sometimes I fear, well, perhaps it is narcissistic to post the things I do and to crave your responses as much as I have. Perhaps by admitting that here I can keep my ego in check.

Help me Rhonda, I’ll try....

That said, you can imagine my astonishment last December when my inbox was flooded by comments and emails that referred to one of my posts as “slanderous garbage” and called me a “white devil jew who does not know anything of people in the world besides yourself and your kind.”

That was fun.

The best was when someone was nice enough to send me a photo of a dead cat.

Sweet.

Nothing, nothing, could have prepared me for the hornet’s nest kicked up by my post Dinosaurs: A Disco Christmas in Saudi Arabia, mostly from individuals outraged at my description of the Saudi Arabian legal system, and the civil liberties of Saudi Arabian women in particular...

Back then, when I first wrote it, I expected some ruffled feathers and asked a friend to help me edit it down and add some hedging language that I thought would lessen the blow, and since the whole point of the story was about finding your own brand of faith in spite of your surroundings, well, I honestly didn’t think anyone would be offended.

Apparently not.

Some folks were still ticked. Real Ticked. From the looks of my site traffic that week, it appears a link to my story was posted in some sort of web forum that encouraged people to leave nasty comments and emails. Luckily most were in another language that I couldn’t even read and the rest were easy to delete, but the incident rattled me for months....

Until today.

I received an email from Hala, a young woman in Saudi Arabia, who informed me that one of my posts, the very same one that caused all the controversy, was circulated to her as part of the numerous social media campaigns encouraging Saudi Arabian Women to drive on June 17th. No idea how that happened, or what drop in the bucket that post might contribute, but it’s nice to know good things can come out of even the worst situations. Hala’s single email neutralized the many, many other hateful, discouraging messages from months earlier. I can’t thank her enough.

And far more important than my Stuart Smally-esque need for affirmation, Hala’s email draws my further attention to the issue at hand; the women of Saudi Arabia deserve the right to drive. And much, much more. Given the Arab Spring, all systems indicate massive change is coming to Saudi Arabia in the months and years ahead. It is my assumption—no, my wish—that those words in my post from last December becomes outdated and archaic. Until then, I hope we can all lend an ear and an ounce of support to all the ladies looking to turn the key. No pun intended :)

Peace be upon you.

27 comments:

  1. I'm very sorry that you got hate mail about that post. I remember that post very well - it was a interesting insight in a world I don't know. If some people are offended by reading it than perhaps you did it exactly the right way...
    It's really great you got that e-mail from Hala!

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  2. That stinks that you received hateful emails and comments because of that post! I believe that was the first post I read, and I liked it so much I'm still reading...

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  3. You are the Lenny Bruce of DIY Craft Bloggers! This was my second favorite post. My favorite was the garbage flower, homeless man in the basement post. You made me cry, and I Don't Cry. There is an extraordinary amount of haters in the blog world. Do you wonder why all the people on Hoarders seem to have one little space for their computer? Some people say things they would never say in real life face to face. Ignore them. Block them. Forget them. And focus on being our Favorite Aunt. Ann

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  4. "Hate Mail"sucks...! I think that says it all :]
    Take care *hugs*

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  5. I read, re-read, then re-read again that posting and I STILL can't figure out why some people wanted to send you hate mail over it. It was a terrific posting and beautifully written - I was touched deep in my heart. Keep up the good work! Blessings to you!

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  6. Thanks guys :) I really appreciate your words. Yeah, I still don't know why that post got singled out as something so offensive and contraversal. I must have hit a hot spot. Certain people respond to certain topics with unwarrented rage. Probably a good indication they have a lot to be defensive about.

    Anyway, thanks for chiming in y'all. It means more than you know :)

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  7. I found your blog a while back and enjoy stopping by for a visit. I just read the post you referenced and I found it interesting and insightful. Thanks for sharing it.

    I also believe in synchronicity and it seems like finding the dinosaur at that time in your life was one of those meaningful coincidences that is a sign that a higher power, be it the Universe, or whatever you believe in, is watching out for us.

    I hope that your post is motivating and a catalyst to help inspire change for the better.

    Take care!

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  8. Don't let the haters get you down girl!! Love everything you share on your blog. Keep up the great work!

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  9. To know that something you wrote inspired another woman, another person, to stand against oppression and systemic misogynism must be nothing short of amazing.

    PS I loved that dinosour post.

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  10. Read the post you referred to.

    Guess there are folks out there who have lost their 'humerus' aka Funny Bone. Their problem, not yours.

    Your vivacious writing generates laughter. Your blog brings colorful creativity where there is blandness You have a gift ~ Embrace it ~

    AND moderate the negativity .. HIT DELETE !!

    Change for no one ...
    Signed,
    A devoted reader

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  11. that post was one of the first i read when i stumbled on to your blog, and still one of my favorites. it's unfortunate that some people can't express disagreement without being a-holes and bullies, but haters gonna hate, i guess.

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  12. they see you bloggin', they hatin'....

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  13. Dear Auntie,

    I have followed you for some time now and have loved your posts. When you "speak truth to power" (as obviously happened with that post) you often feel the blowback. But that means that you've said what needs saying and there WILL be others who are grateful. It may take some time to know about that (as with Hala) and sometimes you will never know.

    By being in the world authentically and speaking from your heart, your example is sometimes the stone that causes the ever expanding ripple that can go on to be part of positive energy and change.

    Remember that hate comes from fear, and those who have the most to fear are those who are oppressing and harming others in order to maintain their power.

    You done good!

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  14. Hi Peaches. I often worry myself about posting anything too controversial on my blog for fear of turning people off and causing friction btwn myself and those I've come to befriend online. I love my followers and I would never want to offend them - although part of me thinks if you can't take the heat, maybe I didn't want you in my kitchen anyway. Aside from that, I use my blog for business purposes as well, so that also, unfortunately, requires me to think twice too.

    That said, I 100% applaud you for your original post. I've been following you for a while, but not that long - so I went back to read your story. I thought, like many others above, that it was very insightful. Moving. Intelligent. And honestly, highly UNoffensive. Even putting myself in others' shoes, I can't see why they would be so pissed off. You state more than once that you're not an expert, you encourage everyone to do their own research and form their own opinions...I thought it was very well written and really enjoyed the story itself.

    I totally agree with ItMakesYouSmile - so much of the animosity that stirs up in the religious world seems to stem from the perceived loss of power and anything that threatens that hold. Hate is definitely a byproduct of fear. If people would just open up their minds to accept - not convert, not believe - just ACCEPT, that theirs is not the only way and that everyone has the right to their own set of beliefs (Allah, Jesus, Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever)... *sigh*

    I'm sorry you're dealing with the hate mail. Know that there are people behind you. And I thank you for your brave, beautiful post. And never waiver for words you spoke that were true to you b/c that's what's important. Sadly, those hateful opposing minds will always be there...but their karma probably really sux. ;)

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  15. You make me want to glitter many things. I love that story. I love the idea of finding something that your missing in life (physical or spiritual) and then glittering it up and showing it off to the world. And it's amazing to help out someone, even if it is someone you've never met. We all need a little freedom. Yea, Aunt Peaches!

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  16. Peaches,
    I too lived in Saudi Arabia on a compound for 5 years. We arrived in 1999 and left in 2004, and can attest that not very much of what you experience has changed. One of my highlights from my time there was taking my children (via escorted paid compound driver) to the local McDonalds and getting kicked out because I did not have my head (hair) covered. I was tempting men!! I love your blog and have a daughter who could be your twin. Keep up the good blogging, the hilarious posts, and don't ever let the haters and bad mouthed posters discourage you. Hate is everywhere and when we step into the public arena like blogland we will eventually come face to face with it.
    Ann
    http://sassyseamstress2.blogspot.com/

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  17. I wrote something long and involved that would have solved world hunger, ended war, and lit up your whole day - but the computer ate it and I'm lazy so it comes down to this:
    Your lovely and insightful blog is inspirational to me! Ever since reading the fingernail necklace story I've been hooked and hooked many others. Thank you for your thoughtful blogging on your experience in Saudi - for that one woman who sent you an email, there are doubtless hundreds (if not thousands) of others who've had the desire, if not the ability in such an oppressive environment, to do the same.
    Power to the Crafty!

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  18. Amazing news that the post is being circulated for the exact reason you wrote it. I am so happy! It was obvious from the git go that people writing in to complain were doing so in a knee-jerk fashion, without even bothering to read or attempt to understand what you truly said.

    The driving campaign sounds like a hopeful beam of intelligence...what a cool thing to know you were part of it!

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  19. Peaches, From these comments, it appears you have a number of followers who enjoy your blogs for the reasons you write them - so don't ever change (not that you would...) Continue to provide that wonderful humor that is you, and we will enjoy it. Hate is amongst us, use that delete key! And I agree with Michelle - look how FAR your comments went!! The power of blogging in action. Keep on, girl!!!

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  20. i read the post & above comments, i was thinking that i am the target but thanks for clarifying whole thing..I just want to tell your readers that i haven't sent any hateful mail to anyone on the world wide web including Aunt Peaches & i cant hate anyone..i simply write strait forwardly.as you know this well :)
    I have no problem with any blog or person over blogsphere..love all arties crafties girlies..
    well thanks for increasing my traffic..hehe :)

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  21. Geez Aunt Peaches even a Wisconsin Cow could see that NONE of your posts are offensive! We are so sorry to hear of the hate mail you receive, just remember those emails are really about the people who send them and not you. We love love love Aunt Peaches!

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  22. The fact that you've received hate mail over a blog post is utterly ridiculous. Especially when you were telling your story, giving your point of view, just being you. I'm so sorry that you had to go through that Peaches. If people disagree, it's fine to say so, but to send hateful messages? How cowardly!

    I'm glad your post has struck the proper chord with Hala and women attempting to make strides in Saudi Arabia! That's freaking amazing Peaches. You should be immensely chuffed at your ability to move people. I know I would be.

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  23. Aunt Peaches -
    I feel brighter BEFORE I've even clicked on your blog and I say to myself 'Hmm, I wonder what that Hyde Park lady is up to today? You know the one that put flowers in an old purse and makes it look awesome!'

    Forget those flamers, it's easy to sit there in their mama's basement and make you feel as awful as they do. What an amazing result, that you inspired a Saudi woman to have the courage to drive! I remember when I first drove myself, Freedom!

    Sending giant waves of approval and love. :)

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  24. Ew! What is wrong with people??? These trolls need to develop hobbies.

    What a bummer that you spend so much time running a seriously awesome blog full of happy, superfun projects and positive thoughts, and these total jerks come and poop on your parade!! Totally uncalled for and inappropriate! What are these people contributing to the world?

    Who even takes pictures of dead cats anyway?

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  25. peaches, there are LOTS of unhappy people in this world waiting to attack someone like you. I thank you for being one of the brightest shining happy spots in my day. every post you share reminds me that i, in all my weird glory, am not alone! so thank you, and keep em coming, and remember that for every one dead cat pic some miserable soul sends, there are thousands of people that would send you as much positive energy as they could!

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  26. THANK YOU Sylvie!!! Thank you for your words of encouragement. I am so glad you stopped by and let me know what you think :)

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  27. I have only recently discovered you. I am very happy to read your stories and am so glad you have received a message from Hala . You bring a smile to so many around the world with your passion, whether it be crafts or women s issues . I know I 'm happy to check out your blog. THANKS

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-AP

 
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