This was originally posted on another forum I frequent, and after receiving permission from the original author, I've reposted it here.

Many Muslim web sites have had to close down, and many mosques and members of the Islamic faith have been unfairly targetted by people too blinded by their own grief and anger to understand where the real enemy lies.

Therefore, I went to a Mosque, a place I have never gone before.

This was my prayer.

I come here today to pray for peace for the dead, comfort for the living, and light in the dark days behind and ahead of us.

I come here today to pray for us all, to offer comfort and hope.

I come here today as the daughter of both Jew and Christian.

I come here in particular, to a place of Islam, to tell those of you who have felt the arrows of suspicion and fear from those who are in too much pain to think clearly: I know you are with us, that you are Americans, that some of your own relatives and friends have been killed in this tragedy or in others.

We are one, united in our grief, sorrow, outrage, faith, and compassion.

We are one, united in our defiance of a common enemy. For the enemy is not American nor Jew nor Muslim nor any creed or nationality: the enemy is hatred itself.

We pray for the fallen.
We pray for the grieving.
We pray for the heroes who have risked and still risk their lives for others.
We pray for ourselves and our children.
We pray for our leaders to choose wisely and to act firmly against this threat to us all.
We pray for the brave men and women who may soon be called upon to lay down their lives in combatting this evil.
We pray that fear and pain do not divide us, lest the agents of terror score a victory by turning us against our own friends.
We pray for strength, courage, and hope in the struggle that lies ahead.
We pray for peace.
We pray that we shall bequeath to our children a world that is safer than the one we live in now, and cleansed of the terrible taint of prejudice.
In this way we honor the memory of all those who have perished in acts of terror and hatred.

E Pluribus Unum: We are one.
Blessed be.

My computer desk has a monitor shelf, with empty space between it and the desk surface. Friday, overgrown kitten that he is, likes to get under there and lounge behind the laptop while I'm doing whatever form of timekilling I've decided to get up to on my laptop.

A minute ago I leaned over and we shared a look. Then he started thumping his tail against the desk.

It's not like having a kid, but it's its own sort of reward sometimes.
(Well, some of them. Maybe.)

In case you've somehow managed to confine your Internet activity to reading this one LiveJournal out of the dear god how many are there now anyway, the subject of whether Joss Whedon is actually a feminist or not, and if so, how good a feminist he may be, has been the subject of discussion in many, many places. I read the batshit-insane analysis of him by one woman who, after watching an episode or two of Firefly, concluded that he must keep his wife locked in the basement or something (I wish that I could say this was exaggeration for effect, except that I'm not eaxaggerating all that much. But anyway.)

My take: I won't say that Joss isn't a feminist. But I will say that he uses some tropes that are disturbing if you think too much about them.

I'm about to digress here, but trust me, it'll have relevance later on: Some years ago, Peter David wrote an installment of his "But I Digress" column that forced me to rethink everything that I thought I knew about a specific fictional character: Red Sonja.

For the benefit of anybody unfamiliar with her, she was from a different corner of the fictional world that Conan the BArbarian existed in, and is one of the major reasons why we have the "chainmail bikini" school of fantasy art. Her major character hook was that no man could be with her unless he could defeat her in battle. Sounds pretty badass, right? That's what I thought when I first read about her, anyway.

Except that the reason she's like this is because when she was younger, she was raped. So all her ferocity, her skill with a sword and all that? IIRC, the term used to describe the origins of characters like this is Empowerment Through Rape.

Yeah. Ugh.

Which brings me back to Joss. Buffy and River are in their own way just modern (or in River's case, futuristic) Red Sonjas. Not in the same sense as, say, Hawkeye from Young Avengers (and reading Kate's originput me off the idea of buying the book, no matter ho wmuch I otherwise enjoy it), although River all but does.

Buffy is the Slayer, imbued with incredible powers that let her take on vampires and other supernatural horrors, and kill the hell out of them. Except that her powers were stolen from demons by men, who long ago forced them into a girl that they'd decided to draft into the Saving the World game. And when each Slayer died, the power forced itself on the next one in line.

River's a lot like that first Slayer, except that the group that decided that she was the one to do what needed to be done violated her physically - they cut up her brain, for god's sake - and just like Buffy, or Sonja, while she's a powerful force for good, it's only because of the crime committed against her by a bunch of men.

I still enjoy Firefly, and Buffy. But the ghost at the banquet's still there in the background, giving me looks and clearing its incorporeal throat.

Comments are welcome.



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