Friday, 18 April 2014

Walt Whitman (31/5/1819 -26/3/1892) - This is what you shall do.

" This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Happy Easter/Eostre


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Why I support Palestinian Prisoners Day

Today April 17th is Palestinian Prisoners Day, a global day of action demanding justice for all Palestinian prisoners. There are demonstrations happening all over Palestine and in many places across the world.
More  than 800,000 Palestinians including children, have been kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel sice 1967, while at least 5,000 Palestinians are currently held by Israel. Everyday arrests are made targetting both men and women, adults and minors of varying ages.
These arrests do not target any certain demographic or age group, instead, they target all aspects of the Palestinian Society, including children, seniors, women, men, officials, ministers, legislators, political leaders, union leaders, disabled Palestinians, students, intellectuals, poets and artists.
There are 19 Palestinian women and 200 children who are still imprisoned by Israel in addition to hundreds of children who grew up and became adults while in prison.

Israel is still holding captive 185 Palestinians under arbitrary Administation orders without charge, eleven elected legislators and dozens  of political officials.More than 1,400 Palestinians need medical attention but are, instead, denied the needed medical treatment.
Administrative Detention is the "Unknown enemy" which the detainees face, as it is a punishment without charge, without indictment. Administrative Detainees are held without trial. Neither they or their lawyers are allowed to defend themselves simply because they face what Israel calls a 'secret file' that no one is allowed to see. Each arbitrary order is usually for 1 to 6 months, but are repeatedly renewed and, in many cases, just as the detainees are about to step out of prison, they are then informedof a new order, often spending months and years under such orders without even knowing when, or if, they will ever be freed.
The memory of Palestinian Prisoners day comes this year while the Palestinian people still suffer systematic Israeli violations against them and their familiesthrough the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
G4S is still profiting from Israel's illegal detention and torture of Palestinians. G4S is British/Danish company that services Israeli prisons and checkpoints.
I hope that the international community will continue to take effective measures to ensure that Israel releases unlawfully detained prisoners and ensures that conditions of arrest are consistent with international human rights and humanitarian law.


Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Israel : Lift 'Ludicrous' restrictions on whistleblower Vanunu a decade after release he is still not free.

(from Press release from Amnesty International)

Ten years after serving a full sentence for his revelations to the press about Israel's nuclear weapons programme, Mordechai Vanunu still faces severe restrictions that arbitrarily infringes on his freedom of movement, expression and associaton, said Amnesty International. The former nuvlear technician served an 18-year prison sentence, the first 11 of which were in solitary confinement for disclosing information to journalists about Israel's nuclear arsenal during the 1980s. Since his release in 2004, renewable military orders, have placed Mordechai Vanunu under police supervision. Among  other things, he is banned from leaving the country and participating in internet chats. He must also seek permission to communicate with any foreign nationals, including journalists. "The authorities continued punishment of Mordechai Vanunu appears to be purely vindictive. The government's arguments that these severe restrictions are necessary for national security are ludicrous," said Avner Gidron, Senior Policy Adviser at Amnesty International

Read more from press release here :-

On 21 April 2014 it will be 10 years since Mordechai walked out  of Ashkelon to cheering supporters from around the world. It should also be noted that Mordechai's initial revelations, were not given to the enemy, but to newspapers, in an attempt to protect his own people, the region and the world against great danger, he has served his time most of it in solitary confinement, with civilised justice a prisoner who has served his time is back in society, but Vanunu itseems is being punished again and again.
It seems  that the Israeli establishment cannot forgive Mordechai his act of honesty and, shamefully, the international community has done nothing to support Mordechai as one of the few men who risked his freedom for peace in the Middle East as a man of peace and conscience.
A traitor to some a hero to others, one thing is clear he has served his time , it's time to let him get on with his life.
As 21April approaches UK Vanunu supporters are planning and hoping to raise his profile and the fact that he is still being held in Israel against his wishes. He is still being harassed and  his current status falls very short of being a free man.

There is already one petition circulating entitled:

We are not free until Vanunu is free

(Please sign it below)

I Am Your Spy- Mordechai Vanunu

I am the clerk, the technician, the mechanic, the driver.
They said, do this, do that, don't look left or right,
don't read the text. Don't look at the whole machine. You
are ony responsible for this one bolt. For this one rubber-stamp.
This is your only concern. Don't bother with what is above you.
Don't try to think for us. Go on, drive. Keep going. On, on.

So they thought, the big ones, the smart ones, the futurologists.
There is nothing to fear. Not to worry.
Everything's ticking just fine.
Our little clerk is a diligent worker. He's a simple mechanic.
He's a little man.
Little men's ears don't hear, their eyes don't see.
We have heads, they don't.

Answer them, said he to himself, said the little man,
the man with a head of his own. Who is in charge? Who knows
where this train is going?
Where is their head? I too have a head.
Why do I see the whole engine,
Why do I see the precipice--
is there a driver on this train?

The clerk driver technician mechanic looked up.
He stepped back and saw -- what a monster.
Can't believe it. Rubbed his eyes and - yes,
it's there all right. I'm all right. I do see
the monster. I'm part of the system.
I signed the form. Only now I am reading the rest of it.

This bolt is part of a bomb. This bolt is me. How
did I fail to see, and how do the others go on
fitting bolts. Who else knows?
Who has seen? Who has heard? The emperor really is naked.
I see him. Why me? It's not for me. It's too big.

Rise and cry out. Rise and tell the peopkle. You can.
I, the bolt, the technician, mechanic? Yes, you.
You are the secret agent of the peopkle. You are the eyes of the nation.
Agent-spy, tellus what you've seen. Tell us what the insiders, the clever ones
have hidden from us.
Without you, there is only the precipice. Only catastrophe.

I have no choice. I'm a little man, a citizen, one of the people,
but I'll do what I have to. I've heard the voice of my conscience
and there's nowehere to hide.
The world is small, small for Big Brother.
I'm on your mission. I'm doing my duty. Take it from me.

Come and see yourselves. Lighten my burden. Stop the train.
Get of the train. The next stop - nuclear disaster. The next book,
the next machine. No. There is no such thing.

1987, Ashkelon Prison

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Vittorio Arrigoni Remembered (4/2/75 -15/4/11)

Today I also remember Italian Vittorio Arrigoni,a dedicated peace activist, journalist and freedom fighter for Palestine. From  his arrival until his murder on the 15th of April 2011, Vittorio stayed in Gaza to work with the International Solidarity Movement there, where he attended regular demonstrations, helping both farmers and fishermen, also volunteering in hospitals and ambulances, and helped  document the countless Israeli crimes against humanity that he witnessed. Vittorio also stayed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, which massacred hundreds of unarmed civilians. His daily dispatches during those three weeks, during which 1.400 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians, were published in 2010 in a book titled Gaza:Stay Human, which was translated into English by Daniela Flippin with an introduction by Israel historian and dissident Ilan Pappe. 
Here was a man sadly killed by sectarian forces, his murder an outrage, one of of enormous tragedy. He lived and died expressing his solidarity with the Palestinians, this was a man who loved Gaza, it's land, it's sea and it's sky. A huge inspiration, brave and defiant.
He embodied  a certain spirit of the European anti-fascists of the 1930's and 1940's, who went to fight and die as partisans in Italy and Spain. In his own words he said " My granfathers fought and died struggling against an occupation, another occupation. It was the Nazi-Fascist one. For this reason, probably, in my DNA, there are particles that push me to struggle for human rights and freedom."
Long before   he had embraced the Palestinians cause he had been involved  in human rights issues.
Here was a man, that seemed to me to  define the spirit of humanity, who also  used to also  say "The winner is a dreamer who never gives up." He remains a hero to the people of Palestine.
I hope his great spirit is not forgotten.

" We must remain human, even in the most difficult times, because depite everything, there must allways be humanity within us. We have to bring it to others." - Vittorio Arrigoni

Vittorio Arrigoni - Staying Human


Hillsborough Disaster: 25 years on

It was on this day April 15, 1989 that 96 Liverpool supporters went to a game of football and never came back. The terrrible events of that day at Hillsborough remain as heartbreaking now as they were 25 years ago.
Today bells will ring 96 times around the city of Liverpool at 3.06, the moment the match was halted. A minutes silence will be observed.After all these, despite Prime Minister  David Cameron  finally aplogising for the cover up attempt by police, investigators and the media, many  people are still searching for answers. 25 years later there have still been no criminal charges against any individual or group on the supposed grounds of insufficient evidence.
On this anniversary, my thoughts go  out to the familis of the 96, Liverpool Football Club and the City of Liverpool.

Post from last year including Carol Ann Duffy Poem on the subject.

Monarchy Monster

In response to the horrendous daily onslaughts of  yet another odious BBC report on Kate and Will and little georgy porgy. Enjoying another 'public funded holiday' while the rest of us suffer from cutbacks. To be honest I'd rather they stay down under, their welcome to them.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Nick Drake - Pink Moon

I saw it written and I saw it say
Pink moon is on it's way
And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon
Hey, it's a pink moon
It's a pink, pink, pink, pink, pink moon

I saw it written and I saw it say
Pink moon is on it's way
And none  of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get you all
It's a pink moon
Yeah, it's a pink moon

So later on  Tuesday morning, will be the first full moon after the vernal equinox, not sure if I will see anything over the skies of West Wales,  but will keep my eyes peeled. According to the Farmers Almanac ' it is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.Tomorrow's is also a total lunar eclipse, giving it the additional name of ' Blood Red Moon'. The name Pink Moon derives from the Native American name for the full moon that takes place in April coming from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is  one of the earliest flowers  to bloom in springtime. The native Americans used phrases and cycles of the moon, to keep track of the changing seasons. Pink Moon, so happens to be one of my favourite songs by the late great Nick Drake.
In some parts of the world now is the time to plant and in other parts of the world it is time to harvest those rewards. A time it is said when the Earth, Sun and Moon  will align. I am not one for prophesy, but there are those that say, that under a Pink Moon, it could be part of significant change in World history too. Personally I quite like  the influence of the old moon, but if we really want to grasp some change, I think  we as a people have a long way to go, but together we can keep pushing, for some real, significant social change.