Thursday, 28 November 2013

Stop the Prawer Plan: Day of Rage


On  the 24th of June, the Israeli Knesset approved the so-called Prawer Palan, which if implemented will  result in the destruction of more  than 35 unrecognised villages in  Al-Nagab  in the south of the Israeli state,   and the forced expulsion and confinement of more than 70,000 Palestinian Bedouins from their ancestral homelands in the desert.
The majority of these vilages pre-date the establishment of the Israeli state, yet Israel refuses to recognise them. As the inhabitants  are non-Jewish citizens, the state has chosen to treat them as 'illegal communities', denying them essential rights and services such as connection to the electric, water and transport networks, and refusing to provide medical, postal and educational services. Israel treats construction within these villages as illegal and regularly demolishes the homes of the residents. The Israelis have demolished the village of Al-Arakib more than fifty times.

Bedouin Village of Al-Arakib being razed to the ground



This plan is the largest Israeli land-grab since 1948. It epitomises  the true nature of Israels policy of expansion and containment. Despite opposition from Bedouin leaders,  and the International communitty's repeated calls to halt  the implementation of the Prawer Plan, Israel still seems intent on pushing it through.  The UN committe  on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has also condemned  the plan saying it will 'legalise the ongoing policy off home demolitions and forced displacement of the indigenous Bedouin communities.' Also, in 2012, the European Parliament passed a resolution calling on Israel to stop the Prawer plan and its policies of forced displacement and dispossesion.
We must all as human beings, say no to the Prawer Plan, we should also note that International corporations such as Caterpillar, Hyundai, Volvo and JCB are providing the equipment that Israel uses to carry out its demolitions in the Nageb area. I would urge people to join campaigns to boycott these companies and encourage investment bodies to remove their money from them.
On 30th November their will be major mobilizations across all of Palestine as part of the Day of Rage.
During the last 2 big mobilzations against the Prawer plan on the 15th of July and August the 1st, thousands of Palestinians went to the streets in opposition to the plan.
On Saturday the International community will also be keeping up the pressure, in acts of solidarity against this draconian piece of legislation, in protests across the globe , and in individual efforts of pushing our own governments into condemning Israels actions.
The Prawer plan should not be allowed to pass, otherwise it will become yet another chapter in Palestines long and tragic history. Opposing the Prawer Plan is to say no to etnic cleansing, displacement, and confinement in the 21st Century.

No to Prawer Plan


Stop Prawer Plan Protest in the Negev - Protest and chanting

 
 
 
 
Some useful Links:-

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/prawershallnotpass

+972: http://972mag.com/tag/prawer-plan/

From the Independent: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2013/06/28/a-snapshot-of-the-lives-of-the-bedouin-tribe-of%E2%80%9Cal-araqib%E2%80%9D/



Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Harvey Milk (22/5/22/30 -27/11/78) - Give them hope.


' I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living ' - Harvey Milk

Former San Francisco  city supervisor and gay political icon Harvey Milk was assasinated 35 years ago today. Milk was the first openly gay man to hold political office in California. A popular mayor from 1977, until  he was shot dead by a former policeman and city supervisor Dan White.
After White was convicted of a much lesser  charge than murder, an enraged populace erupted in what is known as the 'White Night Riot'.
In his short time in office , Milk was able to erase some of the invisible boundaries of who could serve in office. Today I remember  him, and all others , who opened doors, that hopefully will never be closed again.
The following speech still resonates today, his dreams of a better tomorrow, with the hope for equality and a world without hate still resonates today. These were to be among  his final words, shortly after delivering it, Milk was assasinated.

Harvey Milk - Give them hope


Harvey Milk had feared  assasination, and these were the words that he released posthumously in anticipation of his tragic death.

 
 


 
 
 

SCRAP THE WCA


Another issue close to my heart.
7,000 more signatures are needed to make 100,000,
please sign and share

http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43154



Monday, 25 November 2013

Jehan Mayoux (25/11/04 - 14/7/75) - Question & Answer / Question reponse

 

Jehan Mayoux was a French Surrealist poet, teacher, pacifist, ant-militarist and libertarian. The son of anarchists, he joined theSurrealists at the end of the 1920's, and first came in contact  with Andre Breton and Paul Eluard in 1933, after sending them a surrealist game, which was published  in  Le Surrealisme au Service de la Revolution  ( Surrealism in the service of the revolution). He became a teacher and inspector of primary education. A Trade Unionist, he  engaged with the activities of the Popular Front, and was  the secretary of the Committe of the Popular Front in 1935. Called up at the start of the Second World War, he went AWOL,  refusing to heed the call of the mobilisation order, but was caught and imprisoned. He somehow managed to escape, but was recaptured again by the Germans and sent to  concentration campo in the Ukraine for 5 years. After his liberation in 1945, he returned to teaching, whilst continuing to engage in libertarian activity, and to be politically engaged, becoming involved with  the magazine  le Libertaire. After signing the Manifeste des 121 (The Manifesto of the 121) on September 21st 1921, which called on the French Government to recognise the Algerian War as a legitimate struggle for Independence, denouncing the use of torture by the French army, and for conscientious objectors to the conflict to be respected by the authorities, he was suspended from  being an Education Inspector from 1960 until 1965. He eventually retired in 1967, after which he participated in the May 1968 movement, but became dissapointed and dissillusioned  by the attitude of the unions. He was to become a friend of the Surrealist poet Benjamin Peret.
He died in 1975, leaving behind many beautiful poetical works.

Question & Answer:

When I am prison door
I offend with dynamite

When I am rabbit
I write with squid ink
When I am anvil
I will wash my clothes in the river

Or this series of images depicting the beloved:
more spiritual than the tide
wiser than hastily suicide
more naked than the foam
more discreet than the bark of thunder
quieter than Paris
gayer than a grain of salt
lighter than a knife.

Question-reponse:

Quand je serais porte de prison
je pecherai a la dynamite

Quand je serai lapin de garenne
j'ecrival avec de f'encre de seiche

Quand je senai enclume
je laveral mon linge a la riviere

ou cette suite d'images decrivant la femme aimee:
plus spirituelle que la maree
plus sage que la hate des sicides
plus  nue que le mousse
plus discrete que l'ecorce du tonnerre
plus silencieuse que Paris
plus gaie qu'un grain de sel
plus legere qu'un couteau.

Further Reading :-

Morning Star -Surrealism, Marxism, Anarchism, Situationism, Utopia;
-Michael Lowe , 2010




Saturday, 23 November 2013

Britain on the fiddle - 7 people the BBC forgot to mention!



This video exposes 7 people which the recent BBC television series have left out.




Friday, 22 November 2013

Nigel Kennedy and Mostafa Saad - Melody in the Wind



Proms in the Park 2013.....
absolutely beautiful, like an act of Love.

 

But Gaza still without Electricity, but have an abundance of hope, no fuel, gas, clean drinking water, medicines or exit to the outside world. We need to shout louder, we need to m big noise, the people of Gaza need us to tell yhe world.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Happy 60th Alan Moore (18/11/13) : Don't Let Me Die In Black and White



Today  Alan Moore, Magician and great British comic writing genius turns 60  a man who I find fascinatingly brilliant, who  gets my mind reeling every time I come across him. Because  the stuff that he untaps is really powrful stuff. Often he takes me to places and ideas that need further exploration. I also admire him because he is an intelligent propobent of radical alternative views, that help erode the staleness of false certainties and prevailing consensus.
Filmed in 1993, shortly before Alan's 40th birthday, the above film was made during the period in which Alan was conducting research into the history of Northampton for the book 'Voice of the Fire. Nothing was scripted, and there were no second takes. This edit of the film was made in 2000, and was shown to Sara Woodford at Id World, who commisioned the film 'Comic Tales with Alan Moore' for Channel 4. The title of the film comes from a line in Alan's song. 'Old Gangsters Never Die' (the Bside of 'Sinister Ducks') -If I die and god knows I might, don't let me die in black and white.'
At moment I'm sitting in my local library really wish I could pay a visit to Mr Moore's personal one, think I'd feel rather at home, with a nice cup of tea, and a spliff perhaps.. The following film 'The mindscape Of Alan Moore' I would strongly recommend to anyone who cares about Mr Moore's thoughts and ideas.
Happy 60th Mr Moore, thanks.


Will leave you today with some words from Mr Moore himself.

'I don't think people realise how vital libraries are or what a colossal danger it would be if we were to lose anymore. Having had a trunctuated school life myself, all of my education from the age of 17 has been self-taught. I wouldn't be the person I am today if it wasn't for the opportunity the library gave me - Alan Moore

'The central question is is this guy right? Or is he real? What do you the reader think about this? Which struck me as a properly anarchist solution. I didn't want to tell people what to think, I just wanted to tell people to think and consider some of these admittedly extreme little elements, which nevertheless do recurr, fairly regularly throughout human history.' -Alan Moore

'Everybody is special, everybody. Everybody is a hero, a lover, a fool, a villain. Everybody has their story to tell' - Alan Moore

There you are, if you find you've lost your own truth, go out, take a look and rediscover, remember too the tides of history forever turning.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Joe Hill ( 7/19/1879 -19/11/15) Joe Hill's Last Will



Joe  Hill the workers martyr was executed by firing squad, today on November 19th , 1915, framed for a murder that many believe he did not commit.An innocent man condemned to death for his passion. Many historians have come to recognise it as one of the worst travesties of Justice in American history. After a trial that was riddled with biased rulings and suppression of important defence evidence and other violations of judicial procedure, which was characteristic of many cases involving labour radicals. A guard reported that at about 10.pm, Joe Hill handed him a poem, through the bars of his cell. It was his last will, which has since become a prized piece of poetry in the heritage of the American Labour Movement.
Born Joel  Emmanuel Hagglund in  Sweden, he emigrated to the United States in 1902, where he changed his name to Joseph Hillstrom. After several years as an itinerant worker - a 'hobo' he joined the IWW (The International Workers of the World) .  A wobbly organiser, balladeer, he was also a man of pride, the flag that he proudly followed was was one of international solidarity.
On the same day that he was executed he sent a telegram to fellow International Worker of the World (IWW), Bill Hayword, telling him "Don't waste time mourning , Organise!" An estimated 30,000 people attended his funeral in an impressive 'singing demonstration' under the banner ' In Memorium - Joe Hill - Murdered by the Capitalist Class.  A rebel to the core, his voice still rings out loud and clear, venerated and celebrated.

Joe Hill's Last Will

My will is easy to decide
For there is nothing to divide
My kin don't need to fuss and moan
Moss does not cling to a rolling stone.

My body - Oh - If I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again
This is my last and Final Will
Good luck to all of you,

- Joe Hill




Joe Hill's Last Will - Utah Phillips


Paul Robeson - Joe Hill

( one of the most stirring, emotional versions of this song I know.)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Doris Lessing (22/10/19 - 17/11/13) - Uncompromising Spirit R.I.P


 
Nobel Prize winning novelist, short-story writer,poet, playwright, biographer has sadly passed away at the grand old age of 94. She was the author of over 55 published works of fiction, and non-fiction, a figure as iconic and inspiring as she was polarising in some quarters.
Both of her parents were British: her father, who had been crippled in World War , was a clerk in the Imperial Bank of Persia, her mother had been a nurse. In 1925, lured by the promiose of getting rich through maize farming, the family moved to the British colony in southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Like many other women from southern Africa she did not graduate from high school, but she was to make herself into a self-educated intellectual.
After moving to Britain in the 1930's, she was drawn to the like-minded members of the Left Book Club, and she joined the Communist Party. However, during the postwar years, she became increasingly diillusioned with the Communist movement, which she left altogether in 1954. By 1949, she had moved and settled in London with her young son. Her first published novel, The Grass is Singing was published in the same year, the start of a a very prolific output.
Many of her brilliant literary works take in themes in defence of freedom, third world causes and the developing world, and  often from a biographical slant, her prose  marked by its vividness and effectiveness. Her range was vast, not afraid to experiment with form, even turning her hand at science fiction,  engaging between idealism and reality. Alternative ways of seeing and living were also  themes that ran through her work, (she herlself explore sufi mysticism in the 1960's), and the exploration of human nature  being central to her words, investigating its curses in an attempt to find cures..
Her life was marked with a reputation for being a maverik and outspoken, with a refusal to compromise. Her subversive spirit meant that she pusued truth whilst maintaining her individual tongue.
In recognition of her achievement she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007, at the age of 88, becomming the oldest woman to do so, and only the 11th woman ever to recieve the prize.
This great writer was also a reluctant feminist, who was first and foremost a storyteller, loyal to the power of the written word, and her belief in it never wavered.
She "saw the Soviet Empire, Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, the British Empire, the White Supremacy of South Afica and the Southern Rhodesia." her words capturing the spirit of her time, and now as they shimmer, the spirit of ours.
Doris Lessing R.I.P

' But for a while the dance went on-
That is how it seems to me now
Slow forms moving calm through
Pools of light like  gold net on the floor.
It might have gone on, dream-like, forever.

Doris Lessing
- from Fable, 1959

' Very  few people care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few.
Very few people have guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies, or cannot be born'
-Doris Lessing - The Golden Notebook


' Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.'

Doris Lessing on Traditional Storytelling
from a 1987 BBC interview:-

 
Doris Lessing reads and discusses her work
 
 
 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Gaza without Electricity.


Gaza's main power plant  stopped working  on November 1st due to severe fuel shortages. Power cuts effect Gaza for 12-18 hours a day. The power cuts are having a serious impact on the abilities of hospitals to cope and primary healthcare clinics to provide essential services, plus sewage treatment and water filitration. This is effecting about 5,000 people. Immediate action is necessary, but this is something happens quite frequently in Gaza. it's people daily under siege.
This is the eighth day that the people of Gaza have had no street lights, sewage pumps, no hospital operating theatres, no fridges, incubators, no heaters, no lights, no power, no fuel for the power station,sanitation, health all disrupted.Their lives one of miserable toil, simply because Israel won't allow any diesel in, and the fact of life when under occupation. These people are trapped, powerless in everysense of the word. Suffering unimaginably as the leaders of our so called civilised world do nothing to help them. Why is Israel  allowed to get away with this. This siege must end.  Free Gaza, Free Palestine.Lots more information from  here:-

http://www.map-uk.org/

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Sleepwalking into Police State Britain as Tories apparently dislike opposition


Police State Britan seems possible as UK Government is about to pass legislation which will make behaviour percieved  to 'cause nuisance or annoyance' a criminal offence. Thus anyone being 'anti-tory' could be arrested.
Personally who is causing the most nuisance or annoyance in Great Britain at this moment in time. That's right the bloody Tory's.

http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/sleepwalking-further-into-police-state-britain-as-law-offers-new-powers-of-repression/

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

David Cameron calls for permanent Austerity whilst attending banquet of richness





Last night, David Cameron gave a speech at a banquet calling for permanent austerity, we should all simply get used to it, this bungling hypocrite declared, whilst dressed up in all his finery, eating and quaffing the finest food and drink imaginable. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/11/david-cameron-policy-shift-leaner-efficient-state
Speaking at the Lord Mayor's Banquet in the City of London, he said the best way to keep the cost of living down was to take " difficult decisions on public spending" to leave a " state we can afford".
He said all this while his life of comfort doe not change one  a bit, while the rest of us are forced between heating our homes and eating. There he stood standing behind a gold speech stand,  surrounded by all the vestiges of wealth and  the disproportion that  it brings.
I can almost hear him sniggering 'yay to austerity,' but I also believe  he is simply beyond the pale, completely out of touch,  and after stuffing his face, his shirt it seems could no longer take the pressure and his shirt buttons popped open.


 His words are hollow and empty,  we have to kick him and  his consorts out as soon as possible bfore he creates even more damage. We have to shout NO to austerity, kick out the Tories Now. Enough is enough.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Haymarket Martyr's Anniversary



Today November 11 1887,  the Haymarket martyrs were hanged, wrongfully convicted  for the deaths of  eight police during a Chicago labor rally.
The Haymarket affair refers to the aftermath of a bombing that took at a labor demonstration on Tuesday May 4, 1886, at Haymarket Square in Chicago. It began as a peaceful rally in support of workers striking  for an eight hour day, but the police  then attempted to break up the public gathering. An unknown person threw a bomb at police as they acted to disperse the meeting. The bomb blast and ensuring gunfire resulted in the death of seven police officers and at least four civilians.
This was a time of mass strikes and demonstrations and violent repression by the police. The demonstrators were calling for greater power and economic security and the overthrow of capitalism, and were gaining much popular support, a reason why their were some who wanted to destroy the movement.
 Four unarmed strikers had been shot and killed the day previously, and there were believed to be many spies and infiltrators among the strikers, and to this day many believe the Haymarket martyrs were used as scapegoats to stoke up division and resentment.
The next day martial law was declared, not just in Chicago but throughout the nation. Anti labor governments across the world used the Chicago incident to crush local union movements. Labor leaders were rounded up, houses were entered without search warrants and union newspapers were closed down
Inevitably anarchists were rounded up, and treated to what today would be termed rough justice, with August Spies, Albert Parsons, Adolph Fischer and George Engel being executed. A fifth, 23 ear old Louis Lingg killed himself in his cell the night before.
Engel, Fischer, Parsons and Spies were taken to the gallows in white robes and hoods. They sang the Marsellaise, then the anthem of the international revolutionary movement. According to witnesses , in the moments before the men were hanged .Spies shouted, " The time will come when our silence, will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today!" Witnesses reported that the condemned men did not die immediately when they dropped, but strangled to death slowly, a sight which left the speakers visibly shaken.
250,000 people lined Chicago's streets during Parsons funeral procession, with the executions eliciting an international outcry.
The Haymarket affair is now generally considered significant as the origin of the International May Day observances for workers,  when in July 1889, a delegate from the American Federation of Labor recommended at a Labor conference in Paris that May 1  be set aside as International Labour Day n memory of the Haymarket martyrs and the injustice metered out to them, and has become a powerful reminder of the international struggle for workers rights, that I for one try not to forget.


Remembering the Haymarket Affair





Sunday, 10 November 2013

Remember Me -Curtis D Bennett


Curtis D Bennet of Lawrence, Kansas was a military pilot and served in the marines during the vietnam war in 1968. He is also an outsstanding modern war poet. His poems are powerful , incisive, sometimes shockimng, deeply thoughtful and deeply felt. Here I reprint this poem to reflect a different mode, on today Rememberance Sunday.
Today I remember the hundreds of million slaughtered by swords, bombs and guns, vaporised into shadows on broken walls, the innocent lost, the propoganda, that dishonours peoples lives, the plunder and the carnage,  histories full of lies and deceit.
Heddwch/peace,

Remember Me

I was once the pride of this country,
The healthy, the young, the strong and brave,
Then I quickly became the acceptable casualty
In my country's undeclared war
In the name of national interest,
A country where I was too young to vote!

I went because I was still too young
to know any better, though others
Cleverly refused or ran away to hide.
I never once dreamed my own government
Would ever lie to its own people,
But I was mistaken and they did for years.

I fought their war in a hell for one year
Then came home and found another hell
Awaiting from thevery people and country
who determined I go in the first place
Then their war, suddenly became mine,
And I was the converted scapegoat!

Today, I am the broken bodies and minds
Shunted off out of sight, behind heavy doors
Of VA hospitals and mental wards to die
I am in wheel chairs and braces, in hospital beds;
I walk the streets, I wander the railroad tracks,
I sleep beneath the stars.




Thursday, 7 November 2013

Albert Camus (7/11/13 - 4/1/60) - His Enduring Appeal



A 100 years  after his birth, and more than half  a century after his untimely death, Albert Camus still resonates with the modern world. On 4 January, 1960, this writer, intellectiual, and absurdist philosopher skidded of the road  whilst a passenger in a car, and was killed instantly.
On all accounts  he was of  a sensitive nature, a seeker of maximum unity. An admirer of revolutionary syndicalism, anarchists, conscientious objectors, and all manner of rebels. Standing against totalitarianism in the form of Stalinism and fascism, and was never afraid to speak his truth.
Born in extreme poverty, in French ruled Algeria, to an illiterate mother who was partially deaf, who lost his father in the horror that was  World War 1, despite tremendous disadvantages by the age of 44 he was collecting the Nobel Prize for literature.
At the time his philosophical writings, which  continued the themes explored in his novels - the absurdity of the human condition and the necessity of rebelling against it, were not popular with critics, but his words and their power live on. Does the realization of the absurd reguire suicide? " No" Camus answered it requires revolt. " The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart."
Long have I been an admirer of this man who was not afraid to preach justice, to reconsider his stance, to take candour and reflect, to be as honest as he thought best .After all there is no authority but yourself.
With this year being  his centenary year, I am sure  there will be a renaissance of interest in this great man, this visionary of the absurdity of life,  who expressed so articulately  that human life  is rendered ultimately meaningless by the fact of death, his themes of the alienated stranger, or outsider, the rebel in revolt,  tempered by his own experience,  showing us the readers, the individuals paths where  we can truly be free.
He has undoubtedly become one of the most profoundly original thinkers of the modern age. For him the urge to revolt was one of the ' essential dimensions' of the human race, seen in man's continuous struggle against the conditions of his existence, through solidarity and our shared humanity.
It was his persistent efforts 'to illuminate the problem of the human conscience in our time' that were one of the main reasons he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1957, and I for one am very grateful to have discovered his enduring words, that  continue to flow with inspiration.

" Thus I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion" -  from, Albert Camus's famous celebrated essay The Myth of Sisyphus.

An earlier post with more biographical detail can be read here :-

Albert Camus - The Smoking Philosopher

http://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/albert-camus-71113-4160-smoking.html


Pictures and Quotes from Albert Camus
 

Albert Camus - The Man who made thinking cool;
music by the Velvet Underground


Camus and the Stranger ( Rare BBC documentary)

 
 





Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Autumn Rhythm


          
                         Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm; 1950 

Crossing the Bridge of sighs,
I return home to write,
to fill in blank pages,
with vapours of love and rage,
shadows pass, intervening with time,
holding on and letting go,
in moments of silent whisper.
Winter wraps around my breath,
drifting over autumns flight,
dreams drift, vast and unbound,
releasing immaculate flames of hope.
The daily surge of passion,
undertakes its sustaining journey,
as meanings wake from cavernous sleep,
relinquishing visions of intent and faith,
into the lifeblood of growing destination,
and the kiss of tomorrow's promise.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bonfire of Austerity


I know that I'm not the only one effected by depression, but on this day November the 5th, 2013, at least I am safe in the warm environs of a West Walian library. But I really wish I could have mustered up some energy, and taken to the streets, to join other people who really have had enough, as this manufactured austerity rings and their darkness implodes, I commend people now full of indignation, burning bright with rage.
Today hundreds of anti-austerity campaigners will converge on Westminster Bridge, to express anger at the the failed government  economic policies. To protest against the Tory's continued assault on the very fabric of the state, and on the most vulnerable members of society, in particularly the poor, the ill, the unemployed and the disabled.
Parallell protests will be taking place all across Britain as part of the 'Bonfire of Austerity' which was initially set up  by the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity initiativehttp://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/. These actions are supported by more than 25 groups including trade unions and pressure groups , and will see giant energy bills set on fire to highlight the growing living costs and falling wages which are now the sharpest in Europe.
The mainstream media will probably avoid reporting it, but the spirit of dissent lives on. People raging with defiance against a government that simply does not give a ****.
Anonymous are also getting involved with their own 'Million Mask March' campaign http://millionmaskmarch.org/locations. Am sure it will be a blast.

 Gil Scot Herons might have  said 'The Revolution will not be televised', but enough is enough the people cry, remember, remember the 5th of November.

.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Anna Kavan (10/4/01 -5/12/68) - On Truth


Recently discovered the work of Anna Kavan. Born Helen Woods, in Cannes, France. Kavan was the main character in her novel Let Me Alone.
A lifelong heroin addict she adopted the name after a spell in  asylums in Switzerland and England.
As well as being  a writer, she was also a talented painter and interior designer.
Her early writings were fairly conventional, but after changing her name, her works took on a more transformative air. Apparently she also used to daily take amphetimines whilst writing.
Her books seem to weave between a fevered imagination that finds their way into her often unclassifiable books, that are  filled with hauntingly surreal magical landscapes. They contain an otherworldly strangeness that I like a lot.
She was to become an influence on writers as diverse as Doris Lessing, J.G. Ballard, Anais Nin and Jean Rhys.
She was sadly  found dead in her London home clutching a syringe. If you have not read her previously, I strongly recommend you checking her out.

Stark Vision - detail from self-portrait by Anna Kavan


The following is an extract from her 1947 book ( a classic in my humble opinion) Sleep Has  His house.

' TRUTH, it's everything. The man who said, What is truth?  certainly touched on a big subject. The  truth of the matter is that there's far too much truth in the world. The world, from whichever you observe it, is altogether too full of truth. It isn't easy to recognise this truth in the first place, but it's impossible ever to ignore it once it's been grasped.
Every single possibility or impossibility is true somewhere to someone at some time. It's true that the earth is as round as an orange and as flat as a pankcake. It's true that the wicked island goddess Ragda is a good goddess when she takes off her mask. Black magic on top, white magic underneath. That proves that black's whit, doesn't it?
It's true that the idea odf America is a bright and shining thing in the mind. It's true that the idea of America is a crude and brutal land inhabited by adolescents and gangsters.
Defeatism's true; war's true. So's idealism and the hope of a better society. You pay your money and you take your choice. Civilisation's gone down the drain. Utopia's just round the corner.
It's true that civilization marches on: atomic energy plus universal war. The Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah; H.M.V, recording. That's a truth, although universal war. There's the truth that you go to bed with and the truth that wakes you up at three o'clock in the morning when the tigers are jumping up and down on the roof and eternity is flapping at the earth like somebody shaking a rug. the truth of loving and hating, being an extrovert and an introvert, a success and a failure, travelling all over the world, living your whole life in one place, having security, accepting all risks. Then there's the truth that you find with the dirty glasses stacked in the sink. That's a different sort of truth.
Books continue to be written in one truth and read in another. The radio announces various kinds of truth to suit every listener. Atomic warfare is true and so is the Sermon ofon the Mount. Truth is everywhere, in eveything, all the time. That's why it's true. It's true that all this is obvious and has been said often before. That truth's as true as any other truth too.'
 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Primo Levi (31/7/19 - 11/4/87) - If This is a Man


( dedicated this  new year morning to Ian Duncan Smith) 

You who live safe
In your warm houses
you who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:

Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud,
Who does not know peace,
Who fights for a scrap of bread,
Who dies because of a yes or a no.
Consider if this is  a woman
Without hair and without name,
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter.

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children.

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.