Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Gerdo Taro (1/6/10 -26/7/37) - Pioneering Photojournalist of the Spanish Civil War

Today I pause to remember an exceptional photographers, who blazed new paths for women in photography, who contributed a unique and unusual body of work, and died sadly far too young.
Gerda Taro was born as Gerta Pohorylle  on 1 August, 1910 to a middle class Jewish family who had migrated from Poland to Stuttgart, Germany. she attended the Königin-Charlotte Realschule in Stuttgart, the Internat Villa Florissant in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Höhere Handelsschule (Business College) in Stuttgart, and the Gaudig Schul in Leipzig.
As oppression of Jews and other groups became a matter of national policy, Gerta Pohorylle became more political. One night on her way to a dance she stopped to help some activists distribute anti-Nazi pamphlets. She was subsequently arrested and spent the night in jail, where she drew attention for being the only inmate dressed in evening wear. In 1933, after Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor,and made life for many Jews inhospitable  and rsiky  her family decided to leave Germany. Her parents left for Palestine, her brothers for England. Pohorylle decided to flee to Paris.Here she was first employed as a secretary to the psychoanalyst René Spitz. She would find work as a picture editor for Alliance Photo, an international picture agency. She met another displaced Jew, a young Hungarian man his name was André Friedmann. Pohorylle and Friedmann became romantically involved and moved in together. In the spring of 1936, they reinvented themselves as Robert Capa and Gerda Taro.Capa taught Taro how to photograph, she made him presentable for employers and created his “brand”.
In 1936 civil war erupted in Spain. Fascist/Nationalist forces, backed by Nazi Germany, attempted a coup against the elected government of the Republic, comprised of socialist and liberal parties. As steadfast socialists, Capa and Taro left Paris and headed for Spain to cover the war.From August 1936 on, her brief career consisted almost exclusively of dramatic photographs from the front lines of the Spanish Civil War. Taro worked alongside Capa, and the two collaborated closely.They both captured arresting images of the devastation hitting the country; torturous conditions in hospitals, militiawomen training for combat, children playing on barricades, morgues and munitions factories in Madrid, but most shocking were the photos taken from the frontline. These images were then sent to leftist publications back in France, however the photo credit was always simply ‘Capa’.

                                 Gerda Taro and soldier, Córdoba front, 1936. By Robert Capa   

Taro's work over time got overshadowed by that of  Capra, and their lives since have come to represent a romantic vision of the stateless person involving themselves in terrible battles: the social battles, the political battles of the time However he had a different aesthetic than Capa, her pictures are much more posed, using strong camera angles. Capa was much more into movement.As she chronicled the Spanish Civil War, she spotlighted the small and intimate moments that humanized the conflict: Among the memorable pictures that survive by her are ones of defiant farmers, fists clenched, photographed from audacious angles, photographs of strong Republican militia women training on the beach outside Barcelona in 1936,

A photograph  of a solitary soldier playing bugle against a backdrop of sky;

 a young boy standing near a trench, wearing the cap of the FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation) looking ready to join the fight.

Perhaps most famous is her silhouette of a woman with a pistol, down on one knee and concentrating furiously on her shot… yet wearing impeccable high heels. Like many of Taro's wartime images, it's an incredibly memorable shot.

 When viewing her photographs you don’t feel like a spectator; on the contrary, you feel like a participant involved with the action. Taro believed photographs were a powerful medium which could influence public opinion.
On 5 September, 1936. Taro and Capa accompanied some Loyalist volunteers on field manoeuvres near Cordoba. The manoeuvre were unexpectedly interrupted when they were ambushed by Nationalist troops. Taro had already used up all her film; Capa, however, shot the photograph that made him famous the photo that has been called the greatest war photograph of all time. It shows a Loyalist soldier a split second after he has been shot.

When she returned from the front, Taro traded in her bulky Rolleiflex medium format camera for a small Leica. She abandoned the use of more posed photographs that could be viewed as excercises in propoganda and began to shoot in a journalistic style. She and Capa believed the only way to document the realities of war was to be as close to it as possible. "That is really the only way in which to be able to understand the fighting," Taro told a colleague. Capa’s comment on that approach is more widely quoted: "If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough." Taro lived that approach. With or without Capa, Taro was everywhere in Spain, and started to put herself in increasingly dangerous situations, always seeking the action. She covered the failed Loyalist offensive of the Navacerrada Pass, which was later the subject of Ernest Hemingway’s novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. She accompanied a team of dinamiteros, bomb-makers, on a mission in Madrid. She always sought out the locations where something was happening or about to happen.She is believed to be the first woman photographer to accompany troops into combat.The republican fighters had great respect for her.


Gerda Taro spent the last day of her life in the trenches of Brunete, west of Madrid, holed up with Republican fighters.It was a critical moment in the Spanish Civil War - Gen Franco's forces had just retaken the town, inflicting heavy losses on the Republicans' best troops, who were now under fire as they retreated.As bombs fell and planes strafed the ground with machine-gun fire, Taro kept taking photographs.
She was due to return to France the next day and only left the trenches when she ran out of film, making her way to a nearby town.She jumped onto the running boards of a car transporting wounded soldiers, but it collided with an out-of-control tank and she was crushed. She tragically died in hospital from her injuries early the following morning.The war that made Taro's career also took her life. She was just 26 years old.She became the first female war photographer to die on assignement.Her photographs from that day, 25 July 1937, were never found. 
Her funeral in Paris (on Aug. 1, 1937, which would have been her 27th birthday) drew thousands who hailed her as a martyr to anti-Fascism. The French writer Louis Aragon and the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda were among those in attendance. Alberto Giacometti, the sculptor, designed her memorial.A few years later this celebrated photographer had sunk into obscurity, her negatives lost and few remembering her work, overshadowed by Capa's monumental reputation within twentieth century  photography.However a recent discovery of a vast collection of Capa and Taro's photographs,known as the Mexican Suitcase and  recently exhibited in the US, France and Spain, has served to highlight her well.Taro helped expose the bloody price the fascist forces imposed on the Spanish people.

Taro’s photographs – taken in Valencia in 1937 a few weeks after the infamous Guernica raid as painted by Picasso – are so close to you that you could almost touch the bodies and smell the blood! They are truly shocking, honest and direct accounts of the price of fascism. 

Regardless of personal risk, she became a tireless witness to the Spanish civilian atrocities and terror. Ssentially, her fight against fascism was existential, based on her immediate experiences.Found decades later, her photos have now been exhibited, demonstrating the depth she achieved in a short career. Capa was devastated by the loss of his soul mate, feeling guilty that he didn’t protect her, although he couldn’t have. He decided to travel to China in 1938 and then to New York in 1939, photographing World War II, the landing of American troops on Omaha beach on D-Day—which are the source of his most well known photographs, the liberation of Paris, and the Battle of the Bulge as a European correspondent. his relationship with Ms. Taro was “a very painful private matter,”he never quite recovered from the loss of his great love and never married he also never attempted to officially commemorate her except in his book “Death in the Making,” about the Spanish Civil War.
We are fortunate many years later to understand now the scope and scale of her work and the incredible bravery she must have shown on the battleground that was Spain. Taro is part of a small pantheon of women photographers who saw photography as an extension of their political commitment and of their role as new women. Let us forever remember her work and pioneering life
her name again in public consciousness, lets not lose her memory to history, or forget others like her who put themselves in incredibly dangerous situations for the sake of their art.Perhaps we can all surely aspire, to some degree, to the tight fit between conviction and existence that Taro, in her brief tragic life, achieved.

                                                  Gerdo Taro Sleeping by Robert Capo

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Daylight Robbery

The term "daylight robbery" isn't actually used to describe actual robberies - whatever time of day they might take place. It is a figurative phrase that associates an instance of unfair trading with actual robbery. Not just any old robbery, but one so unashamed and obvious that it is committed in broad daylight.It is thought to have originated from the window tax as it was described by some as a "tax on light". 
The Window Tax was introduced in 1696, during the reign of William III, when Britain was burdened with expenses from The Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the costs of re-coinage necessitated by the "miserable state" of existing coins, which had been reduced by clipping small portions of the high grade silver coins. It was levied at two shilling on properties with up to ten windows, rising to four shillings for houses with between ten and twenty windows. It was extremely unpopular and to avoid paying the tax some houses from the period can be seen to have windows bricked-up.
The Window tax was abolished in England and Wales on this day 24th July 1851. But "daylight robbery continued . The capitalism of the 18th and 19th century was built on the piracy and slavery of the 16th and 17th. Millions of pounds of gold, silver and spices plundered from the "New World" financed the basis of the banking and trade system. One of the first commodities to be traded was human beings. Slavery played a vital in the early years of capitalism. Many English titled families of today owe their knighthoods and dukedoms to this sordid trade.
And some will argue that  the current day-to-day running of the system is daylight robbery. A worker's wages only represent a fraction of the value of his/her labour. The rest flows into the boss's pocket. This was what Proudhon meant by the oft quoted "property is theft", and the system continues to be run to ensure that we slave our lives away so that the rich can get richer in what amounts to daily robbery. Then there is the case of Sir Phillip Green  who shamelessly indulged in all forms of perfectly legal daylight robbery, Phillip Green bought BHS for £200m in 2000. When he bought it, the BHS pension fund had a surplus of £5m, rising to £12m in 2001. Now the same pension fund is suffering a black hole of £571m, and BHS as a whole owes debts of £1.3billion.
Green used its initial success to finance his takeover of the Arcadia group (which includes Top Shop) in 2002. He then proceeded to essentially rob it of a fortune, using BHS assets to back loans for other businesses in his Arcadia empire; handing out £422m in dividends (mostly to himself) over two years; above all, dodging Corporation Tax by gifting his Monaco-based wife, Tina, a mind-boggling £1.2billion in 2005. All this helped Philip and Tina amass a personal fortune currently standing at £3.22billion.
Having used and abused it for his own bounty hunt, Green then dumped the ailing BHS (and its pension fund) on a three-times bankrupt, Dominic Chappell, whose Retail Acquisitions Ltd had barely been heard of previously - for a derisory £1, in March 2015. 11,000 workers were left abandoned facing an uncertain future , facing the job centre but for their former boss Green just another day in paradise. From the lofty sundeck on his latest plaything, Sir Philip, dubbed Philip Greed,  can be found surveying the new £100million jewel in his fleet of three superyachts.
He flew into Malta the other day by private jet to join his tax exile wife Lady Tina on board.

I guess we should continue to stand guard against daylight Robbery that takes place before our eyes, the wrecking ball of capitalism that is effecting peoples lives..
But the problem is that we live in a society where capitalism itself has become rampantly feral. Feral politicians who cheat on their expenses, feral bankers who plunder the public purse for all its worth, CEOs, hedge fund operators and private equity geniuses who loot the world of wealth, telephone and credit card companies load mysterious charges on everyone’s bills, shopkeepers who price gouge, and, at the drop of a hat swindlers and scam artists who get to practice three-card monte right up into the highest echelons of the corporate and political world.
A political economy of mass dispossession, of predatory practices to the point of daylight robbery, particularly of the poor and the vulnerable, the unsophisticated and the legally unprotected, has become the order of the day. I strongly recommend Naomi Klein's book The shock doctrine : The rise of disaster capitalism which explores the complexities of capitalism and the effects of it's daylight robbery much better than I ever could. On that note, after seriously depressing myelf, I'm off  for a smoke, and to catch the evening light. Good evening.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Marvin Gaye's seminal masterpiece - What's Going On

Last week I heard that What’s Going On, one of the most enduring albums of all time, would be getting a documentary made about it,https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/jul/13/marvin-gaye-family-approve-whats-going-on-documentary  The album What’s Going On remains one of my all time favourites, have a copy on vinyl and cd, a tightly woven masterpiece of message and music, mixing and matching many styles; soul, funk, doo-wop, jazz, spiritual, and classical; often within the same song. Somehow, Marvin Gaye transformed what could have been a heavy-handed rant against the state of the world into a cry for compassion, with songs of faith and hope, captured in beautiful, complex rhythms and music.
Released on May 21, 1971, the album is an introspective, politically charged nine-piece song cycle in it Gaye addresses the ravages of the Vietnam War, drug addiction, poverty, civil unrest, police brutality, injustice and even environmental issues.
Gaye was singing to his generation in an effort to wake people up to the struggles no one was willing to discuss at that time. But these songs are universal; they've transcended their time and place. Listen carefully and you'll notice how much they still resonate. In days like these full of agitation and confusion it still has the capacity to soothe and question at the same time.
 Marvin Gaye's title track was message music with a difference. It was an overture and an anthem. From its warm greetings between black men to the steady slap and patter of the congas; and with Gaye's vocals, which glided from sorrow into soaring at the bridge ;"What's Going On" was and still is a poetic plea for justice and contemplation within black communities. (The whole world could stand to tune in, as well.) Forty-four years ago, Gaye found a way to offer up a prayer in the form of a powerful question with an equally ringing affirmation.
The record as a whole remain astonishing, have had it on playing over and over, this afternoon whilst I've been writing this post. What's Going On was I guess the first soul album to finally catch up with the musical and counter-cultural movement that developed in the late sixties. Against the wishes of Motown and it's leader, Berry Gordy, Marvin Gaye moved forward with an album that was finally able to encompass the conciousness of his generation.
The album remains in my ears incredible. There's no other way to describe it. Marvin Gaye set his sights high and completely succeeded. It's gotta be one of the most definite albums to have emerged from the soul genre.It still remains an album about the people, for the people. From track to track it flows so well, full of beauty and atmosphere and valid social critique. It really is essential listening. Music for now. Still highly relevant and relatable. Marvin Gaye's message from the point of a dismayed man who believes love – not more hatred and violence – is the answer still hits the spot for me everytime. Have a listen, delve in deep, enjoy, heddwch/peace.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Hollow Point: Remembering the death of Jean Charles de Menezes with beautiful Song by Chris Wood

Jean Charles de Menezes a 27 year old Brazilian was shot today July 22nd 2005 by armed police or special forces on high alert following the London bombings of July 7th 2005 and some failed bombing attempts on July 21st.
It has been suggested that these events predisposed the police to shoot first and ask questions later, though the inquest jury was unable to decide on that issue. The end result was an innocent man was shot in the head several times at close range and lay dead, for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A killing since declared lawful according to the European Court for Human Rights http://www.rt.com/uk/337730-de-menezes-court-ruling/ 
 a ruling that came as a huge blow to his family who had to endure a long legal battle and fight to achieve justice.Mr de Meneze's cousin Patricia da Silva said :" We had hoped that the ruling would give a glimmer of hope, not only to us, but  to all other families who had been denied the right to justice after deaths at the hands of the police.We find it unbelievable that our innocent cousin could be shot seven times in head by the Metropolitan police when he had done nothing wrong and yet the police have not had to account for their actions.As we have always maintained, we feel that decisions about guilt and innocence should be made by juries, not by faceless bureaucrats and we are deeply saddened that we have been denied that opportunity yet again. We will never give up our fight for justice for our beloved Jean Charles."
Harriet Wistrich, solicitor for the Menezes family said,at the time “This is a very disappointing decision for a family who have fought for the last eleven years to get justice and accountability although we are pleased to note that there were four of the 17 judges who dissented."This judgement will do nothing to counter a widely held belief – particularly among marginalised communities – that there is one standard for the police and another for the general public."
Between 1990 and 2015, there were 995 deaths in police custody or following police contact and 55 fatal shootings by police officers in the UK, but there has not been a single conviction of a police officer as a result of any of these deaths. To some, this is evidence of deplorable impunity; to others, instead it proves that the police perform an at times unfathomably difficult job while acting within the (criminal) law. What is beyond question is that this statistic can only enhance the sense of injustice felt by the families of those who lose their lives at the hands of the police.
There is a mosaic of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell station that continues to serve as a memorial to the tragic death of an innocent man at the hands of the Metropolitan Police.
I will mark his memory today with the following poignant song by the Folk singer and musician Chris Wood, called Hollow Wood his 2010 album Handmade Life, it really is quite beautiful and serves Jean de Menezes memory well  in it there is pathos, tension, a climax and many contrasts between the innocence of the victim, the failures of the police and their technology and the inevitability of the end when the full force of the police machinery descends upon an innocent young unarmed man wearing only a thin cotton jacket.
The songs tile is both a specific reference to the type of bullet used to kill him and perhaps a suggestion of the incident as a hollow victory and a pointless one, unleashing powerful forces on a young innocent. A hollow point bullet is a bullet with a pit or hollow in its tip, designed to expand when it enters a target to decrease penetration and maximise tissue damage. It is generally illegal in the UK.
Jean Charles's  death was a hollow one, so, foolish, so pointless, no officer at any level has been disciplined or prosecuted for involvement in the slaying of Jean Charles.Will we see history repeated again, people treated like collateral damage. In the meantime here's to the memory of  Jean Charles de Menezes , let we forget.

Hollow Point - Chris Wood

Awake arise you drowsy sleeper
Awake arise it’s almost day.
No time to lie, no time to slumber,
No time to dream your life away.

It was a gorgeous summer's morning
It was a gorgeous summer's day.
His cotton jacket was all he carried
As he walked out to face the day. 

As he was walking he was wondering
With a little dream as a young man will
And never heard footsteps behind him
By the bus stop at Tulse Hill.

But from his front door they’d had him covered.
They were right behind him from the start.
And though the video was buggered
Someone decided he looked the part.

Here comes the bus, the front doors hiss
He climbs aboard and so do they.
And now he swings down to his seat -
It’s just another working day.

But there was something in the air that morning
As they came down to Brixton town.
They sealed the station without warning -
There was something going down.

And so they journeyed on and onward.
He called his friend just to explain
How he would be late and not to worry,
And so to Stockwell Tube he came ….

Now he’s on their cameras, he’s on their radar,
He’s on their crackling radios,
His Oyster Card is in his pocket,
At 10am through the gates he goes.

And down and down dropped the moving staircase,
Deeper down go the others too.
And through the hour glass the sand is falling -
There is nothing they can do ….

When the train comes in they are right beside him.
Some say three and some say four,
Some say the cameras they were not working
As he sat down near the open door.

If he’d have stopped, if he’d have listened …
Commissioner said that it was no good -
He said they gave him no instructions
That an innocent man could have understood.

Just a Brazilian electrician -
Christ only knows what he came here for.
The hollow point was the ammunition.
Now it’s our turn now for some shock and awe….

Awake arise you drowsy sleeper,
Awake arise it’s almost day.
No time to lie, no time to slumber,
No time to dream your life away.

It was a gorgeous summer's morning,
It was a gorgeous summer's day.
His cotton jacket was all he carried
As he walked out to face the day.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Intolerantina ( a poem for Donald Trump)


( Here's a poem for Donald Trump that I dropped down the pan
crumpled wet and soggy, maybe I shouldn't have saved it,
the original resting place captured the true essence of the man.)

Storm clouds  billowing now across a frightened sky
Voice of hate and division spreads discordant cry,
The well of hope seems to have dried
As arrogant voice rises making people blind.

Fractured  freedom try's to hold it's breath
In times of sadness between life and death,
As walls are proposed to keep people out
Waves of tears grow among seas of doubt.

If Trump triumphs and closes all the doors
Lets fear for his country as kindness gets lost,
As divisions get wider, faultlines  grow bigger
Waiting in the darkness, unreason cruelly sniggers.

Hate-mongers and right wing bigots dancing now
In the land of liberty, the home of the brave,
Is this the beginning or the end, as intolerance consumes
Is it not the time to mend existing cracks and wounds?

Lets pray for America, lets pray they are not too blind,
Lets pray for sanity, lets pray for human kind,
Lets pray for the world, lets pray for peace,
Lets pray that one day blinkered thought will cease. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Support Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour; Poetry should not be a crime

Over 150 renowned international writers, poets, and literary figures, including Alice Walker, Dave Eggers, Natasha Trethewey, Naomi Klein and Susan Abulhawa have signed a petition calling for the release of jailed Palestinian poet , Dareen Tatour.
Dareen a 33-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel from the village Al-Reineh near Nazareth,
Dareen has been writing poetry since she was 7. She is also a photographer, and has toured villages in present-day Israel that were depopulated of their original Palestinian inhabitants during the Nakba, As well as capturing images of these villages, she has set out to tell stories about the people who lived in them.
Her photographs have been displayed in a number of exhibitions. She also directed a short documentary about the ethnically cleansed village of Damoun.
The Latest Invasion, her first collection of poems, was published in 2010.
was arrested by Israeli authorities in October of 2015 for a series of poems she posted on her own personal Facebook page and YouTube during the height of latest wave of violence between Palestinians and Israelis. She was charged with incitement to violence and identifying with a terrorist organization. She spent several months in three different jails – enduring five separate interrogations – before being confined to house arrest in a rented apartment in a suburb of Tel Aviv since January.
The main clause of her indictment was based on a poem that she had allegedly posted on YouTube under the title: “Qawem ya sha’abi, qawemhum” (Resist my people, resist them). There is nothing actually illegal in the poem not even according to Israel’s laws.Although the poem urges resistance to Israel, it does not call for specific acts of violence. Rather, it draws attention to violent attacks on Palestinians by Israelis. But the context matters too, and the poem came out against a backdrop of Palestinian youths clashing with the occupation forces. And the images of these, according to the Israeli prosecution and media, are of “Palestinians engaged in terrorist activity”! Dareen joins over 400 Palestinians who have been punished and targeted for their posts on social media. Palestinians often found guilty because they do not like their oppressors.
Tatour faces up to five years  years in prison, according to her lawyer. On Sunday, June 26, leading Israeli newpaper Haaretz ran a board editorial titledFree the Palestinian Poet, Arrested for Expressing her Opinions.” The justice system did not listen.The following day, a few Israeli writers held a solidarity event, and Dareen Tatour wrote an open letter of thanks, published by the website Free Haifa .
The petition which is still open to ignatories can be found here:- https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/dareen/
 It reads as follows:-."We believe in the rights of artists and writers to freely express their artistic vision, and share work freely. The Israeli government’s actions reveal a desire to silence Tatour, part of a larger pattern of Israeli repression against all Palestinians," the literary figures stated in their petition. "Expressing resistance to oppression and occupation through poetry is by nature non-violent and should not be criminalized by any government," they added. This petition marks the launch of an international solidarity campaign organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and Adalah-NY to demand the release of Tatour and to draw attention to the widespread arrests and detentions of Palestinians for political expression on social media, as well as Israel’s targeting of Palestinian writers and artists.

Read more at: http://english.palinfo.com/site/pages/details.aspx?itemid=79633
Copyright © The Palestinian Information Center
Tatour is banned from the entire northern district of Israel as well as from using the internet. She is forced to wear an electronic ankle bracelet which monitors her movements. .
The literary organization PEN in response to sustained pressure, released a statement on Tatour’s persecution  but sadly denied Tatour’s very self-identification as a Palestinian, the group called her an “Arab-Israeli” and did not call for her release or failed to mention Israel’s ongoing military occupation.
In a brief statement sent to Jewish Voice for Peace on 11 July  Tatour explained the effect that her imprisonment has had on her work.
“The poem, if it remains on paper, only adds to its writer’s worries and fatigue. The worst thing that can happen to an artist in general, and a poet in particular, is to be imprisoned in the democratic era in which we live for expressing their opinion,” Tatour writes.
“Imprisonment is tantamount to cutting the cords of feelings and emotions whose letters connect between what they are writing and the people,” she adds, “and if this communication is cut there is no value to all to what is written by this poet, no matter how outstanding their style. Actually there is no value and meaning to the human existence of the individual in this democracy and basically no value to this democracy.”
“My freedom, after nine months of harsh detention and exile, is a guarantee to the endurance of freedom for every poet, writer and artist, wherever they are,” she adds.
Pressure continues to mount on Israel to give Tatour that freedom.Award-winning poet, songwriter, and novelist, Naomi Shihab Nye, referred to the way Tatour’s use of the word “resistance” has been criminalized: “The word “resist” – when it is resisting oppression and inequality – will always be a gleaming, beautiful, positive word. In fact, it needs to be said more often.”  Writing poetry should not be considered a crime, Dareen just used her freedom of expresion and her pen  to write about the plight of her people and the injustice they daily feel and encounter, I don't feel that this warrants any form of punishment.She comes from a long tradition of poets in Palestinian society who try to evoke and communicate and reveal their sense of anger and sorrow. Poets who carry the additional role of being spokespersons, who try to articulate the struggles, desires, and political views of the people.
I would urge voices of good conscience and fellow poets to support Dareen's continuing plight, and join the call to free her.

Here, the poet Tariq al Haydar translates Tatour’s words into English:

Resist, my My people, Resist them

Resist, my people, resist them.
In Jerualem, I dread my wounds and breathed my sorrows
And carried the soul in my palm
For an Arab Palestine.
I will not succumb to the "peaceful solution,"
Never lower my flags
Until I evict them from my land
I cast them aside for a coming time
Resist , my people, resist them.
Reit the settler's robbery
And follow the caravan of martyrs.
Shred the digraceful contitution
Which imposed degradation and humiliation
And deterred us from restoring justice.
They burned blameles children;
As for Hadil, they niped her in public,
Killed her in broad daylight.
Resist, my people, resist them,
Resist the colonialist's onlaught.
Pay no mind to his agents among us
Who chain us with peaeful illusion.
Do not fear doubtful tonques;
The truth in your heart i stronger,
As long a you resist in a land
That has lived through raids and victory.
So ali called from his grave:
Resist, my rebellious people.
Write me as prose on the agarwoood;
My remain have you as a response.
Resist, my people, resist them.
Resist, my people resist them.

You can stay abreast of Dareen’s case at the following links :-



Some new poems of hers in translation can be found here :-


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The shameful vote for Trident renewal

Saved myself £25 but still incredibly sad, because of the 138 Labour MPs who yesterday voted with the Tory government to spend £200 billion on weapons of mass destruction, and have demonstrated again why unlike Jeremy Corbyn and the 48 who voted against do not represent the real opposition to this government that the country needs and makes the split within the party even deeper. The decision to hold a vote now was made not in the interests of national security, but simply to embarrass the Labour Party.Theresa May and the rest of the Tory's must be laughing their socks off.
Parliament has voted now in favour of renewing Britain's nuclear deterrent, Trident by a majority of 355 after it was backed by almost the entire Conservative Party and more than half of Labour MPs , the vote was passed despite opposition from Scottish National party MPs and those of Plaid Cymru and thankfully my local MP liberal Mark Williams plus the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong unilateralist who spoke out against the plans during a debate in parliament on Monday afternoon.
Feel absolutely betrayed and has left me bitter and angry but I guess it solidifies my view that the Parliamentary Labour Party does not represent it's members, I was a member back in the day, drawn in chiefly because of it's position of unilateralism  a party that seemed to be about principles, for peace that have for a long time now been sadly abandoned.Whose idea was it in the first place to commission Trident, Tony bloody Blair who admitted that the only purpose of maintaining the nuclear weapons system was to give Britain status.
Remember that each of these warheads is eight times more powerful than the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.These weapons have no legitimate purpose: their use should be illegal under almost every conceivable circumstance, as huge numbers of civilian casualties would be unavoidable. That is why the International Court of Justice ruled in 1996 the threat or use of nuclear weapons would be contrary to the rules of international law. Not only are these weapons immoral, potentially genocidal and strategically irrelevant in the face of the realistic threats we face today, they are also hugely expensive. The Government's National Security Strategy identifies international terrorism, cyber-attacks and natural hazards as greater threats than nuclear war.These warheads cannot be used without inflicting massive loss of civilian life and poisoning the environment for decades.
Fair play however to SNP MP member Mhari Black who said  that " These nuclear weapons serve no other purpose than to satisfy the ego of the British establishment, we can't afford to look after the disabled, we can't afford to look after the unemployed, we can't afford to pay pensions on time, and all the people who have been making that argument for austerity are now the very same people who are telling us that we can afford to write a blank cheque." and to principled Welsh MPs who followed their conscience.
Ditching Trident, and joining the vast majority of countries without nuclear weapons, should have been the common sense decision for Parliament to take, and would have been the right thing to do.
I will add that Nuclear weapons don't make me feel safer a world without these weapons of mass destruction would though. The money saved by ditching Trident would be enough for a fair social security system and a properly funded NHS enabling us to build 120 state of the art hospitals and employing 150,000 new nurses, build 3 million affordable homes, install solar panels in every home in the UK or pay the tuition fees for 8 million students.
The vote effectively means the UK will continue to possess and deploy its nuclear weapons arsenal, threatening other countries with annihilation and exposing its people to serious risks of nuclear accidents, use or attacks, for a further generation.
Yes said it before, but yes my mind truly boggles at the stupidity of politicians playing dangerous games with our lives.