Thursday 11 July 2024

Remembering Srebenica massacre 29 years on.


 29 years ago Serb forces captured the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, and carried out Europe's worst worst atrocity on European soil since the  Holocaust.Second World War. Around 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed there over several days and their bodies dumped in mass graves. It didn’t come out of nowhere: In the three years leading up to the genocide, an estimated 100,000 people were killed, 80% of whom were Bosniaks, one of three ethnic groups who called the fledgling state of Bosnia and Herzegovina home.
The Bosnian Muslims had found shelter in Srebrenica during the Bosnian War because it was supposed to be under UN protection. On 16 April 1993, one year into a civil war that began when Bosnia sought independence from Yugoslavia, the  Security Council had passed Resolution 819 requiring all parties to treat Srebenica and its surroundings as a safe area which should be free from any armed attack or any other hostile act. 
However in July 1995, General Ratko Mladić and his Serbian paramilitary units overran and captured the town,  Dutch  UN peacekeeping forces were at the time accused of  failing to do enough to prevent the massacre.The Muslim men and boys were told by the Dutch peacekeepers they would be safe and handed over to the Bosnian Serb army. They never returned. The Netherlands  has since been found  partly liable for the deaths of 300 Muslims killed in the Srebrenica massacre, The Hague appeals court upheld a decision from 2014 that ordered the Dutch state to pay compensation to the victims families. In August 2001 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) concluded that a crime of genocide was committed in Srebrenica. Ever since, the survivors and the victims’ families have been fighting to obtain justice and recognition. 
Srebrenica  happened during a war with seemingly few rules of engagement, bitter fighting, indiscriminate shelling of cities and towns, ethnic cleansing and systematic mass rape. Essentially a territorial conflict, one in which people of difference looked back on times of peaceful coexistence, however fragile, and forward to ethnic separation, exclusion and to living apart.
When the attackers overran Srebrenica on July 11 and took peacekeepers hostage, about 25,000 Bosniaks fled to the UN base at Potocari on the city's outskirts. They sought refuge despite the scorching heat and catastrophic hygienic conditions. A day later, the attackers began to assault, rape and kill them. On July 12 and 13, girls, women and elderly refugees were loaded onto buses and driven to regions under Bosniak control. After murdering thousands of Srebrenica’s Muslims, Serbs dumped their bodies in numerous mass graves scattered throughout eastern Bosnia, in an attempt to hide the crime. Body parts are still being found in mass graves and are being put together and identified through DNA analysis. Almost 7,000 of those killed have been found and identified. Newly identified victims are buried each year on 11 July, the anniversary of the day the killing began in 1995.The remains of 14 more victims of the massacre - including a 17-year-old boy - were due to be buried at a memorial cemetery in Potocari today, just outside the town.
The remains of some 1,000 victims of the massacre in the eastern town during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war are still missing.
Bosnian Serb wartime political leader, Radovan Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic were both convicted of and sentenced for genocide in Srebrenica by a special U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. In all, the tribunal and courts in the Balkans have sentenced close to 50 Bosnian Serb wartime officials to more than 700 years in prison for the Srebrenica killings.
Bosnian Serbs, however, still celebrate Karadzic and Mladic as heroes. Some were even staging celebrations of “the 1995 liberation of Srebrenica” on the anniversary of the crime.
The Serbian Orthodox Church supported Mladic. Serbs celebrated the notorious  paramilitary commander Zeljko Raznatovic, better known as "Arkan," as a hero. Now, a quarter of a century after the slaughter of Srebrenica, most Serbian leaders and many citizens still refuse to recognize it as a genocide; streets, schools and student dorms in Serbia are named after the convicted war criminals Mladic and Karadzic; and many of the men who were directly or indirectly involved in the 1995 massacre hold key positions in the country's political and economic sphere.
In fact, Bosnian Serb political leaders have consistently prevented the country from adopting a law that would ban genocide denial, with the Serb member of Bosnia’s presidency, Milorad Dodik, even publicly describing the Srebrenica slaughter as a “fabricated myth.” 
Thousands gathered in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica today to commemorate the 29th anniversary of the massacre which comes under the shadow of the ongoing Israeli assault on Gaza, which has drawn a number of parallels from activists and commentators.  The remains of 14 more victims of the massacre - including a 17-year-old boy - were due to be buried at a memorial cemetery in Potocari on Thursday, just outside the town.
Among those taking part in the commemorations in Potocari was Palestinian journalist Motaz Azaiza, who escaped from Gaza in January along with some family members. “I want to thank the people who raised the flags of Palestine alongside the flags of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I wasn't born when all this happened in Srebrenica," the photojournalist told reporters at the ceremony.  “Since I was little, I listened to what happened here, through the news, through friends. The people here have great support from the people of Palestine and I thank you for your solidarity."  'Never again' 
A number of campaigners and politicians, including Benjamina Karic, the mayor of Sarajevo, have drawn direct comparisons between Srebrenica and Gaza.  The Bosnian genocide has also been referred to in relation to the ongoing war in Sudan, where non-Arab civilians in Darfur have been the victims of massacres perpetrated by the paramilitary. 
Today we remember the victims, survivors and those still fighting for justice.It should be studied by all today. And in solemn memory of the Srebrenica massacre, we must reflect on the tragedies that echo through history.A ghastly, tragic, murderous reminder that a genocide began while the world watched. And we did nothing. As we remember the past, we cannot ignore the heartbreaking parallels unfolding in Gaza and do nothing.
As we commemorate the 29th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide reminding us of the horrors that racism can inflict, Gaza enters its 9th month under Israeli bombardment and a new genocide unfolds. Nearly 38,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children, with another 87,000 injured.
Just as Bosnians were dehumanized and systematically killed, so too are Palestinians today. As we witness the ongoing genocide in Gaza, we must unite for peace and justice and keep talking about Palestine. History must not repeat itself.
Srebrenica: We will never forget !
Palestine : We will never give up!
Stop the genocide!

Here is a link to the official site of rememberance.:-

http://www.srebrenica.org.uk/


Tuesday 9 July 2024

Remembering the life of Revolutionary French singer-songwriter and anti-militarist Gaston Mardochée Brunswick aka Montéhus (9 July 1872 –31 December 1952)

 

Gaston Mardochée Brunswick, French singer-songwriter,  revolutionary socialist  and anti-militarist  better known by his pseudonym Montéhus, was  born  on July 9, 1872 shortly  after the Paris Commune  of  1871 https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2021/03/150th-anniversary-of-paris-commune.html. . The eldest of 22 children born to a working-class Jewish family in Paris, he was the son of a Communard, and  shoemaker  named Abraham Brunschwig, and he was committed to left-wing politics throughout his life.
Montéhus was raised in a post-Commune context, which accounts for his commitment to left-wing politics. The "Revolutionary jingoist" as he liked to present himself, he was close to the "wretched of the Earth" spoken of by Eugène Pottier in L'Internationale
He began to sing in public at the age of 12, in 1884, a decade before the beginning of the Dreyfus Affair.Montéhus published his first song (Au camarade du 153ème) in 1897. He adopted his pseudonym then to avoid the anti-Semitism then rampant in French society (his concerts were often interrupted by racist violence). 
As he began his military service, the Dreyfus affair broke out which was  the political crisis, beginning in 1894 and continuing through 1906, in France during the Third Republic. The controversy centred on the question of the guilt or innocence of army captain Alfred Dreyfus, who had been convicted of treason for allegedly selling military secrets to the Germans in December 1894. At first the public supported the conviction; it was willing to believe in the guilt of Dreyfus, who was Jewish. Much of the early publicity surrounding the case came from anti-Semitic groups (especially the newspaper La Libre Parole, edited by Édouard Drumontan anti-Dreyfusard , nationalist and anti-Semite), to whom Dreyfus symbolized the supposed disloyalty of French Jews.
Initially a moderate socialist, he became virulently anti-militarist and libertarian in outlook close to the positions of Gustave Hervé and his newspaper La Guerre Sociale  .After a brief stint in Chalon-sur-Saône, where he was defeated in an election,the anti-militarist settled in Paris in 1902.On 5 March 1902, he is initiated into Freemasonry at ″l'Union de Belleville″ lodge in Paris.  
In the second half of the 19th century, song was central to popular culture. Books, which are expensive , are not easily accessible to proletarians  and when it has a strong political dimension, the song can be a real propaganda tool, Montéhus was one of the champions of the Red Revolt. 
Author of hundreds of songs, the best known of which, such as: Gloire au 17e ( 1907) and La Grève des Mères (1910), were taken up by revolutionary Paris. In Paris he was hired at Les Ambassadeurs, where his repertoire were often interrupted by the reactionary anti-Semites of Édouard Drumontan or by the police (because of their subversive content), and Édouard Drumontan  would  get  his men  to distribute leaflets against  "the Jewish Brunswick"  who  "belched infamies at the leaders of the French army", and provoke fights.  
The courageous singer, who had to emigrate to the concerts of the suburbs to find an audience likely to hear his vengeful verses. There, his success was resounding. The people, who admirably understood the artist's rancor for having felt the same outrages and the same disgusts, did not spare him their applause.  In the press, only one newspaper clearly defended him. It was L' Aurore , under the signature of Urbain Gohier .
Here is what Gohier wrote on February 9, 1902: An artist has emerged who devotes himself with great ardor to singing pity, fraternity, hatred of war, the suffering of the soldier, the horror of the barracks. His name is Montéhus. And after speaking out against the nationalist bands who organized a violent obstruction to prevent him from performing, Gohier continued:  Small, thin, pale, the artist sings or says these things with all his nerves. Ten years ago, the crowd applauded Le Père la Victoire , En revenant de la R'vue , and all the nonsense of nationalism. Today, it applauds Montéhus.  
A contemporary of Jean-Baptiste Clément, Eugène Pottier, Jules Jouy, Pierre Dupont and Gaston Couté, Montéhus like them used his songs as propaganda tool for socialist and anarchist dissent, with his  lively catchy songs, he  used his artistic talents to advocate for social justice and workers' rights. He became a prominent figure in the French socialist movement, using his music to spread revolutionary ideas and inspire the working class to fight for better living and working conditions.  
Montéhus was a staunch critic of the capitalist system and the inequalities it perpetuated, using his music to express solidarity with workers and call for a more just and egalitarian society. His songs often reflected the harsh realities faced by the working class, highlighting issues such as poverty, exploitation, and oppression. With his powerful lyrics and rousing melodies, Montéhus became a voice for the marginalized and downtrodden, galvanizing support for the labor movement and socialist causes. 
In addition to his musical contributions, Montéhus was also actively involved in politics, participating in protests, demonstrations, and strikes. He used his platform as a popular musician to raise awareness about social and political injustices, advocating for systemic change and challenging the status quo. .  opposing war, capitalist exploitation, prostitution, poverty, religious hypocrisy, and even income tax in his lyrics. 
He also defended the cause of women in a remarkable way.  In 1905, Montéhus created a song that caused a real scandal within French society. Anticipating the First World War by a few years, the song La grève des mères (The Mothers' Strike) was intended to be a denunciation of war, of youth serving as cannon fodder and encouraged mothers – like the Lysistratas of fertility – to no longer give sons to sacrifice to the executioners.  
This goualante will be so badly received, not by critics but by censors, that a judge will declare that La grève des mères is a pro abortion song .Montéhus will therefore appear before the courts for inciting abortion  and will be sentenced to two months in prison – a sentence later converted into a heavy fine that  he  had to pay. But the reactionaries did not stop there La grève des Mères was  banned from public performance on 5 October. 

Montéhus - La grève des mères




In 1907 he sang Gloire au 17ème which highlighted the action of soldiers from the 17th line  Infantry regiment who, having been ordered to shoot winegrowers on a demonstration of wine growers in Béziers during the winegrowers' revolt  refused to fire  and  then mutinied and fraternized with the revolters.The Revolt of the Languedoc winegrowers was a mass movement in 1907 in Languedoc and the Pyrénées-Orientales of France that was repressed by the government of Georges Clemenceau. It was caused by a serious crisis in winemaking at the start of the 20th century. The movement was also called the "paupers revolt" of the Midi.

Montéhus - Gloire au 17ème


In 1912, he wrote The song of the young guards,( Le chant des jeunes gardes ) commissioned by the  French Section of the Workers' International ( Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière, SFIO) of  which  he was  a member  for its youth movement, sung by generations of young socialists and young communists, and still considered the anthem of the National Union of Students of France (Union nationale des étudiants de France or UNEF). The French Section of the Workers' International ( Section française de l'Internationale ouvrière, SFIO) was a political party in France that was founded in 1905 and succeeded in 1969 by the modern-day Socialist Party.

Le chant des jeunes gardes (1936)


During Lenin's exile in France  from 1909 to  1912, Montéhus became friendly with him and sang at some of his gatherings.
Montéhus' pacifism  however faded when the Great War broke out (1914)  he  became a staunch supporter of  the war  effort following Gustave Hervé's turn, applauding and patriotism he joined the Sacred Union (Union Sacrée) and the fight against the German invader and became a war cabaret singer, tasked with remobilizing soldiers on leave and civilians, and fighting against defeatism, always at the rear, far from the front.He composed numerous patriotic songs, which earned him the Croix de Guerre in 1918. He  sang : 

We sing the Marseillaise 
For in these terrible days  
We leave the International 
For the final victory  
We will sing it when we return  

If this visceral patriotism was shared by many socialists, like many of them too, he returned to it after the war, when the horrors of the fighting were reported to him. Discredited among the working people for having defended what made them die in mass graves, touched by the death of several of his friends, members of his audience, he wrote one of his most famous songs, La butte rouge (to music by Georges Krier), a song which tells not, as is wrongly considered, of the fighting on the Butte Montmartre during the Commune, but rather of the fighting on the Butte de Berzieux, in the Marne.The class struggle is making a comeback: 

What she drank, good blood, this earth  
Blood of workers and blood of peasants,
Because the bandits who are the cause of wars 
Never die, we only kill the innocent  

Playing much more on the register of emotion than the rest of his repertoire, it also translates the loss of pre-war illusions, the end of lightness and the heavy character of the tragic return of History. Thus, the last verse gives: 

The red hill is its name, the baptism took place one morning 
Where all who climbed rolled into the ravine  
Today there are vineyards, grapes grow there
 But I see crosses bearing the names of friends.  


The song would  be covered by many artists, from Francis Marty to Zebda, including Yves Montand and Claude Vinci!
When he considered joining the Communist Party in 1922, as the French Communist Party did not accept Freemasons, he preferred to remain faithful to his lodge,  but Montéhus returned at the time of the Popular Front, and rejoinined the SFIO and wrote songs to mobilize workers and sing his support for the new government. At the age of 64, Montéhus was once again in the spotlight with "  Le decor va change", "Vas-Y Léon! ", "Le Cri des grévistes", "L'Espoir d' un gueux" , songs in which he supported the Popular Front and Léon Blum the first Socialist (and the first Jewish) premier of France, who presided  over the Popular Front coalition government in 1936–37.

Vas-y Léon (1936)



Silenced by Vichy,  he managed to avoid being sent to a concentration camp, but was forced to wear the yellow star until the Liberation of France. He wrote the Chant des Gaullistes in 1944. In 1947 he  was decorated  with the Legion of Honor by the President of the Council Paul Ramadier , He died almost forgotten from the  collective memory, five  years  later  supported  only  by  his  family on 31 December 1952 and was cremated at Père-Lachaise.https://teifidancer-teifidancer.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-communards-wall-at-pere-lachaise.html where  his ashes remain.
Mireille Osmin, federal secretary of the Seine, described him as "more of a libertarian than a socialist, more of a rebel than a revolutionary." Montéhus was a reflection of the socialism of his time. Willingly republican while denouncing the bourgeois Republic, a man of deep conviction and a political pen always quick to analyze reality in the light of the class struggle and the misery in which the people were plunged, pacifist as much as patriot, nicknamed the revolutionary patriot, he was one of those artists who, placing himself in the background, sang by putting himself in the place of others and effaced himself before their work. 
The author of La grève des mères sadly remains somewhat forgotten today, despite the renewed interest in committed song, of which he was certainly one of the precursors.Despite facing censorship and persecution from the authorities, Montéhus remained steadfast in his commitment to advocating for a more equitable and just society, leaving a lasting legacy as a symbol of resistance and solidarity in French political history.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

. Vote for Palestine

 


A message for anyone who thinks it’s “not worth” voting on Thursday. I  tend   to  agree .  our  democracy is  a  sham Westmonster  is broken  a total farce. but whatever we do, we're  going to end up with a new MP on Friday. Either a friend of Palestine and a friend of the people, or a friend of Israel and Keir Starmer. On July 4th,  if you actually decide  too vote, vote for pro Palestine candidates,  for  humanity.
For nearly 9 months, we have protested, campaigned, lobbied and boycotted to stop the genocide in Gaza. Despite over 37,000 Palestinians killed by Israel; the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) seeking arrest warrants for Israel’s Prime Minister and Defence Minister alongside Hamas leaders, for crimes against humanity; and a “plausible” case of genocide under investigation by the ICJ, parliament has consistently failed to reflect widespread public support for peace and Palestinian rights.
 News from the ground in Gaza only gets more horrifying as Israel’s genocide continues, fully funded, supported, and coordinated with the US, Germany, UK's  support.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the rest of Occupied Palestine, systematic invasions, abductions, and general violence against Palestinians continue to rise.
Now, is   the time to Prioritise Palestine at the General Electionm if your MP refused tto vote for a ceasefire in Gaza  back  in  November  when they had the opportunity to do so, they do not deserve your vote.
The same people, Labour and Tory ,who support more austerity, that literally kills thousands in this country, are the very same people who support war and the ongoing genocide in Palestine. Starmer's Labour and the Tories have continued to defend the Israeli government’s brutality and collective punishment of the Palestinians, despite massive protests demanding an end to Israeli state terror. 
Don’t march for Palestine if you’re voting for parties at the general election that enable the genocide of our brothers and sister there ,t’s not complicated.  and  don't vote for bloody dystopian genocidal liars.
Thanks  however to Damian Albarn and all the other artists using their platforms to support Palestine. When you vote on Thursday make sure it's for a candidate who does the same. Use your vote wisely folks. Vote for a immediate Ceasefire  in Gaza  and to end apartheid  and  the occupation, and for human rights and  equality for all. For real hope, real change  wherever you live. Remember  no one is free until Palestine is free.The liberation of Palestinians is essential to dismantling oppressive systems world wide. My vote will go to whoever has the strongest position on Palestine.
You can find out where your candidates stand by going  to  the  following  links :

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Tuesday 25 June 2024

Journalist Julian Assange is Free at last


So good to hear  that after being deprived of his freedom for 14 years Julian Assange is  finally free and which  is  such a  huge win for  truth and accountability. It  serves  to  remind  me  that  we  should  never  give  up  and  the fact  is  he wasn’t imprisoned for his own crimes, but for exposing  US war crimes  and  human  rights  abuses  in the Middle East and beyond. 
One of the many things Julian Assange was persecuted for was revealing that the US military held children as young as 13 in Guantanamo Bay.  One of the teenagers the US held there, Talal Zahrani, was later found dead in his cell.
Julian is  flying to a Pacific island for a court hearing after agreeing a US plea deal that will see him plead guilty to a criminal charge and go free. The WikiLeaks founder was granted bail by the High Court and released from Belmarsh Prison on Monday following negotiations with US authorities.  Court papers filed by the US Justice Department show Assange is scheduled to appear in federal court to plead guilty to an Espionage Act charge of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified national defence information.  
He will return to his home country of Australia after his plea and sentencing, scheduled for Wednesday morning local time in the Mariana Islands, a US commonwealth in the Western Pacific.  A chartered plane carrying Assange left Stansted Airport on Monday before landing at a Bangkok airport for refuelling at around noon local time (6am BST) on Tuesday. 
His wife Stella Assange told the PA news agency he is paying $500,000 for the flight to Australia. His father John Shipton said his freedom had lifted a huge burden” from his family.  In a statement posted on X, the official WikiLeaks account said Assange left the maximum security prison on Monday “after having spent 1901 days there
The statement continued: “He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.  “This is the result of a global campaign that spanned grass-roots organisers, press freedom campaigners, legislators and leaders from across the political spectrum, all the way to the United Nations.
“This created the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalised.”  Video posted to X by WikiLeaks showed Assange, seated and dressed casually in jeans and a shirt, discussing the text on a sheet of paper. He is then shown walking up steps onto a Vista Jet aircraft.
Julian  spent  the  $500k for his flight out of the UK to avoid landing on the American homeland after he was released from prison. Assange will instead be landing on a remote U.S. island where he will plead guilty to the charges. The island is the U.S. territory of Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands, about 1,800 miles from Australia.  
“He has to front up to charges that have been brought under U.S. law," said a professor at the University of Sydney's law school.  Assange will have the U.S. federal court hearing on Wednesday morning on the remote island.
 Julians s immense sacrifice was for all of us who care about truth and freedom and an end to wars. Julian exposed the crimes of the powerful. His incarceration and  persecution was, and always will be a grotesque miscarriage of justice.Since his arrest Assange which has overshadowed his life for 14 years, including seven in the Ecuadorian embassy and five in solitary confinement in HMP Belmarsh. for the ‘crime’ of being a proper journalist, exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. and was deliberately exposed to inhuman and degrading treatment that could be described as psychological torture.
Assange’s alleged crimes dated back to 2010, when the organization he founded, WikiLeaks, transmitted documents to media outlets including Le Monde, The Guardian and The New York Times. WikiLeaks published material about many countries, but it was the US, during the administration of former President Donald Trump, that decided to charge Julian in 2019 with 17 counts of breaching the Espionage Act.
US lawyers had argued he conspired with whusrleblower Chelsea Manning, a former army intelligence analyst, who spent seven years in prison for leaking material to WikiLeaks. She was freed when President Barack Obama commuted her sentence in 2017.
The documents, which were provided to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Manning, included 250,000 US diplomatic cables and US army reports about military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and exposed cases of torture, abduction and disappearances.  The publication of these documents by media outlets was clearly in the public interest, and not an act of espionage. Julian shoumd  never  have  been  charhed  in  the  first  place.
Among the many Wikileaks revelations was the Collateral Murder footage from Iraq, in which a US Apache helicopter opens fire. Reuters journalists Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen were gunned down, several others were killed while the US pilots laughed. 


The shocking thing is that when this footage came out, shooting at civilians was shocking and horrifying to the world. Israel has been doing this with impunity for the last 8  months  with US backing, nothing's changed the footage is everywhere on social media  yet the  mainstream media is silent on genocide.
We wait for a comment on the freedom of Julian Assange from the coward Keir Starmer  who  as  leader of the CPS at the time, tried every trick in the book to deny Assange his freedom. We won't hold our breath.  Never  forget  either  that the Guardian and Observer were the key media assets mobilised in the information war against Julian Assange. They profited from his bravery then threw him to the wolves. Never forget. They are the liberal wing of the British establishment.
Julian is owed a lifetime of repayment for every ghastly hour he spent unjustly persecuted and sequestered.His immense sacrifice was for all of us who care about truth and freedom and an end to wars.Twenty years ago, George Bush and Tony Blair brazenly launched an illegal war in Iraq, leading to the senseless slaughter of a million innocent lives. Julian Assange courageously exposed their heinous war crimes.
Thanks to  all for working so hard, for fighting  relentlessly for this great man's freedom. Thank you for never giving up on him and reuniting him with his family. The world has just become a little brighter. For all those who care about freedom of speech now  is the  time to celebrate, Thank you Julian, for your enormous sacrifice. We honor you, we love you. Now let's arrest the real war criminals!

  URGENT: Emergency appeal for donations to cover massive USD 520,000 debt for jet.

 Every contribution counts.


"Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose all ability to defend ourselves and those we love" -  Julian Assange

 “If wars can be started by lies, peace can be started by truth.”  —Julian Assange


Monday 17 June 2024

Refugee Week 2024 : Our Home


It's Refugee Week a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the  positive contribution which celebrates  the  rich contributions, creativity, and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.  Established in the UK in 1998, the annual festival aligns with World Refugee Day which is celebrated globally on 20 June.
Refugee Week started  as a direct reaction to hostility in the media and society in general towards refugees and asylum seekers, to try and look  beyond the stereotypical ‘refugee’ label and work  to counter this negative climate, defending the importance of sanctuary and the benefits it can bring to both refugees and host communities. 
Fearmongers talk up the threat of terrorism, but most of the people risking their lives to get to Europe are fleeing the horrors of war. Demagogues thunder that asylum seekers just want to steal jobs or bleed the welfare system dry, but study after study shows that immigration brings net benefits to societies over the long-term. 
The aims of Refugee Week are: 
1. To encourage a diverse range of events to be held throughout the UK, which facilitate positive encounters between refugees and the general public in order to encourage greater understanding and overcome hostility.
2.To showcase the talent and expertise that refugees bring with them to the UK. To explore new and creative ways of addressing the relevant issues and reach beyond the refugee sector. 
3.To provide information which educates and raises awareness of the reality of refugee experiences 
The ultimate aim is to create better understanding between different communities and to encourage successful integration, enabling refugees to live in safety and continue making a valuable contribution. Refugees are a real, current and a terrible problem that we have in our world but will only  get worse as war continues to devastate and uproot people ,and forced displacement has surged to historic new levels. 
The latest annual assessment from the United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) said a sharp rise in the number of people forcibly displaced during 2023 had brought the total to a record high of more than 117 million. 
Widespread violence meant that the 8.8 million people forcibly displaced in 2023 – nearly the same as the UK capital’s population – eclipsed the previous record, set the year before, after a series of year-on-year increases over the past 12 years. 
In total, 1.5% of the world’s population is now forcibly displaced – nearly double the proportion of a decade ago.with the United Nations refugee agency estimating there are 120 million refugees worldwide  due to new conflicts erupting in Palestine and Sudan.https://www.unhcr.org/global-trends-report-2023
Many refugees and asylum seekers face severe difficulties once they arrive in the UK. Unable to work or support themselves, many struggle for basics such as food and shelter. Some of the key issues they encounter are the possibility of detention, living in destitution and contending with negative stereotypes.Most of those who are granted asylum are given leave to remain for only five years, making it difficult for them to make decisions about their future, including finding work and making definite plans for their life in the UK while it remains unsafe for them to return to the country they escaped from. 
As fellow humans we have a responsibility to respond to their specific needs in times of crisis. Many of these asylum seekers come to us as a last resort, having exhausted all alternatives, with nowhere else to turn. We should also remember  all those suffering abuse in detention centres and those facing repatriation despite the dangers that they face. 
Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, with events held by a wide range of arts, voluntary, faith and refugee community organisations, schools, student groups and more. Past events have included arts festivals, exhibitions, film screenings, theatre and dance performances, concerts, football tournaments and public talks, as well as creative and educational activities in schools.
Through Refugee Week  the aim is  to provide an important opportunity for asylum seekers and refugees to be seen, listened to and valued.
This year’s Refugee Week theme is ‘Our Home’. From the places we gather to share meals to our collective home, planet earth: everyone is invited to celebrate what our Our Home means to them.
Home can be a place of refuge, a feeling or a state of mind. It can be found in smells, tastes and sounds. From the clothes we wear to the words we grew up with. It’s in food, music and arts. It’s in our cultures and in our landscapes.
Home can be more than one place and finding it can be a journey, as it is for so many of us who have to leave our countries and rebuild our lives. Sometimes we can find home in a single person. Other times it’s in a whole community.And often, it’s in a single gesture of care and welcome. 
What would happen if this Refugee Week we extended our warmth and hospitality beyond our own homes and made entire neighbourhoods more welcoming? Simple acts like having a chat, walking together, or sending a message of welcome can help everyone feel like they belong.
Together, we can work in solidarity to ensure all our neighbours, new and familiar, have safe and welcoming homes. 
Our home is also global. We are interconnected; we share the earth’s resources, climate and its challenges. As I speak, millions of people are being displaced from their homes because of the climate crisis. But, exchanging knowledge, both new and traditional, can help us in practical ways to build hope for the future. 
None of us would want to be without a home, and those who are forced to leave theirs deserve our compassion and help. ‘Home’ should be a place of liberation wherever that may be in the world. I fundamentally believe in a world where everyone is free to move but no one is forced to move. That means the right to choose your home. For many displaced people, they can’t choose their home: their home has been taken away. Together, this Refugee Week let’s practice our solidarity and make Our Home a more welcoming, safe and sustainable place for all. 
This year, Refugee Week takes place during the General Election 2024. The irony of this has not been lost on me. It is something of a juxtaposition to narrow our focus to simply ‘celebrate’ refugees when migrants’, including refugee, rights are being increasingly weaponised in cross-party political campaigns. 
The government has impaled itself on a ‘stop the boats’ policy over which it has no control. The Reform Party (with no prospect of having to implement it) is hammering the ‘zero asylum’ stakes home. Punitive deterrence does not work and has never worked in any field – health, education, crime or immigration. Its sole purpose is cruelty, and every failure inflates the cruelty. Only if the level of cruelty and illegality – i.e. drowning at sea, lifetime incarceration for arrivals or refoulement (returning to a risk of violence or persecution) – is sufficient to shift the UK’s reputation amongst refugees from a ‘safe’ to an ‘unsafe’ country, will asylum seekers cease to come to the UK. The required level of cruelty to achieve this cognitive and reputational shift should be beyond contemplation for a civilised nation. 
And it is so unnecessary. Channel crossings will continue regardless of government policy and asylum applications will have to be managed – humanely and promptly. The next UK government should just get on with it, put an end to the current cruelty and let communities do what they do best – welcoming people.
Moreover, Refugee Week 2024 should require reflection given the numerous ongoing humanitarian crises and genocides happening across the world that are deliberately and inadvertently creating refugees.We must continue to offer our love,solidarity, tolerance, warm welcome and friendship  to refugees who daily have to struggle, many of whom left feeling traumatised and marginalised.The Rwanda deportation plan has also shown us how much work we have to do. We need to be there for people stuck in this hostile system- to show up for each other and build community. 
Furthermore since last October, Israel has destroyed homes, schools, hospitals and whole towns in Gaza. The official death toll is over 36000, but tens of thousands more are presumed killed, lying beneath the rubble. This operation, like many before it, has one purpose: to drive the remaining Palestinians from their land.
In Refugee Week 2024, we  must  continue to rally to demand an end not just to the current genocide, but to the decades-long occupation that has made an entire people refugees in their own land. 
Simple Acts are everyday actions we can all do to stand with refugees and make new connections in our communities. By simply taking part in and learning about Refugee Week, you’ll be part of a movement of people everywhere taking small steps to create a big change.
In light of the ongoing attacks on Gaza and the widespread and multiple experiences of displacement, this week’s Simple Acts countdown spotlights Palestinian authors and voices. Here are some  recommendations for podcasts, books and articles. https://refugeeweek.org.uk/discover-a-story-palestine/


Saturday 15 June 2024

Pantomine Time


It's General Election time
The debates have started,
In this circus of democracy
As politicians spit out their ideology,
While so out of  touch with reality
With no signs of visible credibility,
Sunak is a prick, Starmer is a liar 
I really bloody cant trust either, 
Neither have an ounce of charisma
Or the slightest whiff of integrity,
Really give me the shudders
Offering no glimpse of hope,
Just wanting to steal your votes 
After delivering false promises, 
These masters of division
Poisoning the populace.
With their selfish ambition,
Really think we're all  rather dense, 
At least  provide a form of comic relief
Releasing their politics of pantomine ,
I'd urge you not to vote for any of them
Offering unsolemn words and parasitism,
Down with this corrupt government
Reject Farage's fascist clowns too
They truly are rotten and dangerous,
With  aim to seperate and divide
And  usher in a culture of despair,
As deep discontent rages all around
Vote if you must for people of conscious, 
Green or indie, Workers party or Plaid Cymru
Not for forces supporting genocide and tyranny,  
Our society and system really is very broken
We  need to use our loafs to fix it all,
What is actually needed is a revolution
Delivering progression, not repetition.

Thursday 13 June 2024

The Power of Love



Jim Dine/The Black and Red Heart 2013


The Love of love
the Power Of Love
is so acceptable  
can heal so many things 
I will never reject it  
releases ecstatic emotions
reasons to care 
maybe i'm old fashoned 
but without it I'm lost 
like music is an addiction 
costs nothing at all 
in times of confusion 
delivers comfort 
can soothe us all
be aware though 
like the weather
can be difficult 
if not respected 
can tear us apart 
but if gracefully accepted 
wherever you from 
will make life easier
you just need to
trust its energy 
it's pulsating force 
can mend and taper 
the most shattered of hearts.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Beware the narcissists !



A narcissist is a  person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves. "narcissists who think the world revolves around them"  There  are  plenty in  the news  at the moment,  take Nigel Farage, Keir Starmer, Rishi Sunak, Tommy Robinson,, Donald  Trump  for  example.All narcissists  who are pretty transparent in their grandiosity.  Others are less so. 
For the narcissist, being talked about is all that brings them joy. They do not care if you're talking with admiration or derision.  It's all the same -- they are the focus, the news of the day, the centre of the universe. Daily  using  the media to massage their over  inflated ego,  the  fact is they love nothing more than basking in the limelight. They take acting to a new level.  
Remember that with a narcissist it is always about them and what they are going through.  It is pointless caring about them because they will never care back. They will talk to you when it suits them and then discard you and feel nothing.  They don't care if they cause you pain. Befriend a narcissist and be prepared for the fallout because it will invariably happen.  
These attention seeking predators  are very good at fooling as they are very clever at manipulation. They can offer  empathy  and really seem to  care,  with  their ability to charm people in order to have their needs met, while always seeking power over others. They will release a cloak of kindness and will go way out of their way to expect others to react to them as though they are the caring, generous, people they want to seem like .
You  will trust them, even love some.  and all  will seems  fine, and you will  confide with, and tell them  your deepest  thoughts,  not  being  aware you have been infiltrated, and that any slight  disagreement or dare to question ,will see  them try to  break you into pieces, by accusing you of things you never did. and  attempt  to  destroy, by spreading lies that are directly opposite of who you are.
Then they  will  simply toss you  away not  giving the  slightest damn  about you, as  you try  to  recover from  the  damage inflicted. It  can  take time, to  heal,  but healing you must,  can  be  difficult as sometimes, you have people you love in common .
The world  however  fortunately remains full  of compassionate people,  empaths, just wanting to create a life filled with love, beauty and happiness, unity,  sadly the narcissists, who I  do acknowledge  have  deep  rooted  problems of  their  own,  then  come along and shatter, like all  this is nothing .Do they even understand what they destroy? Or do they destroy what they don’t understand?  
Many of  this  type  will naturally seek political careers. But they‘re incapable of caring about others, and will never do what is good for a country  and it’s citizens. Their only goal is to manipulate others for personal gain.
Narcissists always think everyone else but them is wrong. Even when society pushes back on them, it’s society that is wrong.  Political Zionism is a form of psychopathic narcissism. “We are the chosen people, we can destroy anything that comes in our path. If you call us out: you are evil or complicit with evil. We can do no wrong and don’t you dare try to call us out for it.
Don't  deify political figures. They are all - right and left - corrupt narcissists who don't give two shits about normal people. Tribalism has created political celebrity culture (and cults of personality etc) and it's destructive. Our political system is now full of no conviction arrogant, selfish, opportunistic, greedy, fools who have no business running a country,  just  sociopathic narcissists only after power to line own and mates’ pockets!
These parasitic political narcissists are so dislocated from the functional reality of the UK, it is beyond parody, as they destroy healthcare , create  division, deny, distract, deflect, scapegoat. We need this subsection of society firmly voted out,  we  need kindness and love, we need to  find a hubris of  humanity. to remind us  all,  It's not  about them. 
Lets keep following concepts,  that create unity,  shared values, mutual aid,  kindness, compassion,  the common good our collective purpose, values that create joy and  positivity, against forces of  war,  injustice, contrition,  hegemony  and  division, try  and reject all  authoritarian practices, seek to liberate and empower all people equally. Build a future of  respect,  peace, love and understanding. Keep up the good  fight. 

Tuesday 4 June 2024

Keys to Reality


We follow moments, the end of  rainbows, feel sadness as the world slowly decays and destruction fills our  eyes, we witness genocide, the  depths of despair, deaths shadow moving thickly in the air, so we try to sleep, drift on delicate petals of dream, seeking grace, keep  on waiting for the sound of daybreak, the rambling  rhythm's of  resistance, trying  to release love on  the  turning of  every  tide, finding choruses of  unity, sources  of respite, containing  light, poetry, magic potions that shimmer and ignite, as we  travel forwards, replacing thorny scales, leaving negativitity scattered, somewhere that can't be found  again,  while sun and moon, a perfect pair, playing yin and yang,  keep on shining  brightly, yesterday's darkness tossed  away, the  hawks of  fear,  no longer  near,  our songs we keep on singing and releasing, never missing a step or a beat. with  easy dance steps, mother earth  feels us healing, hears us overcoming wars, despite pain haunting relentlessly,  keeps  spinning  wildly beneath our feet, carries on sustaining, insistent like the flowers that  always bloom, talking, allowing happiness to unfold, releasing  the tension, breathing in and breathing out, providing enough kindling to burn through gloom. with  her gentle waves  moves us safely away  from  the cliffs, to find  salvation, beyond the edges of  madness, sharing symphonic ripples of peace, not bound by locks or chains, abandoning  everything that's not true, honest, or fair, despite anger  and  frustration,  seeking blossoming  brooks of  evolution, a future that's unwritten, finding enough scraps of  nourishment with which to survive another day, following fireflies flutterings, flickering firmaments, freedoms frequencies, filled  forever with friendly force. 

Sunday 26 May 2024

Tories insanely pledges to bring in mandatory national service for 18-year-olds if they win general election

 

Eighteen year olds would be forced to carry out a form of national service if the Tories are voted back in at the July 4 General Election, Rishi Sunak has insanely announced just  days after  the stupid prat called for  a general election in the rain without an umbrella. The Prime Minister said Britain has “generations of young people who have not had the opportunities they deserve” as he claimed the policy would help unite society in an “increasingly uncertain world”.
In future, 18-year-olds would be given a choice between a full-time placement in the armed forces for 12 months or spending one weekend a month for a year volunteering in their community, the Tories said. But to  me  just  sounds  like the last desperate pledge of a mam  who has  completly lost  the plot.
Nobody born since October 1939 has undertaken National Service in the UK. Those people are now aged at least 85. During the Second World War, men up to the age of 60 were required to do some form of National Service. After the war, when the passing of the National Service Act came into force In 1949, conscription became a major part of British life once again.
Initially recruits were required to serve for 18 months, but this was extended to two years when the Korean War started in 1950. Only those who failed the medical or who worked in the three 'essential' industries of coalmining, farming and the merchant navy were exempt. 
National Service was deemed necessary in part because of Britain's military commitments abroad.But towards the tail end of the 1950s National Service was scrapped, because of the burden it placed on the Army and the fact that workers were being drained from the economy.
The last recruits entered the armed forces in November 1960, with their service coming to an end in 1963. In the present day, there is no conscription legislation in the UK, thank  goodness and only those who have a desire to pursue a military career join the army. 
This utterly stupid policy is aimed at winning the votes of people who never did National Service themselves but who want to force others to do it.They simply want our kids to fight their  bloody wars which our kids don't believe in.  A  stupid banal attempt at  turning them  into killing machines,  make them  bow down to the puppet masters and be their war machines , to die,to murder  innocent civilians in the name of defence,  which must be resisted,  because it's  utter bollocks. 
The  apparent cost of compulsory national service is reckoned to  be : £2.5bn a year.  no  less/ while the cost of a pay rise for junior doctors that ministers insist is “simply unaffordable”:  is £2bn a year. Sunak has already oversaw wasteful government spending and departmental losses that has cost the taxpayer up to £26.8 billion,This includes £140 million on the botched Rwanda deal and £2.3bn on the scrapped parts of HS2.
Another £1.7m was said to have been spent on painting the Prime Minister’s  flipping planes as well as slightly less than £15bn on unused or unusable healthcare safety gear during the pandemic. The  insanity of this rotten  Tory  government is so plain  to see. Give me a fucking break
Sunak  the son-in-law of  a billionaire, who’s never been anywhere near National Service, insists your kids need to risk their life on the front line. He’s using the young to appeal to the grey vote. What a stupid prick. 
Shadow work and pensions secretary Liz Kendall has  at least criticised the Tory's National Service policy pitch, branding it a "headline-grabbing gimmick"  that doesn't deal with the problems facing young people, including fulfilling employment and housing. 
Young people need the opportunity to have a shot at success, skills, and the housing ladder, not to be asked to "solve the problems in the NHS, the police and the armed services that the Tories themselves have created", she said.
While members of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), the UK's leading pacifist organisation, have also lambasted the plans, pointing out that they are designed to whip up support for the armed forces and an increasingly aggressive UK foreign policy.
Although the Tories claim that the plan does not amount to conscription, the PPU has accused them of attempting to introduce ‘conscription by stealth’. The PPU has pledged to resist National Service and to support future conscientious objectors, warning the government that the scheme would be met by waves of resistance from young people.  
In anticipation of the backlash, the home secretary James Cleverly has said 18-year-olds who refuse to participate would not be sent to prison.
Earlier in the year, the head of the British Army called for a ‘citizen army’ to prepare for a future land war with Russia and referred to the British public as a ‘pre-war generation’, provoking speculation about a return of conscription.
For 14 years  now this rotten  Government has failed our young people, removing their freedom of movement, hiking tuition fees and making home ownership a distant fantasy, while   mpoverishing so many  of us .At  the moment we can't even  see a doctor, afford to get a train, drink the effing  water because it's  full of shit, we  have to  buy fresh fruit from France and normal stuff like cheese is locked up in supermarkets to prevent theft because for millions of people it's becoming unaffordable to just live,15% of UK households are experiencing food poverty  but don’t worry, Sunak is going to force all the young people to train to go to war.
Someone should tell slime ball Sunak that he doesn’t have to try to lose, the upcoming  election  it’s already in the bag,  and that what the  country actially  really deserves  and  needs  is secure well-paid jobs, union rights, a properly-funded NHS and social care, free tuition and student grants, affordable rail fares and social housing. 
No to  national service, fix the real issues instead. A truly good  idea would be to nationalise water, energy and railway. Don’t Nationalise our youth to die on some foreign field. Invest in their future with apprenticeships to rebuild Britain, broken by the vast negligence of Conservative corruption.
Fuck off Rishi.you clueless, out-of-ideas rat , lets  do our National Service this 4th of July  and  make sure  you vote these  bloody tory clowns out of office  for good and that  does not mean that I  advocate voting  for genocide denier, Starmers party  either.