Sunday, 26 March 2017

Refugee Mother And Child - Chinua Achebe ( 16/11/36 - 21/3/13)


Chinua Achebe was a great Nigerian novelist. poet and short story writer of global significance.  He is best known for his first novel “Things Fall Apart” which has been translated into 45 languages.  His poem “Refugee Mother and Child” is a celebration of motherhood. It is set in  a refugee camp somewhere in Africa. The representation of human suffering  and the picture of a mother's tenderness for her son, that she soon will lose,  is truly moving and compelling..

Refugee Mother And Child

No Madonna and Child could touch
that picture of a mother's tenderness
for a son she soon would have to forget.
The air was heavy with odours

of diarrhoea of unwashed children
with washed-out ribs and dried-up
bottoms struggling in laboured
steps behind blown empty bellies. Most

mothers there had long ceased
to care but not this one; she held
a ghost smile between her teeth
and in her eyes the ghost of a mother's
pride as she combed the rust-coloured
hair left on his skull and then -

singing in her eyes - began carefully
to part it… In another life this
would have been a little daily
act of no consequence before his
breakfast and school; now she

did it like putting flowers
on a tiny grave.                           

Friday, 24 March 2017

Unity against hate and division


After the tragic attack in Westminster on Wednesday. night, many are now expressing their shock. It  was terrible because people lost their lives or were horribly wounded,due to the actions of a sick and depraved individual fuelled by hate, Kent-born Khalid Masood, 52, who ploughed a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before smashing it into railings and then running into the grounds of Parliament, armed with a knife.There he stabbed PC Keith Palmer, 48, before being shot dead by armed police.Pedestrians British national and mother of two Aysha Frade, 43, and US tourist Kurt Cochran, 54, died in the incident on Westminster Bridge, while 40 people remain hospitalised, with seven in critical condition. There has  naturally been an outporing of gfrief and anger .
In light of all of this though  I  recommend the following clip from journalist Simon Jenkins talking sense on Newsnight about how the media irresponsibly creates frenzies of publicity around incidents of terrorism. It feeds racism and Islamophobia, it feeds a climate of relentless fear, when there is no justification for such fears, and it gives the terrorists what they want - the oxygen of publicity, the very climate of fear the media stirs up, and, they hope, the disruption of normal, everyday life.https://twitter.com/BBCNewsnight/status/844903739324555264
Also it is worth pointing out what  did not make the headlines, only the day before this cowardly attack, an airstrike by the US-led coalition on a school in Syria killed at least 33 people.And last Thursday another US strike on a mosque complex in the north-west of the country killed at least 43 people, are not all lives of rqual value. In addition  Palestinians, Syrians, refugees, those fleeing war certainly do not feel safe every minute of their days,  remember also the  many governments  that could be defined as terrorists, but rarely are by the media, and arms companies on a daily basic  who aid and fuel  murder and war, in their blood lust thirst for profit
Now more than ever we can not let these attacks be used by the racists to divide us. Already, the far right group Britain First have used this attack as an excuse to call a 'march' in London to spew their racism, hatred and division.An additional attempt to capitalise on the events came from Tommy Robinson,former leader of the English Defence League, who while ambulances and other emergency vehicles dominated scenes, had appeared within minutes of the incident occurring seeking to exploit the tragedy and the victims of the attack for his own propoganda purposes, shouting aggressively at those who challenged him and launched into a scathing analysis of the incident for his own personal camera crew. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/23/far-right-exploit-westminster-attack-london-wont-let-it
Stand Up To Racism has called a unity vigil in London today.There Co-Convenor Weyman Bennett said in a response to the attack: “Our thoughts are with those killed or injured in the Westminster attack and their families. We need to stand together against all those who seek to divide us. We are black, white, Muslim and Christian living together.We have to remain vigilant against those who want to profit from division, especially the far right. It is crucial that we stand united in such difficult times. I urge people who feel the same to join Friday’s vigil.”
Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of http://mend.org.uk/,(Muslim Engagement and Development) said: “We are shocked and saddened by the act of mindless violence that took place at Westminster and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and with those that were injured during this incident. This act of violence is utterly deplorable and one that will find no room in any community.
“We stand firmly against anyone who wishes to use this tragic incident to create fear and divisions in our society. Only last weekend over 30,000 people marched in solidarity against all forms of hate, and we reiterate our commitment to Stand Up to Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate.”
In a statement last night, shared on Twitter yesterday, HOPE not Hate the anti-fascist charity in a statement  said on twitter yesterday https://twitter.com/hopenothate?lang=en:“Resolve can be shaken in the aftermath of such incidents. Calls for revenge can abound. But we mustn't let the terrorists win. Nor those who welcome the hatred they bring.In the coming hours and days, there  will be some who call for more hatred. Who want nothing more than to meet violence with violence. That is the path to ruin. Please don’t be intimidated. Don’t give in. And don’t listen to haters.We’ll stand firm against all those who call for division; and with your help, we’ll expose those who call for terror too.”
In an apparent reference to people who might have double standards on political extremism, it adds:“London won’t be cowed, and neither will we. Please help us stand firm.Help  us expose those in ALL communities who want  to sow division and terror. In the face of tragedy and violence, help us bring hope and unity.”
Brendan Cox the partner of Jo Cox, a Labour MP, who died after being shot and stabbed outside  her constuency surgery in Birstall, West Yorkshire on 16 June by far-right extremist Thomas Mair has also urged Britain not to let itself be divided by the Westminster attack  saying the assailant no more represents British Muslims than his wife’s murderer represented the people of Yorkshire.Also saying‘ that the person who did this wants us to be fearful and divided , let’s show that we are neither’. So let's not let the racists divide us. Now more than ever we must stand in solidarity and diversity in these difficult times. and must reiterate our commitment to Stand Up to Racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and all forms of hate and try and focus on what unites us.

 Stand Up To Racism unity vigil against hatred and division, Friday, 6pm, Downing Street, www.facebook.com/events/192258647941643/ Unite Against Fascism counter-demonstration:  Don't let the racists divide us - no to fascist Britain First! Saturday 1 April, central London. Details tbc go to www.facebook.com/events/1291586427589114/
There  will also be peace vigils across the country.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Shadow World


Quick plug for this film, on tonight at Small World Theatre , Cardigan a jaw dropping yet hopeful anti-arms trade documentary with panel speakers.Based on the book The Shadow World, vy Andrew Feinstein this feature length documentary is an investigation into the multi-billion dollar international arms trade.
Exposing the global arms trade, the vast sums of money that are made and the corruption that creates. Fascinating interviews reveal the shocking realities of Britain’s central role in this dirty trade that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives. Based on Andrew Feinstein’s globally acclaimed book this is extremely good at clearly presenting information and then showing the consequences. Masterfully edited and well illustrated with pertinent clips, this deftly weaves the multiple strands of its global story into a compelling case against the guilty parties. In the hope that if we better understand what really goes on, we can see through the horror, and create a better future.
The arms trade spreads its tentacles far and wide, ensnaring politicians in a web of malpractice that rarely comes to light. This film deserves to be seen by anyone who wants to see light shining on such a shadowy world. The timing is impeccable  because it comes ahead of  the DPRTE arms fair which will return to the Motopoint Arena in Cardiff  on March 28, 2017for the third time. Join a day of action against the arms fair on 28 March, and show the arms industry there’s no welcome for it in Wales.
In 2016, huge protests and a successful day of action caused havoc for the DPRTE arms fair, forcing organisers to claim it “was not an arms fair”. However, with many of the UK’s biggest arms companies in attendance and the event geared towards “showcasing products and services” along all parts of the supply chain, it seems that’s just a difference of language: the event is designed to help arms industry networking in order to make business deals, and the effects of these deals are felt across the world as UK weaponry plays a leading role in conflicts which destroy homes, school and communities from Yemen to Gaza.
Campaign groups Cardiff Stop the Arms Fair, Campaign Against the Arms Trade and Welsh language group Cymdeithas y Cymod (Fellowship for Reconciliation) will be among those protesting against the Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability (DPRTE) event. We have to stand together against this immoral trade. One anti-militarist campaigner has said: “This event is unacceptable in so many ways. It totally blurs the boundary between government and the arms trade and uses taxpayers’ money to promote unethical profiteering in the private sector.“These ruthless businesses build their wealth on the rubble of schools and hospitals and on the dead bodies of the children targeted by the weapons of mass destruction they manufacture and sell across the world.
“DPRTE has no place in Cardiff and the city should be ashamed of hosting these dealers in death. We call on anyone with a conscience to join us on 28 March to shut down this arms fair!”

“ . . . superb, gut-punching exploration of the global arms trade is the sort of catalyst to energize politically-minded viewers.” Variety

Winner of the Best Documentary Award Edinburgh International Film Festival

Please book tickets in advance, thanks. £6 Concesion £5
Please bring proof of concession. For information on this year’s WOW Film Festival and participating venues, please visit wowfilmfestival.com




Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Dare to dream



                                            " reality and dreaming
                                                  are different things.
                                               dreaming is beautiful
                                                  because dreams are
                                                   nearly always the
                                              predecessors of what
                                         is to come, but the most
                          sublime is to make life beautiful,
                                     to mould life beautifully."

- Nosrotos, Anarchist Daily, Spain, March 1937.

Have been trying to deal with a bout of depression, but de
aling with daily battles  can give us at the end of the day some  kind of hope, we can all build new pages, a society where all people are equal and free,  our dreams do not need revision, they can reinvent, bring a new logic of existence, where chains and bondage are broken, can overthrow constraints, forge a new order, lands full of promise, wild ambition, shifting sands.
Where reality  is always negotiable, today I caught a  glimpse of sunshine in the rain, life can  be bittersweet, but allows us all to live the dream, my mind is like a garden, overgrown but free. Be careful to avoid alienation try and find sustenance , but beware of the weight of consensus prohibitions , follow kindred spirits rather than governments that can lead you feeling isolated  or powerless. Keep on  believing, embrace diversity, follow the paths of liberation, take refuge among people that care,  and  continue to dare to dream.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Spontaneous rhapsody

 

( following written in ten minutes, have a go)

Every star in the sky is beautiful
all the pebbles on the beach atone,
for what we all have lost
every moment of life is precious,
fill it with cherished emotion
keep on releasing as much as you can,
sharing, caring, keep on believng
we are  all a mixture of deep devotion,
from different walks of life
sometimes cools or intense like fire,
a collective roar in the universe
along the streets keep on wondering,
try to tear down bridges and walls
clasp hands together in unity.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Artist Ai Weiwei slams 'shameful' politicians ignoring refugees



'Chinese  trailblazing dissident artist Ai Weiwei launches his largest single work ever,focused on refugees. Called "Law of the Journey", the 70-metre-long (230-foot-long) inflatable boat with 258 oversize refugee figures is on display at Prague's National Gallery. Called Law of the Journey, the show features a 70-metre-long inflatable boat with 258 oversize refugee figures.
It is a tribute to the thousands who have drowned crossing the Mediterranean, the piece is Ai’s biggest-ever installation.A topic Ai has been particularly vocal about in the past. It will be on display until the end of the year. It certainly makes a particularly powerful statement. The site-specific installation that went on exhibit last Thursday and was made in a Chinese factory that produces dinghies used by actual refugees,
“My message is very clear: being a politician or a political group, you cannot be so short-sighted, you cannot have no vision, you cannot sacrifice human dignity and human rights for political gain,” Ai said.“My message is very clear: being a politician or a political group, you cannot be so short-sighted, you cannot have no vision, you cannot sacrifice human dignity and human rights for political gain,” Ai added..
The Czech Republic and the other post Communist central European members have rejected EU plans to allow Muslim refugees on their territories throughout the migrant crisis. According to the European Commission, the Czech Republic has so far accepted 12 migrants for relocation. Data from the International Organisation for Migration shows that over 1.2 million people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe since 2015.
“If we see somebody who has been victimised by war or desperately trying to find a peaceful place, if we don’t accept those people, the real challenge and the real crisis is not of all the people who feel the pain but rather for the people who ignore to recognise it or pretend that it doesn’t exist,” said Ai.
“That is both a tragedy and a crime,” said the 59-year-old painter, sculptor and photographer.
Ai spent the last year visiting such migrant and refugee hotspots as the US-Mexican border badlands to the Turkish-Syrian frontier and crowded holding camps on Greek islands.
An outspoken critic of the Chinese government, Ai was detained in 2011 for 81 days and had his passport confiscated for four years.He later travelled to Berlin where his wife and son live.Recently he has staged several high-profile exhibitions inspired by migrants, including decking out the columns of Berlin's Konzerthaus with 14,000 orange life jackets from Lesbos, which is.an entry point for many migrants trying to reach western Europe from Turkey.
Last month, he said he looked on in dismay at the Trump presidency, the US entry ban on Syrian refugees, the attempt to deny visas to citizens of several mainly Muslim nations, the pledge to build a wall with Mexico and invoke mass deportations.
 People are already finding it a particularly powerful statement.
Comments underneath Ai’s Instagram posts of the installation show how much of an impact his work has made.https://www.instagram.com/aiww/?hl=en
They include “Deeply moving! The enormity and profound silence” from @moniqueloveringstudio and “An astounding and emotionally charged work, it’s beautiful too, which it has to be to represent the sad story. Thank you as always for what you do,” from @michaelbirtphoto.

Ai Weiwei slams 'harmful' politicians ignoring refugees



 

Friday, 17 March 2017

Derek Walcott (23/1/30 - 17/2/17) RIP - Love after Love


 
Derek Walcott, a Nobel-prize winning poet known for capturing the essence of his native Caribbean who became the region’s most internationally famous writer,  died early Friday at his home in the eastern Caribbean nation of St. Lucia, aged 87,according to his son, Peter after battling a long illness. “Derek Alton Walcott, poet, playwright, and painter died peacefully today, Friday 17th March, 2017, at his home in Cap Estate, Saint Lucia,” read a statement the family released later in the morning. It said the funeral would be held in St. Lucia and details would be announced shortly This was confirmed by his publishers who noted on social media: "Derek Walcott was a true presence who filled  the literary landscape and did so with a delicacy of touch. We  have lost a giant of literature."
In “Omeros” (1990), an epic poem considered his most ambitious and accomplished work, he invoked Caribbean voices through Greek myth, drawing on Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey”.Two years later,  this prolific and versatile poet was awarded the Nobel Prize, after being shorlisted for many years and in its citation, the Swedish Academy said: “He has both African and European blood in his veins. In him, West Indian culture has found its great poet. He would later win the TS Eliot prize for poetry in 2011, followed by the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry lifetime recognition award in 2015.Born in 1930, he studied at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, before moving to Trinidad in 1953, where he worked as a theatre and art critic.He first attracted attention on St Lucia with a  book of poems that he published himself when he was 18 entitled 25 poems.Walcott’s  breakthrough came with the collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962), a book which celebrates the Caribbean and its history as well as investigating the scars of colonialism and post-colonialism. Walcott, who was of African, Dutch and English ancestry, said his writing reflected the “very rich and complicated experience” of life in the Caribbean.His ancestry wove together the major strands of Caribbean history, an inheritance he described famously in a poem from 1980's ' The Star-Apple Kingdom' as having "Dutch, nigger, and English in me,/ and either I'm nobody, or I'm a/ nation." Both of his  grandmothers were said to have  been descended from slaves, but his father who died when Walcott was only a year old, was a painter, and his mother the headmistress of a methodist school - enough to ensure that Walcott received what  he called in  the same poem a' sound colonial education.' His  work earned him a reputation as one of the greatest writers of the second half of the 20th century. He compared his feeling for poetry to a religious evocation. Derek Walcott found that he was often defined as a black writer. That is not how he saw himself. He was, he said, first and foremost, a Caribbean writer.  “I am primarily, absolutely a Caribbean writer,” he once said during a 1985 interview published in The Paris Review. “The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself. I have never felt inhibited in trying to write as well as the greatest English poets.”He was also an accomplished painter and playwright.
His life though was marred with controversy.He taught at US universities, where two female students accused him of interfering with their academic achievements after they rejected his advances. This was said to have counted against him when he was passed over for the post of poet laureate in 1999. He was also forced to withdraw his candidacy for the post of Oxford professor of poetry in 2009 in a case which also forced the resignation of his rival Ruth Padel only nine days into her term.
Prior to his retirement in 2007, Walcott taught for decades at Bostom University and spent time in New York and Boston as well as St Lucia. He married and divorced three times, and he had  three children - Peter , Elizabeth and Anna. He is survived by his children, grandchildren and his companion of many tears, Sigrid Nama. The world has lost one of its most noted literary icons. He helped illuminate the world,  RIP. The poetry society described his death as terrible news and encouraged others to read his poetry in memoriam.https://poetrysociety.org.uk/news/a-tribute-to-derek-walcott/ A full -length obituary has been published by the Guardian newspaper.https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/17/nobel-laureate-poet-and-playwright-derek-walcott-dead-aged-87

Love after Love

 The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.