Monday, 26 September 2011

R.S. Thomas (29/03/13 - 25/09/00) - Welsh History.

                                             image above courtesy of Mr Howard Barlow   

We were a people taut for war; the hills
Were no harder, the thin grass
Clothed them more warmly than the coarse
Shirts our small bones.
We fought, and were always in retreat,
Like snow thawing upon the slopes
Of Mynydd Mawr; and yet the stranger
Never found our ultimate stand
In the thick woods, declaring verse
To the sharp prompting  of the harp.

Our king died. or they were slain
By the old treachery at the ford.
Our bards perished, driven from the halls
Of nobles by the thorn and bramble.

We were a people bred on legends,
Warming our hands at the red past.
The great were ashamed of our loose rags
Clinging stubbornly to the proud tree
Of blood and birth, our lean bellies
And mud houses were a proof
Of our ineptitude for life.

We were a people wasting ourselves
In fruitless battles for our masters,
In lands to which we had no claim.
With men for whom we felt no hatred.

We were a people, and are so yet.
When we have finished quarelling for crumbs
Under the table, or gnawing the bones
Of a dead culture, we will arise,
Armed, but not in the old way.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

John Pilger - Palestine Is Still The Issue (2002)

Still relevent, don't really do heroes, but John Pilger comes close,
according to some disputed stories Palestine was a desert that Israel made bloom, land without a people for a people without a land....
lies and distortions have  often been made in some peoples conflicted view .
It aint necessary so.

- Aldous Huxley.

For me , Palestine still matters.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Statement by the PSC on Palestine independence and the UN


The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign is firmly based on the principle of self-determination of the Palestinian people - including Palestinians living inside Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the Palestinian diaspora - those refugees who live outside historic Palestine. The PSC supports the right of Palestinians to independence, freedom and a state of their own and their right to campaign for these rights. PSC supports the rights of the Palestinians to determine their own future, and supports the implementation of the reconciliation agreement between Palestinian parties.

The full  implementation of international law, including the end of Israel's illegal occupation, and the right of return of Palestinian refugees, are essential for a just solution.

The United Nations, since 1974, has recognised the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of all the Palestinian people, in their struggle to achieve their rights.

PSC supports actions in the UN that re-inforce these legal principles, and which uphold the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

The PSC calls on the British and EU Governments to act positively to assist the Palestinians in achieving their legitimate aim of creating an independant state.

The PSC will campaign and lobby in support of these principles in the discussions leading up to any debate in the UN on the question of Palestinaian independance, and calls on all its members, supporters and affiliated organisations to do so.


In personal capacity teifidancer is a member and supporter of the PSC  and supports the above statement wishes the Palestinian good luck today in their endeavor for U.N state recognition.
It never fails me that the enormous injustices and sufferings experienced by the people of  Palestine does not dominate the moral and political imagination of the world. With this bid the world is watching. Many nations are supporting the bid, the only vocal countries against are predictably the U.S.A and Israel.
I really hope the bid succeeds, recognising the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the captal just a start, their is so much more room for negotiation.
The recognition of group identity is a basic  and universal need, such recognition will establish a foundation for future relationships built on understanding and mutual respect. Becomming the 194th U.N member state  would become another fork on their long  route to freedom, justice and dignity. It certainly has been a long way coming.
Let us also remember that since the events of the Arab Spring, Israel has shown  no capacity to act in support of its real interests in the region, look at their failed relationships with Turkey and Egypt. A seperation wall has already been built already to be found in violation of international law, that already isolates Gaza from their brothers and sisters.
It will be  a victory to common sense if the U.N  finally recognises Palestine.
Oh and lets not forget the teifidancer maxim, in an ideal world, no borders would be necessary.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

In The land of the free, they have a word for Justice, I call it Bullshit.

Yesterday Troy Davis  was killed by lethal injection  by the American Georgia State, for allegedly  ( with so many shadows of doubt ) killing an off-duty Georgian policeman - a crime he and many many others insist he never committed. Just before this state execution Troy Davis lifted his head and declared one last time ' I am innocent' to the family of the victim he categorically said ' I did not personally kill your son, father, brother'  he asked them  to ' look deeper into this case, so that you really can finally see the truth. I ask my family and friends to continue to fight this fight'.
For 22 years he has continually expressed his innocence. Across the world people have rallied and united to try and avert his death. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed petitions on his behalf.... we are now left feeling numb, but we will not be silenced. There is no justice in this senseless killing, most people who have looked a bit into the case know there was too much doubt to execute him. An eye for an eye some people say, but generally this does not achieve zilch, murders in the U.S.A still occur evey day, state sponsored execution does not act as a deterrant. It is legalised  murder under a different name. Many other innocent people are still scheduled to be legally murdered, it simply does not make sense.
At least his death has raised questions, the gaze of the World is now on America, looking on it with shame. Killing in the name of justice does not stop other people killing, does not valididate, just become a spectacle of obscenity and hate. I believe the death penalty  anywhere fails humanity, it is cruel, barbaric, fact. An act of barbarity that should not be tolerated.
Some people say signing petitions, raising your voices, achieves nothing, because the people in charge do not listen, I disagree, because whatever the outcomes , people still have the power to change things, to do nothing,  would be a shame, would be a waste, humanities breath can be validated  if we work together, standing together, that is my hope.
I am not as strong.........
Other Nations that have held executions in 2011 are Bangladesh, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, U.A.E ,  the good old U.S of A. What century are we living, one shared side by side with objectionable humanity.
Meanwhile 139 others have been wrongfully convicted in the U.S.A. . This should not continue. This is not justice, this is bullshit.

More info on death penalty.

Troy Davis the fight goes on,
response from Amnesty International

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Wood Green Madrigal.

asks for spare change
Enemy: power
closes ranks
keeps secrets locked
Jesus laptop in hand
shares his thoughts under false name.
Poets get lost in poundshop
local mujahadin sell their wears
in top shop.
Down the street
boarded up windows
offer glimpse  of youths impulsiveness
the games kids play when pushed.
Strange things often happen
when we're simply not looking.
Got the late train back
into the station
looking now for a
souvenir shop
that sells freedom
where the electricity
costs nothing.
On the pavements outside
all that glitters is illusion
plastic smiles and forgotten prayers
hope rains down from passing windows.
Moralty is firm,
 lets us sit still  for a moment
Underneath the cracks of division
melt away and dissapear
dreams buried deep underneath
battered streets
laminate and reappear.
The purpose of all journeys
is one of discovery
please don't turn out the lights.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Octavia Paz (31/3/14 -19/4/98) - Poetry and History

Every poem is an attempt to reconcile history and poetry for the benefit of poetry. The poet always seeks to elude the tyranny of history even when he identifies himself with the soiety in which he lives, and when he participates in what is called ' the current of the age' - an extreme case which is becoming less and less imaginable in the modern world. All great poetic experiments - from the magic formula and the epic poem to automatic writing - claim to use the poem as a meting-ot for history and poetry, fact and myth, colloquiaism and imagery, the date which can never be repeated and the festivity, a date which is alive and endowed with a secret fertility, ever returning to inaugrate a new period. The nature of a poem is analogous to that of a Fiesta which, besides being a date in the calender, is also a break in the sequence of time and the irruption of a present which periodically returns without yesterday or tomorrow. Every poem is a Fiesta, a precipitate of pure time.
The relationship between men and history is one of slavery and dependence. For if we are the only protaganists of histpry, we are also its raw material and its victims: it can only be fulfilled at our expense. Poetry radically transforms this relationship; it can only find fulfilment at the expense pf history. All its products - the hero, the assasin, the lover,the allegory, the fragmentary inscription, the refrain, the other; the involuntarily exclamation on the lips of the child at play, the condemned criminal, the girl making love for the first time; the phrase borne of the wind, the shred of a cy - all these, together with archaism, neologism, and quotation, will neve resign themselves to dying, or to be battered against the wall. They are bent on attaining to the end, on existing on the utmost. They extricate themselves from cause and effect. They wait for the poem which will rescue them and make them what they are. There can be no poetry without history, but poetry has no other mission than to transmute history. And therefore the only true revolutionary poetry is apocalyptic poetry.
Poetry is made of the very substance of history and society - language. But it seeks to re-crate language in accordance with laws other than those which govern conversation and logical discourse. This poetic transmutation occurs in the innermost receses of the language. The phrase- and not the isolated world- is the cell, the simplest element of  language. A word cannot exist without there words, a phrase without other phrases.
That is to say, every sentence always contains an implicit reference to another, and is susceptible of explanation by another. Every phrase constitutes a 'wish to say' something, referring explicitly to something beyond it. Language is a combination of mobile and interchangeable symbols, each indicating 'towards' what it is going. In this way both meaning and communication are based on the 'intentionality' of words. But no sooner does poetry touch them that they are changed into rhythmic units or into images; they stand on their own and are sufficient unto themselves. Words suddenly lose their mobility, there are various ways of saying a thing in prose, there is only one in poetry. The poetical word has no substitute. It is not a wish to say something, but is something irevocably said. Or alternatively, it is not a 'going towards' something, nor a 'speaking' of this or tat. The poet does not speak of horror or of love: he shows them. Irrevocable and irreplaceable, the words of poetry become inexplicable except in tears of themselves. Their meaning is no longer beyond, but within tem; the image is 'in' the meaning.
The proper function of the ppetic image is to resolve into a unity realities which appear to us conflicting and irreducible. And this operation takes pace without removing or sacrificing the conflicts and antagonisms between the entities which it evokes and re-creates. That is why the poetic image is inexplicable in the rict sense of the term. Now poetic language partakes of the ambiguity with which reality reveals itself to us. In transmuting the language, the image not only opens the door to realty, it also, as it were, strips realty bare and shows it to us in its final unity. The phrase becomes an image. The poem is is a single image, or an indivisible constellaion of images. The void left by the dissapearance of what we call reality is peopled with a crowd of heteroeneous or conflicting visions, inevitably seeking to resolve their discord into a solar system of allusions - the poem: a universe ofopaque, corruptible words which can yet light up and burn whenever their are lis to touch them. At certain times, in the mouths of some speakers, the phrase-mill becomes a source of evident truths requiring no demonstration. Then we are transported into the fullness of time. By exploiting language to the utmost the poet transcends it. By emphasising history, he lays it bare and shows it for what it is - time.
When history allows us to suspect that it is perhaps no more than  ghostly procession, without meaning or end, ambiguity of language becomes more marked and prevents any genuine dialogue. Words lose their meaning,and thereby their powers to communicate. The degradation of histry into a mere sequence of events involve the degradation of language, too, into a collection of lifeless symbols. All men use the same words, but they do not understand one another. And it is useless for men to try to 'reach an agreement' on the meanings of words. Language is not convention, but a dimension from which man cannot be seperated. Every verbal adventure is total; a man stakes his whole self and life on a single word. The poet is a man whose very being becomes one with his words. Therefore, nly the poet can make possible a new dialoque. The destiny of the poet, particularly in a period such as ours, is 'donner un sens plus pur aux mots de la tribu.' This implies that words are rooted out of the common language and brought to birth in a poem. What is called hermeticiism of modern poetry spins from that fact. But wors ae inseperable from men. Consequently, poetic activity cannot take place outside the poet, in the magic object represented by the oem; rather does it take man himself, not in the poem alone. The two are inseperable. The poems of Rimbaud are Rimbaud himself, the adolescent fencing wth shining blasphemies, despite all attempts to convert him into a kind of brute upon whom the word descended. No, poet and his word are one. Such has been, during the past hundred years the motto of the greatest movement of the century - surrealism - been any different. The grandeur of these attempts - to which no poet worthy of the name can be indifferent - lies in their endeavour to destroy once and for all, and in desperation, the dualism which tears us asunder. Poetry leaps into the unknown, or it is nothing.
In present circumstances, it may seem ludicrous to the extravagent claims of poetry. Never has the domination of history been greater than now, neve rhas the pressure of events' become so suffocating. In proportion as the tyranny of 'what to do next' becomes more and more intolerable - since our consent has not been asked for the doing, and since it is almost always directed towards man's destruction- so does poetic activity become more secret, isolated, and rare. Only yesterday, to write a poem or to fall in love were subversive activities, compromising the social order by exposing its double character. Today, the very notion of order has dissapeared, and its place has been taken by a combination of forces, masses, and resistances. Reality has cast disguises and contemporary society is seen for what it is: a hetegeneous collection of things 'homogenized' by the whip or by propaganda, directed by groups distinguishable from one another only by their degrees of brutality. In these circumstances, poetic creation goes into hiding. If a poem is a Fiesta, it is one held out of season, in unfrequented places - an underground festivity.
But poetic activity is rediscovering all its ancient subversive powers by this very secrecy, impregnated with eroticism and the occult, a challenge to an interdict not less condemnatory for not being explicitly formulated..
Poetry, which yesterday was required to breath the free air of universal communion, continues to be an exorcism for preserving us from the sorcery of force and its numbets. It has been said that poetry is one of the means by which modern man can say No  to all those powers which, not content with disposing of our lives, also want to rule our consciences. But this negation carries within it a Yes which is greater than itself.

Reprinted from
Anthology of Mexican Poetry
Grove Press 1994

originally published , in an edition
by Thames and Hudson, 1959.

For more infomation on this  great Mexican poet go here

Will post some of his poems at a later date.

Friday, 16 September 2011


Almost 20 years before 9/11, an event took place that was just as barbaric, but does not seem to have  become rooted in our collective consiousness, a truth which is rarely mentioned in the September of our lives.
For 3 days in September 1982, Israeli forces in collusion with the Lebanese Militias, slaughtered, raped and massacred thousands of unarmed civilians, inside the sealed Palestinian refugee camp of Sabra and Shatila in Beirut, while Israeli forces surounded the camp.
To this day , amidst many attempts to seek justice, no one has been held accountable for this genocidal act.
The slaughter occured just days after the P.L.O had withdrew its fighters from Beirut after receiving guarantees from U.S led Multi National Forces that Palestinian civiliansin the camps would be safe.
The incident is considered perhaps the worst of the entire Middle Eastern conflict.
Hopefully justice will one day come, and may it not happen again, to anyone , anywhere.

Sabra and Shatila Massacre - A film by Robert Fisk

The following is a poem by the Morrocan poet  Tahar Ben Jelloun on the incident

Fatima Abou Mayyala - Tahar Ben Jelloun

They came in through the roof
They closed the doors and windows
They stuffed a fistful of sand into her mouth and  nostrils, Fatima
Their hands ripped her stomach
blood pooled
they urinated on her face
Fatima took the statue's hand
                                                     and walked lightly between the trees and the
                                                     sleeping children.
                                                     She reached the sea
                                                     her body rised above death.

      Poem reprinted from :-
      ' Rising of the Ashes - Tahar Ben Jelloun (2010)
      Translated by Cullen Goldblett                                                   

What is the true cost of the Afghanistan war? Narrated by Tony Benn. Music by Brian Eno...

Monday, 12 September 2011

Don't Execute Troy Davis.

Hi there, have you got 5 minutes to try and stop a death row execution? If so cheers , regards and all that .
Troy Davis has been on death row for 17 years for a murder he maintains he did not commit.
He was convicted in 1991 for the murder of 27 year old Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, white, who was shot and killed in the car park of a Burger King restaurant in Savannah , Georgia, in the early hours of August 19th 1989...
Amnesty International has been opposing Troy Davis's execution unconditionally regardless of questions of guilt or innocence for a while, as it does all use of the death penalty.
A judge has ordered Troy's execution to take place on Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 7 p.m, US time.
On Monday 19th September, 2 days before he is scheduled  to be executed, the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles will hold a clemency hearing to decide whether Troy Davis's sentence should be commuted, or whether the execution should be carried out as scheduled. This is Troy's last chance to avoid execution.

Video below examining Troy's case.

It is vital that you take action as soon as possible,
his execution is not inevitable.



Sunday, 11 September 2011

11'9"01 September 11 - Ken Loach


SELF EVIDENT....... some musical reflections on anniversary of 9/11

                                          Ani Di Franco - Self Evident


Billy Bragg - The price of Oil

Wolfgang Gartner - illmerica

Pete Seeger - Last Night I had the strangest Dream

and perhaps
between the silent spaces
and  winding paths
objectives will  one day
be shared
Action  is louder than words
future shadows will not forget
time alone........
lasts forever.


to the 2,976 Americans who lost their lives on 9/11and the 48,644 Afghans and 1,690,903 Iraqis and over 30,000 Pakistanis who died for a crime they did not commit.

Friday, 9 September 2011


This post is a bit late,soon the weekend will be upon us. But tomorrow wherever you are spare a thought for all the people at Dale Farm in Essex, at this moment waiting  for the Baliffs to arrive to commit one of the greatest acts of state endorsed violence against an ethnic group ever seen in the U.K.
The proposed eviction planned has already been roundly condemned by Amnesty International. Dale Farm is home to 90 familes, which could mean up to 400 people being left homeless, and actions to evict them might actually break international law. Is their not room for negotiations. In a time of recession , is it right that about £9.5 million  should be wasted kicking people out of their homes. Let us remember that the Irish Travellers who live  at Dale Farm actually own this land, they are not squatting this patch of earth belongs to them, for 10 years a strong and vital community has belonged here but time after time have been denied repeated requests to build on the land because of bueracratic measures.
So  soon Basildon council and the Coalition Government will have to explain why they have made 100 children homeless, which will result in them being removed from their schools...
If this eviction goes ahead , the world will see our government as a bully who refuses to listen, draconian, punitive and oppressive.

More info below 

Petition to Support the U.N call to delay the eviction
at Dale Farm

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Emily Dickinson ( 10/12/1830 - 15/5/1880) - To dissapear enhances.

To dissapear enhances
The Man that runs away
Is tinctured for an instant
With immortality

But yesterday a vagrant
Today in Memory lain
With supersticious value
We tamper with "Again"

But "Never far as Honor
Withdraws the Worthless thing
And impotent to cherish
We hasten to adorn

Of Death the sternest function
That just as we discern
The Excellence defies us
Securest gathered then

The Fruit peverse to plucking
But leaning to the Sight
With the ecstatic limit
Of  unobtained Delight,

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fadhil Al-Azzawi ( b.1940) - In my spare time

During  my long, boring hours of spare time
I sit to play with the earth's sphere.
I establish countries without police or parties
and I scrap others that no longer attract consumers.
I run roaring rivers through barren deserts
and I create continents and oceans
that I save for the future just in case.
I draw a new coloured map of the nations:
I roll Germany to the Pacific ocean teeming with whales
and I let the poor refugees
sail pirate's ships to her coasts
in the fog
dreaming of the promised garden in Bavaria.
I switch England with Afghanistan
so that its youth can smoke hashish for free
provided courtesy of Her Majesty's government.
I smuggle Kuwait from its fenced and mined borders
to Comoro, the islands
of the moon in its eclipse,
keeping the oil fields intact, of course.
At the same time I transport Baghdad
in the midst of loud drumming
to the islands of Tahiti.
I let Saudi Arabia crouch in its eternal desert
to preserve the purity of her thouroughbred camels.
This is before I surrender America
back to the Indians
just to give history
the justice it has long lacked.
I know that changing the world is not easy
but it remains necessary nonetheless.

Fadhil al -Azzawi is an Iraqi writer who is highly respected in the Arab world having emerged and participated in Iraqi's 90s avant garde generation.
Outspoken, he has spent many  hours in prison and time spent in exile because of his refusal to conform to certain corridors of power. Born in Kirkuk in 1940.
The above poem speaks for itself...... speaking of empires, inhumanity, offering glimpses of another ideal world, a future not based on injustice, but on shared  values, giving  lands back to the people from which they were once robbed.
Given us history the justice it has long lacked, knowing, too , that changing the world is easy. The role poetry has to play in the world is to pull of the masks of peddlers of untruths, becomming a universal pointer, offering words without borders and unlocking the chains of illusion ... that can be steps in setting us free.

Fadhil Al-Azzahi, Miracle Maker ( selected Poems 1960 -2002)  Editions, 2003

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Ralph Nader - 10 painful lessons of 9/11

The commemorative ceremonies that are planned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 massacre are those of pathos for the victims abd their families, of praise for both the pursuit of the supporters of the attackers and the performance of first responders and our soldiers abroad.
Flag and martial music will punctuate the combined atmosphere of sorrow and aggressive defiance to those terrorists who would threaten us. These events will be moments of respectful silence and some expressions of rage and ferocity.
But many Americans might also want to pause to recognise - or  unlearn- those reactions and overreactions tp 9/11 that have harmed our country. How, in this forward-looking manner,
can we respect the day of 9/11?

Here are some suggestions

1. Do not exaggerate our adveraries' strength in order to produce a climate of hysteria that results in repression of civil liberties, wmbodied in the overwrought USA patriot Actn, and immense long-term damage to our economy. Consider the massive diversion of trillions of dollars from domestic civilian needs because of the huge expansion and misspending in military and security budgets.

2. Do not allow our leaders to lie and exaggerate as when they told us there were funded, suicidal and hateful al-Qaeda cells all over our contry. They were never here. Actually, the wholesale invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan became recruiting grounds for more al-Qaeda  branches there and in other countries - a fact acknowledged by both then Army Chief of Staff George Casey and then CIA director Porter Goss.

3. Do not create a climate of fear or monpolize a partisan definition of patriotism in order to silence dissent from other political parties, the citizenry or the unfairly arrested or harassed.

4. Do not tolerate Presidents who violate our Constitution and start wars without congressional deliberationand a declaration of war ( article 1, section 8, clause 11). Do not let them disobey federal statutes and international treaties in pusuing unlawful, misdirected quicksand wars, as in Iraq, that produce deaths, destruction and debts that ndermine our country's national interests.

5. Do not have Congress write a blanh check, outside the normal Appropriations Committee hearing process, for the huge budgetry demandsfrom the executive branch for funding of the Iraq, Afghan-Pakistan and other undeclared wars.

6. Do not allow the executive branch to engage in unconstitutional and illegal recurrent practices such as wiretrapping and other methods of surveillance of Americans without judicial approval, in addition to arrests without charges, indefininite imprisonment, torture and denial of habeas corpus and other due process rights established by our Founding Fathers. Congress has passec no reforms to check the continuing exercise of unchecked dictatorial presidential power.

7. Do not let the government hide the horrors of war from the people by prohibiting photographs of U.S casualties in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is to much intimidation of returning soldiers - so many harmed for life - and think about these wars and their heavy outsourcing to profiteeering corporations.

8. Do not allow leaders to violate American principles withtorture or other war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Nor should top military brass or members of the executive branch be above our laws and escape accountability.

9. Do not allow your Congress to abdicate or transfer its own constitutional authorities to the president. We the people have not exercised our civic duties enough to make our representatives in Congress fulfill their obligations under the Constitution to decide whether we go to war and act as a watchdog of the president's conduct. The Libyan war was decided and funded by President Obama without congressional approval.

10. Call out those in the news media who become a mouthpiece of the president and his departments involved in these hostilities. What more is the military really doing in Libya, Somalia and Yemen as compared with the official line? Under what legal authority?

In addition, demand that news media outlets seek the inconvenient facts, whatever they might lead, unlike the pre-Iraq invasion period.

The celebrated American theologician-philosopher Reinhold Nierbuhr aptly wrote decades ago that " to the end of history, social orders will probably destroy themselves in the effort to prove that they are indestructible."

All empires eventually eat way at their own and devour themselves.

Well thanks Ralph, think I'm in agreement there, had been getting bored with the U.S.A for a long time, just been given some more sober excuses. I dont see their President changing direction somehow. But hey, look who we've got leading us, the same duplicitiousness, just a different flag!