Monday, 30 September 2013

In Memory of Mohammed Al-Durrrah

On September 30th 2000 Mohammed Al  Durrah was killed during the second intifada, while his father was trying to protect him from Israeli Occupation gunfire.
This incident became one of the most evocative events of the occupation. Jamal al-Durrah and his 12-year-old son, Muhammad, were filmed by Talal Abu Rahma, a Palestinian cameraman freelancing for France 2, they are seen with their, backs pressed against the wall, Jamal’s arm shielding his young son whose mouth is oval with what must have been a paralyzing fear. And then the shots.In his death, the 12 year old became a symbol of the struggle of the Palestinian people against a ruthless occupier.
The  Prime Minister’s office released a document  officially denying Israel’s responsibility for the death and stating that the footage was staged.But the boy did die in conflict and his own father could not save him. Thousands of other Palestinian civilians died too and he symbolized their plight,
Here is a report by the Guardian newspaper on the case,
The fact remains that Israeli soldiers still do kill little Palestinian boys on a regular basis,with impunity sometimes just for throwing rocks.13 years later, we should remember this terrified boy, remember his name and all innocents trapped in the fogs of war and occupation.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Benefit Concert for Medical Aid for Palestinians :- Cardigan 6th October 2013


Quick plug for this event.
Sunday 6th October 2013 Benefit Concert for Medical Aid For Palestinians, a cause very close to my heart,  As part of Drones Action Week this concert is organised by Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice Featuring West Wales based rock band Scene Red, Pembrokeshire based singer sonwriter Bob Fish, Swansea based stand-up comedian Ben Jenkins and Carmarthen based performance poet Bill Vester. The venue is The Small World Theatre in Cardigan. Doors open at 7.30 the event starts at 8.00pm and tickets are availabe at the door priced at £8.00p (£7.00p for usual concessions). All profits from this event are being donated to Medical Aid For Palestinians . The organisers are also hoping that China Fish of Circus To Palestine will be able to give a short talk on her recent experinces in Gaza.

Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) works for the health and dignity of Palestinians living under occupation and as refugees.

MAP delivers health and medical care to those affected by conflict, occupation and displacement.

Working in partnership with local health providers and hospitals, MAP addresses a wide range of health issues and challenges faced by the Palestinian people.

With offices located in Beirut, Ramallah and Gaza City, MAP responds rapidly in times of crisis, and works directly with communities on longer term health developoment.

Please feel free to share the above flyers with as many people as possible.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Petition and Protest, 10,000 Cuts and Counting: A Ceremony of Rememberance and Solidarity

Please sign this petition to the British government to end the "War on Welfare," which currently has over 55,000 signatures but needs 100,000 to be eligible for a Parliamentary debate,
Since the Tory Government came to power their vicious assaults on the poor, the ill, the unemployed and the disabled has been relentless, in it's pure callousness, backed by their partners in crime the Liberal Democrats and the majority of the mainstream media. Currently the Labour Party have been making gestures, but these gestures and fighting talk should have started a long time ago.
Many people  are  now sick and tired of it all and are, refusing to accept this govennment's relentless attacks, sadly many people   have had their lives devastated by the austerity programme, including more than 10,000 people who died shortly after undergoing the Atos Work Capability Assessment, a degrading test used by the government to assess the needs of people receiving benefits related to disability and ill health. I welcome the Labour Party's decision to scrap Atos, a truly harrowing process, that is simply not fit for purpose, but lets  not forget who introduced in the first place, yes, the Labour Party. They also persisted with WCA's (Work Capability Assessments) until the 2010 General Elections, so a whiff of hypocricy surrounds them.
This Saturday coming there will be a ceremony of rememberance and solidarity for all those who have their lives destroyed by austerity at Parliament Square 28/10/13 from noon

The gathering will demand an immediate end to the Work Capability Assessment, as voted for by the British Medical Association, and a New Deal for sick and disabled people based on their needs, abilities and ambitions.
Disabled people are leading the fight back against the injustices of auterity: we cannot stand idly by while our communities and institutions are devastated by this government.
Across the U.K over a thousand people have died only months after being told to find work, we must not forget them, and must ask ourselves the question  what kind of civilised society are we living, that allows this to happen to our citizens. How many more people will kill themselves because of government cuts to their benefits?Personally I think powers should be given back to G.Ps who are the only people that can be truly  trusted to decide who is sick or not, whose valuable opinions are currently ignored. Please sign the wow petition above.

Below is a link to a powerful poem from a poet friend, that  sums up the harsh realities  and remembers  the victims of the Tory's cruel policies.

The Cull of 2013



Wednesday, 25 September 2013

The futility of emnity.

                        Westgate Mall,
                        Nairobi, Kenya, Picture :-Andre Vitchek

There are some,
who use the alleged word of god,
to kill and hate,following messages
with hearts and eyes closed,
who shut out the music of humanity's hymn
engaged wth poisoned vision,
storm across sanctuaries
with masks of division,
their cloaks of faith
just a cruel disguise.
Tears overflow from negations cup
as the machine gun rattle fades,
the world  keeps company with grief.
Tomorrow,I pray,we toss lights,
to disintegrate, the poison.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Right wing Blogger Ian Dale assaults elderly man protesting for the safety of the planet

I was waiting for a plumber to arrive this morning, and had news on, and was amazed to see controversial  right wing Conservative blogger Ian Dale completely losing the plot, as he assaulted an eldely man  and his dog, outside the Labour Party Conference on the Brighton seafront.
The elderly man a pensioner named Stuart Holmes from Manchester,  was simply an anti-nuclear protestor, undertaking his right to protest, while Daybreak TV's Damien McBride was about to undertake an interview .Next their was an unseemly tangle as he was tussled and shoved to the floor.
Good luck to Mr holmes if he undertakes any legal action, televised to the nation, with many witnesses.

Stop the privatisation of war

Private Military and Security Companies (PMSCa's) are profiting from war and insecurity.
Unnacountable and unregulated these companies are complicit in human rights abuses across the world, putting profit before people and fanning the flames of war. The British government believes PMSCa's are best left to police themselves through national standards and an International Code of Conduct.

This voluntary International Code of Conduct was launched on 19 September 2013.

For more information visit

Filmaker: Adib Nessim

Composer: Eric Samothrakis

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Woody Allen (b.1/12/35) - A Brief, Yet Helpful, Guide to Civil Disobedience

Some much needed irony and humour.

'In perpetrating a revolution, there are two requirements:
someone or something to revolt against and someone to actually show up and do the revolting. Dress is usually casual and both parties may be flexible about time and place but if either faction fails to attend, the whole enterprise is likely to come off badly. In the Chinese Revolution of 1650 neither party showed up and the deposit on the hall was forfeited.
  The people or parties revolted against are called the "oppressors" and are easily recognised as they seem to be the ones having all the fun. The "oppressors" generally get to wear suits, own land, and play their radios late at night without being yelled at. Their job is to maintain the "status quo," a condition where everything remains the same although they may be willing to paint every two years.
 When the "oppressors" become too strict, we have what is known as a police state, wherein all dissent is forbidden, as is chuckling, showing up in a bow tie, or referring to the mayor as "Fats." Civil liberties are greatly curtailed in a police state, and freedom of speech is unheard of, although one is allowed to mime to a record. Opinions critical of the government are not tolerated, particularly about their dancing. Freedom of the press is also curtailed and the ruling party "manages" the news, permitting the citizens to bear only acceptable political ideas and ball scores that will not cause unrest.
  The groups who revolt are called the "oppressed" and can generally be seen milling about and grumbling or claiming to have headaches. (It should be noted that the oppressors never revolt and attempt to become the oppressed as that would entail a change of underwear.)
  Some famous examples of revolutions are:

The French Revolution,

in which the peasants seized power by force and quickly changed all locks on the palace doors so the nobles could not get back in. They had a large party and gorged themselves. When the nobles finally recaptured the palace they were forced to clean up and found many stains and cigarette burns.

The Russian Revolution,

which simmered for years, and suddenly erupted when the serfs finally realised that the Czar and the Tsar were the same person.
  It should be noted that after the revolution is over, the "oppressed" frequently take over and begin acting like the "oppressors." Of course by then it is very hard to get them on the phone and money lent for cigarettes and gum during the fighting may as well be forgotten about.

Methods of Civil Disobedience:

Hunger Strike.

Here the oppressed goes without food until his demands are met. Insiduous politicians will often leave biscuits within easy reach or perhaps some cheddar cheese, but they must be resisted. If the party in power can get the striker to eat, they usually have little trouble putting down the insurrection. If they can get him to eat and also lift the check, they have won for sure. In Pakistan, a hunger strike was broken when the government produced an exceptionally fine veal cordon bleu which the masses found was too appealing to turn down, but such gourmet dishes are rare.
The problem with the hunger strike is that after several days one can get quite hungry, particularly since sound trucks are paid to go through the street saying, "Um . . . what nice chicken - umm . . . some peas . . . umm. . . "
A modified form of the Hunger Strike for those whose political convictions are not quite so radical is giving up on chives. This small gesture, when used properly, can greatly influence a government, and it is well known that Mahatma Gandhi's insistence on eating his salads untossed shamed the British government into many concessions.
Other things  besides food one can give up are: whist, smiling, and standing on one foot and imitating a crane.

Sit-Down Strike.

Proceed to a designated spot and then sit down, but sit all the way down. Otherwise you are squatting, a position that makes no political point unless the government is also squatting. (This is rare, although a government will occasiobally crouch in cold weather.) The trick is to remain seated until concessions are made, but as in the Hunger Strike, the government will try subtle means of making the striker rise. They may say, "Okay, everybody up, we're closing." Or, "Can you get up for a minute, we'd just like to see how tall you are?"

Demonstrations and Marches.

The key point about a demonstration is that it must be seen. Hence the term "demonstration." If a person demonstrates privately in his own home, this is not technically a demonstration but merely "acting silly" or "behaving like an ass."
A fine example of a demonstration was the Boston Tea Party, where outraged Americans disguised as Indians dumped British tea into the harbour. Later, Indians disguised as outraged Americans dumped actual British into the harbor. Following that, the British disguised as tea, dumped each other into the harbor. Finally, German mercenaries clad only in costumes from The Trojan Woman leapt into the harbor for no apparent reason.
When demonstrating, it is good to carry a placard stating one's position. Some suggested positions are:
(1) Lower taxes
(2) Raise taxes
(3) Stop grinning at Persians.

Miscellaneous methods of Civil Disobedience:

Standing in front of City Hall and chanting the word "pudding" until one's demands are met.
Tying up traffic by leading a flock of sheep into the shopping area.
Phoning members of "the establishment" and singing "Bless, You Is My Woman Now" into the phone.
Dressing as a policeman and then skipping.
Pretending to be an artichoke but punching people as they pass.

Reprinted From:
Without Feathers - Woody Allen
Sphere Books, 1975

But in all seriousness,
resistance is not futile.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

It takes courage to change the world

This message is addressed to the leaders who will participate in the High-level meeting on nuclear disarmement that will take place on September 28 2013 in New York.
To those leaders we say, be brave and ban nuclear weapons. It takes courage to change the world.

There is a petition one could sign here:-

Monday, 16 September 2013

Remembering Sabra and Shatila Massacre

Journalist Robert Fisk returns to the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Fisk recounts how Lebanese Christian militias who were under the control of the Israeli military murdered over 2000 Palestinians in the camps. Fisk also points to a building in the distance from where he insists the Israeli forces could witness the massacre. The Israeli government's own Kahan Commision found that future Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was personally responsible for the massacre. This is from a documentary Fisk made about ' why so many Muslims have come to hate the West.' But we know the real reason is because they hate our freedom right?

Last years post

This was one  of the most hideous massacres perpetrated on thousands of defenceless, children, women and men . This massacre lasted for 3 days. Around 20,000 refugees , lived in the refugee camp that was supposed, like any other camp, to recieve international protection. The residents were absolutlety defenceless, with Palestinian fighters having withdrawn from Lebanon, just 3 weeks prior, so the Israeli army in effect had control of the area around the camp.
Following the massacre, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the foundation of a committe to investigate the circumstances of this horrific crime, against innocent, helpless refugees.
The Cahan Commission of 1983, decided that Ariel Sharon was 'indirectly responsible.'
But we should also remember that not one single Israeli officer, commander or soldier was ever held accountable for this ugly crime against  the Palestinian people and still the suffering of the Palestinian people continues, and the scars and memories remain.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

50th Anniversary of Birmingham Church Bombing

On  Sunday  morning September 15, 1963, a dynamite bomb exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four African-American young girls.
This cowardly, cold, calculating event should not be forgotten that saw Addie Mae Collins (14) Denise McNair (11), Carole Robertson (14), and Cynthia Wesley (14) killed in an act of racially motivated terrorism. Showing clearly to the World the heart of racial injustice and hatred that today shockingly has not dissapeared. This is  just one part of the landcape of America  that should not be forgotten.
Civil Rights activists blamed George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, for the killings. Birmingham, a violent city, was nicknamed 'Bombingham,. because it had experienced more than 50 bombings in black institutions and homes since World War 1 probably by Ku Klux Klan members. Only a week before the bombing Wallace had told the New York Times that to stop the civil rights movement and the march towards integration Alabama needed a 'few first-class funerals.

Services for Victim of Birmingham Church Bombing

4 little girls :Birmingham Church Bombing


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

40th Anniversary of Chilean Coup: Justice Must be served


September 11, 2013, marks the 40th anniversary of the Chilean coup d'etat,  that ousted the democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, which led to a 17 year old repressive dictatorship and the torture and murder of thousands of innocents, under the auspices of General Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990. On this day air force planes  bombed the presidential palace, and in the aftermath Allende lay dead, having committed suicide rather than be captured.
More  than 3,000 people were killed by state agents or dissapeared during this era, and more than 27,000 were tortured, with many thousands more being forced into exile. All told, the  present Chilean government now recognises that more than 40,000 people were killed, imprisoned and tortured for political reasons.

Sadly  many years after this brutal dictatorships demise, for many victims of the dictatorship has proven elusive. Many people  are still demanding truth and justice, and will not rest until they have found out was has happened to their loved ones, who were arrested, and went missing, never to return.
Barak Obama declared on Margaret Thatcher's death that she was "one of greatest champions of freedom and liberty." This is the same bit of poison that told her friend Pinochet that, she was " very much aware that it was you that brought  democracy to Chile, you set up a constitution  suitable for democracy."
Throughout Pinochets regime of terror he was supplied by UK Defence Manufacturers, the military junta that took power  bombed the presidential palace  using British Hawker Hunter aircraft. She personally after coming into power lifted the arms embargo on his regime. Whilst Thatcher fawned over him, Pinochet carried on killing, critics, and any form of opposition, among them the revered Chilean singer Victor Jara, who was arrested by the military and tortured at Estadio Chile, in front of thousands of onlookers, who was subsequently shot as he defied the taunting soldiers by singing, his body left bloodied, his bones and his hands broken and battered full of bullet holes.

Victor Jara

 Pinochet would always be thankful to Thatcher, visiting her on an annual pigrimage to London.
Pinochet eventually died in 2006, under house arrest, with many millions of pounds laundered in banks, but had  managed to avoid going on trial and thus avoiding justice.

Thatcher and Pinochet
Pinochet the murderous fascist dictator

For  many his legacy is one of state terrorism, and rampant disregard for human rights, he caused a whole society to become fearful, their daily lives one of terror. We must not forget, the dead and the missing, nor the human rights activists who shone a light on this dark regime. For many victims of the dictatorship justice has proven elusive, people still waiting to hear the outcome  of eight retired army officers who have been indicted in Chile in connection with the murder and torture of Jara.
According to Amnesty Internationals Deputy Director at the Americas Programme, Guadalupa Marenga " It is not acceptable that 40 years after the military coup the search for justic, truth and repatriation in Chile continues to be hampered. An amnesty law continues to shield human rights violators from prosecution, there are still long delays in judicial proceedings and sentences fail to reflect the severity of the crimes committed."
There is a petition by Amnsty International signed by thousands that you can sign here, calling on the Chilean authorities to put an end to all obstacles protecting the perpetrators of human rights violations in the country. The fight for justice continues.

Victor Jara of Chile - Adrian Mitchell

Victor Jara of Chile
Lived like a shooting star
He fought for the people of Chile
With his songs and his guitar

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

Victor Jara was a peasant
Worked from a few years old
He set upon his father's plough
And watched the earth unfold

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

When the neighbours had a wedding
Or one of their children died
His mother sang all night for them
With Victor by her side

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

He grew to be fighter
Against the people's wrongs
He listened to their grief and joy
And turned them into songs

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

He sang about the copper miners
And those who work the land
He sang about the factory workers
And they knew he was their man

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

He campaigned for Allende
working night and day
He sang take hold of your brother's hand
The future begins today

And his hands were gentle
is hands were strong

The bloody generals seized  Chile
hey arrested Victor  then
They caged him in a stadium
With five thousand frightened men

 And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

Victor stood in the stadium
His voice was brave and strong
He sang for his fellow prisoners
Til the guards cut short his song

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

They broke the bones in both his hands
They beat his lovely head
They tore him with electric shocks
After two days of torture they shot him dead

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

And now the Generals rule Chile
And the British have their thanks
For they rule with Hawkers Hunters
And they rule with Chieftain tanks

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

Victor Jara of Chile
Loved like a shooting star
He fought for thee people of Chile
With his songs and his guitar

And his hands were gentle
His hands were strong

Reprinted from:-
The Apeman Cometh - Adrian Mitchell
Jonathan Cape, 1975

This ballad was later set to music  by Arlo Guthrie, which you can hear here :-

 Earlier post  on Victor Jara's and his Last Song

Venceremos- A Chilean Popular Song

March organised by National Association
of Human Rights in Santiago, to mark
40th anniversary

Monday, 9 September 2013

The War machine - Stop the DSEI Arms Fair

Occupy force of citizens against 'DSEI Arms Fair' in London
Citizens from all nations protested against the DSEI Arms fair held in the Excel Centre in London. The demonstrators held a die-in and pitched roughly 30 tents in the area.
A massive week of action is currently underway running from 7-14 September to take action against this Arms Fair which is bringing together 28,000 international buyers and sellers. These deals fuel the Arms Trade the world over, fuelling repression, conflict amd military with the complicity of our government. The Stop the Arms Fair coalition has also been attempting to highlight the 'deep hypocricy' of inviting manufgactures of Syrian weapons to showcase their wares in the Uk, while also condemning Syrian President Bashar al Assad in using them.
I have just returned from a succesful demonstration against the use of Drones at Parc Aberporth, Blaennananerch, West Wales, where I joined over a hundred strong crowd to protest against the militarisation of Welsh airspace. Joining my local Amnesty Group, C.N.D Cymru and other groups to call for the end of military drone testing.
We were aghast at the thought of our own Welsh Assembly Economy Minister Edwina Hart being in attendence at the Arms Fair, it was of the opinion that she did not represent athe voices of the people of Wales and  dissaproved of her comments after visiting the Arms Fair where she is reported to have  said : "This event provides an important an mportant platform to showcase the innovation advanced technology coming out of Wales and offers an excellent business opportunity for these clever companies to promote their capability." What an idiot I thought there is nothing clever about companies that profit from war.
We were roused by stirring speeches  from many different activists from different parts of Wales, local poets, and inspiring music from Cor Cochion Cymru, and left detemined to continue to spread our  messages, loudly in the name of peace and justice,  against the  the use of drones and other weapons that are used frequently to kill ordinary people who are going about their everyday lives across the globe. We will continue to say no to their use, when far from being used innocently, are used as indiscriminate weapons indiscriminately against civilians.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Map for Drone Demo: Parc Aberporth 9/9/13

The above map shows where we are meeting for demo tomorrow , and this is an address for all coming from far away. I hope to see a few people here.

West Wales Airport,

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

What is more abominable than recruiting kids to bear arms and kill? In so many countries, children have been recruited and used by armed forces, government-backed militias, and a complex range of armed groups with varying levels of comad structure and military, political or criminal objectives. Help Stop the Use of Child Soldiers!!!

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Daily Mail Tube Map

Page 15 of today's Daily Mail carries am op-ed taking Hugo Boss to task over their historic link to the Nazis,  this is the same newspaper who ran the following headlines in the 1930's.

'Hurrah for the Blackshirts'

'Give the Blackshirts a helping hand'

Meanwhile, for legal reasoms he can only be named as journalist 'F', but today this young member of the Daily Mail's editorial staff is in hiding as threats and invective continue to spew from Paul Dacre's office after their top secret editorial formula was leaked to the press.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Military Drones out of Wales: End Drone terror killing

                                Click on above image to enlarge

The Welsh Government uses millons of pounds of our taxes to facilitate the testing of drones at Parc Aberporth up the road from me. The Israeli military are a  frequent presence there, and to say that I am uncomfortable with this would be an understatement.
The test work, carried out over the last  2 years by Qinetiq for the Ministry of Defence, was set to be completed in April, and has continued this summer.There are reports that theWatchkeeper UAV at the site is to be extended for another 2 years.
This is why I will be attending The Arms Fair Solidarity Event at Aberporth, West Wales outside Parc Aberporth, supporting The Drones Campaign Network Cymru Event
Military Drones Out of Wales:End Drone Terror Killing, coinciding with a vigil at the ExCel Arms Trade Fair in London, the World's largest Arm's Fair which is to showcase ' drones' and other remotely controlled weapons.
There will be a peaceful protest and demonstration on Monday the September at 12.00 midday at Parc Aberporth, Near Cardigan, West Wales.
Parc Aberporth is the main military training drone testing, training and evaluating Centre in Wales, despite many local objections. Local Amnesty International Group first raised concerns 4 years ago about the testing of drones, used by Israel against innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza, at Aberporth. Use of military drones against civilians is a human rights abuse.
I see nothing innocent in the use of drones, although the drones flown from Parc Aberporth do not carry missiles they are used by the British Army for surveillance and 'Target Acquisition'.
Similar technologies around the world, in Gaza, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia etc are armed and frequently kill ordinary people going about their every day lives. Over 2,500 people have been killed in Pakistan alone. Examples of psychological trauma caused by Drones exist in Gaza, where people have reported that Drones disrupt their daily activities, making them feel powerless and unsafe So if you can come along, please come and join us. as we say no to Drones.

Meanwhile I would like to draw your attention to the following petition on behalf of  War On Want:

Tell the British Government to Ban Killer Drones

We're often told it's brutal regimes that trade in terror, when in fact democratic governments - including ours - have begun using a new weapon of choice:drones

Drones are unmanned aircraft, remotely controlled by 'pilots' from the ground at great distance from war zones. Far from being 'precision weapons' which kill intended targets with a high level of accuracy, recent reports indicate that at least 2,505 people have been killed by Drones in Pakistan alone.

Drones are indiscriminate weapons of war responsible for thousands of civilian deaths. In Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, millions live under the constant threat of drone attacks.

Read More here
and please sign the petition

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Seamus Heaney (13/4/39 - 30/8/13) - From the Republic of Conscience

Following yesterdays's post on the sad news of poet Seamus Heaney's death here is the text of his poem' From the Republic of Conscience ' which was commissioned by Amnesty International and published on Human Rights Day, 1985. Inspired by Prisoners of Conscience, men and women who had suffered torture, imprisonment and silence. I thank Seamus Heaney today for all the solidarity he gave to the struggles within the republic of conscience.


When I landed in the republic of conscience
it was so noiseless when the engines stopped
I could hear a curlew high above the runway.

At immigration, the clerk was an old man
who produced a wallet from his homespun coat
and showed me a photograph of my grandfather.

The woman in customs asked me to declare
the words of our traditional cures and charms
to heal dumbness and avert the evil eye.

No porters. No interpreter. No taxi.
You carried your own burden and very soon
your symptoms of creeping privilege disappeared.


Fog is a dreaded omen there but lightning
spells universal good and parents hang
swaddled infants in trees during thunderstorms.

Salt is their precious mineral. And seashells
are held to the ear during births and funerals
The base of all inks and pigments is seawater.

Their sacred symbol is a stylised boat.
The sail is an ear, the mast a sloping pen,
the hull a mouth-shape, the keel an open eye.

At their inauguration, public leaders
must swear to uphold unwritten law and weep
to atone for their presumption to hold office -

and to affirm their faith that all life sprang
from salt in tears which the sky-god wept
after he dreamt his solitude was endless.


I came back from the frugal republic
with my two arms the one length, the customs woman
having insisted my allowance was myself.

The old man rose and gazed into my face
and said that was official recognition
that I was now a dual citizen.

He therefore desired me when I got home
to consider myself a representative
and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue.

Their embassies, he said, were everywhere
but operated independently
and no ambassador would ever be relieved.

Reprinted from
The Haw Lantern , 1987